Acclaimed Portuguese flute virtuoso Rao Kyao has been involved in numerous cross-genre projects, ranging from jazz to world music and Portuguese folk music. His album Coisas que a gente sente (Things people feel) contains new compositions inspired by Portuguese music and the sounds of other cultures.
On Coisas que a gente sente, Rao Kyao plays his familiar bamboo player, accompanied by traditional Portuguese instruments such as the Braguese guitar and Portuguese drums.
The lineup includes Rao Kyao on bamboo flute and vocals; António Pinto on classical and Braguese guitar; Renato Júnior on keyboards and accordion; André Machado on percussion.
Coisas que a gente sente features evocative instrumental music that evokes the melodies of Portugal, Cape Verde, India and beyond.
Portugal’s fado sensation António Zambujo has been a major voice in recent years in the resurrection of male fado singers in a genre dominated by females. Renowned for his earthy and atmospheric songs, he speaks of the pain of separation, unanswered love, and longing — themes portrayed in this poetic, deeply expressive genre. Winner of the Amália Rodrigues Foundation prize for ‘Best Fado Male Singer,’ Zambujo merges traditional fado with cante alentejano (male chant form from southern Portugal with North African influences) and Brazilian popular music.
António Zambujo, born in Beja, Alentejo in southern Portugal in 1975, grew up listening to cante alentejano – a traditional male chant that has become a strong influence in his music.
As a child, Zambujo studied clarinet, but soon became entranced with fado. He won a regional fado contest at the age of 16, and then began his professional career when Mário Pacheco, the renowned Portuguese guitarist and composer, invited him to sing in his Club de Fado in Lisbon. Soon afterwards, Zambujo was chosen to take the role of Francisco da Cruz, Amália Rodrigues’s first husband, in the successful musical Amália directed by Filipe La Féria, one of Portugal’s leading stage directors; Zambujo performed in the musical for four years in Lisbon and then toured with it in Portugal, achieving enormous success.
After recording his first album O mesmo fado in 2002, Zambujo won the prestigious ‘Radio Nova FM’ prize for the ‘Best New Fado Voice’ – an award previously received by Mariza, Camané and Mafalda Arnauth. Since then he has recorded several more albums.
In recent years Zambujo has collaborated with the Bulgarian women’s choir Angelite and top Portuguese pop and jazz singers, expanding the horizons of traditional fado while remaining committed to its roots.
Acclaimed fado artist António Zambujo is set to perform on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at Union Chapel in London. Stranger Stranger will be the supporting act.
António Zambujo is fado vocalist and Portuguese guitar player. He was raised listening to Cante Alentejano, a regional genre that inspired him while growing up in Beja, Portugal. At the age of eight he studied clarinet at the Baixo Alentejo Regional Conservatory. At that time, Zambujo becae fascinated with fado. He was shaped by Amália Rodrigues, Maria Teresa de Noronha, Alfredo Marceneiro, João Ferreira Rosa, Max and others. He regularly sang for his family and friends and won a local fado contest at the age of 16.
After completing his clarinet studies, Zambujo moved to Lisbon. Mário Pacheco, the renowned Portuguese guitar player and composer, straightway added him to his company at the prestigious Clube do Fado in the Alfama neighborhood.
Zambujo won the prestigious Amália Rodrigues Foundation award as best male fado singer in 2006. He has toured comprehensively in Europe and South America, including several sold-out concerts in Paris and Rio de Janeiro.
Seiva recreates Portuguese traditional music throughout the use of new arrangements and the incorporation of some electronic effects and world beats. However, the overall sound is very organic. The trio uses a wide range of acoustic percussion and traditional Portuguese musical instruments.
The band’s self-titled album contains original songs as well as refashioned traditional pieces. The band’s lively sound is characterized by the use of captivating vocals, Portuguese bagpipes and plentiful frame drums.
The lineup includes Joana Negrão on vocals, Portuguese Bagpipes, adufe (Portuguese square drum), and tambourine; Vasco Ribeiro Casais on Braguesa guitar, cavaquinho, and Portuguese bagpipes; and Rita Nóvoa on Portuguese percussion.
Seiva is a gracefully elegant production by a talented group of musicians who are innovating Portuguese folk music.
Mariza – Mundo (Warner Music Portugal/Nonesuch, 2016)
Released earlier in the year in Europe, Mariza’s new album Mundo is now available in North America. The acclaimed fado singer became a world music sensation thanks to showcases at WOMEX, performamces at world music festivals and other presentations. Now she’s taken a further step with her collaboration with Spanish producer Javier Limón.
