Ângelo Vitor Simplício da Silva, better known as Pretinho da Serrinha, was born August 30, 1977 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Pretinho da Serrinha has become the most requested musician of the new samba generation because of his unique, talented way of playing percussion and cavaco (cavaquinho). Many of the greatest Brazilian artists have invited Pretinho to tour and record with them – names like Caetano Veloso, Chico Buarque, Gilberto Gil, Marisa Monte, Seu Jorge, Sergio Mendes.
Rufino Almeida, better known as Bau, was born in 1962 in Mindelo, São Vicente, Cape Verde. Bau is a well known artist in Cape Verde’s music scene. He comes from the island of Sao Vicente, as are many of the archipelago’s best knoen singers, Cesaria Evora, Bana, Titina, Tito Paris, and composers B. Leza, Manuel de Novas, Frank Cavaquim, Goy and Vasco Martins. Even though his real name is Rufino lAmeida, he was given the name ‘Bau’ after a famous Cape Verdean soccer player. Bau’s father is a string instrument maker in Mindelo, a town which was at one time called Little Brazil.
For his seventh birthday, Bau’s father gave him a cavaquinho, a small four-string guitar from Portugal; the ancestor of the a ukulele, which is also used in Brazil and Cape Verde as a rhythm guitar. He later taught his son how to make and then play instruments such as the guitar, cavaquinho, and violin. Bau is an extraordinary guitarist, songwriter, arranger and bandleader.
Whether he is playing morna, coladera, or choro (a Brazilian musical genre born in the early 20th century, performed by artists ranging from Villa Lobos to Chico Buarque), Bau’s musical influences come through. His mentor is Brazilian cavaquinho virtuoso: Waldir Azevedobut. He also admires Al Di Meola’s Latin jazz sounds and Stephane Grapelli’s style of playing the violin. Beyond these influences, Bau plays instinctively and has an unequaled charm, pertaining to Cape Verdian musicians, which makes their music at the same time syncopated, vigorous, nostalgic and intimate.
Inspiração which translates Inspiration, is an instrumental album reflecting Bau’s incredible talent of arranger and producer. Playing the 12 string guitar, cavaquinho and violin he has become a virtuoso of these stringed instruments. The album’s title is an indication of the musical genres Bau has been exposed to: mazurka, bayaon, fox-trot, contradanca – all the various styles which influenced the musical live of his hometown Sao Vicente are a source of inspiration for Bau. He inherited them from the generations past and now passes them on to the next. Bau was the leader of the band backing Cesaria Evora in her long tours around the world. He was also involved in the arrangements and production of Cesaria’s Cabo Verde and Café Atlántico albums.
On Inspiração, Bau expanded his musical horizon by incorporating Caribbean influences, Angola samba, the impulse of Gypsy rumba and even a tribute to Chopin.
Tôp d’Coroa (Lusafrica, 1994)
Jailza (Lusafrica, 1995) Inspiração (Lusafrica, 1998)
Blimundo (Lusafrica, 2000)
Silencio (Lusafrica, 2003) Ilha Azul (Lusafrica, 2006)
Café Musique (Lusafrica, 2010) Plays Vasco Martins (Lusafrica, 2012)
Praça do Comércio is a beautifully-packaged album + book by Portuguese multi-instrumentalist Júlio Pereira. He’s one of the leading performers of the cavaquinho, the small Portuguese guitar which is also the ancestor of the Hawaiian ukulele.
This time, Júlio Pereira has added the braguinha to the collection of instruments he performs on Praça do Comércio. The braguinha is another small guitar, from the island of Madeira, closely related to the cavaquinho.
The 111-page book is a wealth of knowledge, with notes in Portuguese and English. It provides details and photos of the cavaquinho and braguinha, illustrations, as well as music notation.
In addition to his skill as a musician, Júlio Pereira is a talented composer. His music incorporates traditional Portuguese music as well as sounds from northern Africa, jazz and classical elements, Brazilian and Mozambican rhythms, flamenco and other influences.
The lineup on Praça do Comércio includes Júlio Pereira on cavaquinho, braguinha, bouzouki, synthesizer, viola braguesa, guitar, backing vocals; Miguel Veras on guitar; Sandra Martins on cello; Luciano Vasconvelos on bass; Quiné on percussion; Diego Duque on trumpet; James Hill (ukulele); José Manuel Neto on Portuguese guitar; Pedro Jóia on guitar; Norberto Gonçalves da Cruz on bandolim.
Guest vocalists: António Zambujo (Portugal), Olga Cerpa (Canary Islands, Spain), Chney Wa Gune (Mozambique), Luanda Cozetti (Brazil), Teresa Melo Campos (Portugal), Mariana Abrunheiro (Portugal), Inés Melo Campos (Portugal), and Andreaia Joao Lopes.
Praça do Comércio is an exquisitely-crafted album that highlights the beauty of the small guitars from the eastern Atlantic.
Acclaimed Portuguese multi-instrumentalist Julio Pereira released an album titled Cavaquinho 30 years ago. This was a tribute to the small guitar called cavaquinho. Thirty years later, he revisits the potential of the cavaquinho with a new album titled Cavaquinho.pt featuring new musical pieces composed or arranged by Pereira.