Mundo still contains exquisite fado. In fact, most of the album is still fado plus a Cape Verdean morna. But there is more. Grammy award-winning producer Javier Limón is well-known for making music accessible to large audiences. Limón composed a song titled “Alma” for Mariza. Here, Mariza sings in Spanish. Her Spanish is charming, with an Andalusian flavor.
Although most of the album is in Portuguese, there is another track in Spanish, a 1930’s Argentine tango song. Thanks to “Alma” and a handful of other pop songs that are very radio friendly, Mariza has now reached beyond the fado and world music audiences. She currently has access to Portuguese and Spanish-language mainstream audiences, which will boost her international career. Nevertheless, fado fans shouldn’t worry. As indicated earlier, most of the album still contains splendid classic and modern fado songs featuring Mariza’s passionate vocals and Portuguese guitar.
Mariza is currently touring North America to present her new work.
Acclaimed Portuguese vocalist Mariza is set to perform Saturday, October 15, 2016 at The Town Hall in New York City.
The fado singer will be presenting her new album Mundo (World) that features classic songs honoring the late fado legend Amalia Rodrigues and legendary tango singer Carlos Gardel, as well as new songs written for her by the Grammy-winning Spanish producer Javier Limón. On Mundo, Mariza sings in Portuguese and Spanish.
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.
One the highlights of the Ibero American Music Expo (EXIB) 2016 was the concert by Portuguese musician, composer and singer-songwriter artist Luiz Caracol. We got a copy of his 2013 album Devagar that contains a lot of the material he performed live.
Luiz Caracol grew up in Lisbon, the son of parents who moved from Angola. His music reflects the melting pot of Lisbon with a mix of Portuguese, lusophone African and South American styles and jazz.
Most of Caracol’s songs begin with guitar and vocals and then he adds the additional instruments provided by his band. He sings seductive songs in the form of Brazilian samba, reassembled fado or featuring world music elements from other traditions of the globe. He also adapts a Spanish-language song by the great Uruguayan singer-songwriter Jorge Drexler to Portuguese.
In addition to his regular band, Luiz Caracol invited high profile guests to collaborate in Devagar, including Afro-Portuguese singer Sara Tavares and Brazilian vocalist Fernanda Abreu.
The album lineup includes Luiz Caracol on guitar, bass, cavaquinho, guitalele, vibraphone, percussion and vocals; Miroca Paris on percussion; Ivo costa on drums and tarola; Hernani Almeida on guitars; Renato Junior on Rhodes; Patricia Antunes on vocals; João Balão on kalimba, bombos and percussion; Carlos Lopes on accordion; Ruca Rebordão on percussion
Guests: Sara Tavares on guitar and vocals; Fernanda Abreu on vocals and beat box; and Valete on vocals.
Devagar delivers timelessly crafted songs with toe-tapping rhythms from Africa and Brazil.
One of the great discoveries this year is the talented Portuguese virtuoso accordionist, vocalist and composer Celina da Piedade. She was one of the artists selected to perform at the Ibero-American Music Expo (EXIB) opening ceremony earlier this month.
Celina’s most recording album is 2012’s two-disc album Em Casa (At Home). This is fabulous release featuring a mix of traditional songs and dances recreated by Celina along with original compositions. The presentation includes ensemble pieces and solo performances as well.
Although a lot of Celina’s music is rooted in Portuguese music, especially the Alentejo region, she also incorporates folk traditions from other parts of Europe, like Brittany, Spain, England, etc.
While most of the time, Celina’s style is acoustic, she doesn’t have any problem using synthesizers and other electronic tools. It’s done tastefully and the electro-acoustic combination works perfectly.
The repertoire includes mazurcas, roundeaus, waltzes, fandangos, and corridinhos, as well as Portuguese songs set to Breton hanter-dro and Galician muiñeira dance rhythms.
Em Casa highlights Celina da Piedade’s talent as a singer, accordionist, arranger and composer. She delivers beautiful accordion melodies throughout the album and some of her highly engaging songs encourage the listener to sing along.
Em Casa features an impressive roster of musicians from Portugal and abroad: Rodrigo Leão on keyboards and programming; Kepa Junkera on accordion and tambourine; Kelly Thoma on Cretan lyre, Efren López on zanfona (hurdy gurdy), Vicky Marques on drums, Eddy Slap on bass and guitar, Samuel Uria on vocals, guitar and banjo; Tania Lopes on percussion, Marco Pereira on cello; Miguel Nogueira on guitar; Maria João Matos on violin; Viviena Tupikova on violin; Bruno Silva on viola; Tony Carlos Gomes on cello; Paulo Pereira on flute; Valter Rolo on piano; Joana Bagulho on cravo; Paul Abelho on percussion and programming; Carlos Guerreiro on vocals, xylophone, tambourine, bass drum; Jose Manuel David on vocals, gaita de fole (bagpipes), Chinese flute, and classical flute; Ana Isabel Dias on harp; Alex Gaspar on serrote; José Barros on viola braguesa (Braguese guitar); Luis Peixoto on mandolin; Pascale Rubens concertina; Toon Van Mierlo on saxophone; and Vasco Ribeiro Casais on nyckelharpa and programming.
Celina da Piedade’s Em Casa is an impressive, beautifully-crafted album by one of the current masters of contemporary Portuguese folk music.
Inberoamerican Music Expo (EXIB) organizers were forced to move the outdoor showcase venues to the historic Teatro Garcia de Resende. The beautiful renovated theater turned out to be an excellent space to experience the live performances.
The first act on stage was La Colectiva Corazón, a multinational group of graduates from the Berklee College of Music – Valencia, Spain Campus. The collective plays what they describe as cumbia fusion. Bear in mind that it’s Chilean cumbia along with guajiras, boleros, funk, Andean music, and pop. Think of Chico Trujillo mixed with Manu Chao.
The slow dance beat immediately got members of the audience dancing (primarily women). The band brought a dance party atmosphere to Teatro Garcia de Resende and the performance was very well received.
La Colectiva Corazon was created by Chilean composer, vocalist and percussionist Gonzalo Eyzaguirre. The ensemble includes musicians from Puerto Rico, Slovenia, Ecuador, Colombia, Italy and the United States. La Colectiva just released its debut album titled “Viajero.”
The band included Gonzalo Eyzaguirre on vocals, charango and percussion; Travis Smilen on electric guitar; Sebastián Laverde on congas; Carlos Llido on drums and timbales; Eric Benavent on saxophone; Alfonso Benavent on trumpet; and Javier Giner Garrido on bass.
The second act was Portuguese singer-songwriter and guitarist Luiz Caracol. He’s a talented artist who combines the rhythms of Portugal with jazz and the music of African countries, Brazil and the sounds of Jorge Drexler.
Luiz Caracol has a captivating laid back song style supported by his rhythmic electric guitar and a fabulous rhythm section that includes a percussionist from Brazil and a West African drummer.
Caracol was born in Elvas right after his parents arrived from newly independent Angola, where they had lived before the African nation became independent. Luiz Caracol released his first album, Devagar, in 2013. Devagar includes special guest performances by Fernanda Abreu, Sara Tavares and Valete. He’s currently recording his new album titled Metade, scheduled for release later this year, in 2016.
Concert lineup: Luiz Caracol on guitar and vocals; Chico Santos on bass; Miroca Paris on drums; and Ruca Rebordão on percussion.
Mexico was represented by vocalist Zaira Franco. Zaira’s show crossed numerous musical boundaries. She was accompanied by a rock band and delivered a mix of Mexican music, boleros, funk, Afro Cuban sounds and rock. The band’s electric guitar player was impressive, releasing fiery solos using various types of techniques. At one time, Zaira’s band went into full blown progressive rock. Zaira Franco presented her latest album, Tumbalá.
Showcase lineup: Zaira Franco on vocals; Mario Patrón on piano; Federico Erik Negrete on bass; Alfredo Martínez on guitar; Fausto Aguilar on drums; and Luis Manuel García on percussion.
The fourth act was truly spectacular. Undoubtedly, the highlight of the entire event. C4 Trio is an award-winning ensemble of three Venezuelan cuatro players along with a bassist.
C4 Trio are highly skilled musicians who demonstrated virtuosity, creativity and delivered a captivating and fun show featuring ensemble pieces, solos and interplay. The repertoire included Venezuelan folk songs as well as pop standards played at dazzling speeds. The group received repeated standing ovations and was the only act that came back for an encore.
The C4 Trío lineup included Jorge Glem on cuatro; Héctor Molina on cuatro; Edward Ramírez on cuatro; and Gustavo Márquez on bass.
The closing act was 78 year old Brazilian vocalist and guitarist Dona Jandira. The charismatic performer started her career in 2004 after she met producer José Dias.
Lineup: Dona Jandira on vocals and guitar; José Dias Guimaraes de Almeida on bass and Eugenio de Castro Ribeiro on violin.
Headline photo: La Colectiva Corazón, courtesy of EXIB Música