The original ‘Cavaquinho’ album had a significant influence and defined Julio Pereira’s career as a musician. The new recording, Cavaquinho.pt is part of a larger project around the cavaquinho that includes research, inventorying the different variations of the instrument, scores, players, composers and builders around the world. The cavaquinho is related to other small guitars in the Iberian Peninsula and the predecessor of the ukulele. It has traveled around the world over the centuries, leaving descendants in Brazil, Cape Verde, Hawaii and Indonesia.
The music on Cavaquinho.pt incorporate various folk traditions from Minho in Portugal as well as the increasingly popular fado. In addition, it reflects the travels of the cavaquinho, featuring influences that go beyond the various regions of Portugal. For example, Sara Tavares, a singer of Cape Verdean descent appears on one song. There are also traditional songs from Brazil and Galicia (Spain).
The lineup on Cavaquinho.pt includes Julio Pereira on cavaquinho, viola braguesa (Braguese guitar), synthesizers and backing vocals; Miguel Veras on acoustic guitar; Fernando Araujo on bass; Quiné on percussion; Laurent Filipe on trumpet; Guto Lucena on flute; Daniel Pereira on gaita de foles (Portuguese bagpipe); Sara Tavares on vocals; Uxia on vocals; Luanda Cozetti on vocals; Sofia Vitoria on vocals; and Joao Afonso and C.R.A.M.O.L. on backing vocals.
The physical edition of Cavaquinho.pt is exquisitely packaged in a 112-page hard cover book, with extensive liner notes in Portuguese and English, photos, credits and beautiful illustrations by Pedro Sousa Pereira.
Julio Pereira started as a rock musician, playing electric guitar with progressive rock bands Petrus Castrus and Xarhanga. He later picked up the mandolin, braguesa guitar, Portuguese guitar and bouzouki. Encouraged by Zeca Afonso, the cavaquinho became his main focus.
Cavaquinho.pt is a remarkable recording dedicated to the cavaquinho recorded by one of the essential musicians in Portugal’s contemporary folk music scene.
The 2016 edition of the Iberoamerican Music Expo (EXIB) opened May 4th in Evora, Portugal. Evora is a beautiful walled city, a UNESCO world heritage site that includes numerous monuments spanning centuries. Evora is located in the Alentejo region of Portugal. It’s part of Portugal’s heartland and is defined by its rural nature. For the EXIB opening, organizers treated the audience to a mix of southern Portuguese traditional and contemporary folk music.
The concert at the Teatro Garcia de Resende started with the Grupo Coral e Etnográfico Cantares de Évora, marching through the center aisle towards the stage. This group of talented male and female singers, perform dressed in various costumes reflecting various social strata and professions from the mid-20th century, including traditional farmer, cowboy, and shepherd attire.
They perform traditional cante alentejano, an a cappella style that celebrates rural life. Grupo Coral e Etnográfico Cantares de Évora perform “old style”, without any modern arrangements to the traditional music poems.
A series of short videos were screened, in between performances, highlighting Evora, farm life, the enthralling sheep bell makers and other aspects of the local culture.
One of the great artists from the region, accordionist and vocalist Celina Da Piedade appeared next, accompanying herself on accordion. She was later joined by Há Lobos sem ser na Serra musicians, who accompanied Celina on guitar, drums and vocals.
Celina is a conservatory-trained musician and specializes in music from the Alentejo region. In addition to her talent as a passionate singer, she is also a virtuoso accordionist, playing beautiful melodies inspired by the Alentejo region. She participates and leads numerous workshops and has performed abroad. She leads weekly gatherings of Cante Alentejano in Casa do Alentejo, Lisbon. Celina has participated in over 50 recordings as well as soundtracks for film, theater and dance. She is currently part of the celebrated collective TaisQuais that includes some of the biggest names in Portuguese music: Vitorino, Tim, Sebastião, Serafim, Jorge Palma, Paulo Ribeiro and João Gil. They released a critically acclaimed album titled “Os fabulosos Tais Quais”.
Há Lobos sem ser na Serra played next. They represent a new generation of cante alentejano musicians. Their sound is rooted in tradition although the arrangements take the music into exciting new directions. While the band plays, a graphic artists paints desings on a video screen.
Há Lobos sem ser na Serra use the 8-shaped guitar called viola campaniça. It’s a rare guitar from Alentejo with a peculiar mouth that nearly disappeared in the 1960s. It has unusual tunings and the band extracts unexpected sounds and some jazz elements. Band members include António Bexiga on viola campaniça; Bernardo ‘Buba’ Espinho on vocals and drum; and David Pereira on viola campaniça and vocals.
One of Portugal’s most cherished singer-songwriters, João Afonso, performed accompanied by various guitars. João Afonso plays contemporary folk music and pop inspired by various Portuguese traditions. We have a João Afonso artist profile that you can read for additional information.
Two string masters participated in the event, accompanying João Afonso, playing solos and mesmerizing interplay. Luis Peixoto is a multi-instrumentalist who plays various string instruments and also mixes folk music with electronics. For this occasion he used the tiny cavaquinho, which is one of the ancestors of the ukulele.
Juan José Robles, from southeastern Spain, was one of the two international guests. He’s also multi-instrumentalist specialized in string instruments and the folk music from the Murcia region. He used the mandolina (mandolin), octavilla (a guitar from La Mancha) and a guitarro valenciano.
Carlos Malta’s flute sounds entered the theater down the center aisle. The Brazilian wind instrument master brought the sounds of South America and joined the rest of the musicians for several beautiful songs that were very familiar to the Portuguese members of the audience, who sang along.
The EXIB 2016 opening concert was a superb introduction to the music of Alentejo.