La Musica Secondo Gabriele
LEA FREIRE’s “Cartas Brasileiras” (Brazilian Letters – 2007) is receiving the enthusiastic applause of either public and critic, in many languages. Its music is the confluence of the three main musical forces that coexist in Brazil today : African, European and Native Indian.
“Vento em Madeira”, the first track of this album, is a beautifull combination of these influences. With an invited orquestra adding to 62 (sixty two) musicians, it is a colossal production of her label Maritaca, specialized in the best Brazilian Instrumental Music. Her first CD, “Ninhal” (meaning the collective of birds nests), is still very well received by public and critic and some of the songs, specially ‘Vatapa’ have been recorded already in Japan, German, Italy, USA and by various artists in Brazil.
Fully recognized as a very creative composer, some of her pieces are now being played by flutists in concerts in Europe and USA. In Sept 98 she played at Miami University and the Blue Note in NY, as a special guest of Teco Cardoso, and recorded her second album – “Quinteto”, featuring her duo with sax and flute player Teco Cardoso, released in 99. In 2005 released two albuns with trombonist Bocato ‘Brazilian Song Anthology vol.1 and vol.2 featuring the most beautiful balads of Brazilian composers such as Nelson Cavaquinho, Ary Barroso, Tom Jobim, Lupicinio Rodrigues and others. This album was extremely well received by critics and public and the vol.2 is highly expected for the second semester. Touring in Europe in 2006, she co-produced with pianist Thomas Clausen an CD – “Waterbikes” that is being released in Danmark and Brazil, featuring Lea’s an Thomas’s compositions, with Teco Cardoso, Fernando Demarco (bass) and Afonso Correa (drums and percussion).
As a producer of Brazilian Contemporary Instrumental Music through Maritaca (www.maritaca.art.br) – her label company – she has produced more than thirty CDs featuring names like Arismar do Espirito Santo, Filo Machado, Bocato, Vinicius Dorin, Thiago Espirito Santo, Silvia Goes, Tibo Delor, Edu Ribeiro, Mane Silveira, Teco Cardoso, Guello, Naylor “Proveta” Azevedo, Laercio de Freitas, Heloisa Fernandes and many others.
Dal mio punto di vista sono una delle cose più belle dei giorni nostri, sempre con l’idea di fare una musica che sia identitaria e universale, che coniughi la funzione popolare con la profondità del linguaggio erudito. Spero vi piaccia come piace a me. Gabriele
By Sabrina Heise
In most parts of Argentina, “aca” is a nonsense word, but in northern Argentina, such as the northwestern province of Tucumán, where guitarist, singer, and composer Juan Quintero comes from, it has a very specific meaning: dried shit. That’s the Quechua (a South American language system spoken by native people of the Andes Mountains) translation.
Fifteen years ago as students at the National University of La Plata, Quintero, Andrés Beeuwsaert (piano and vocals) and Mariano Cantero (percussion and vocals) were preparing for their first concert, but had no band name, Quintero jokingly threw the name Aca Seca into the mix. And, like the subject in question, it, well, stuck.”We didn’t know what aca meant! But we liked the sonority of the name,” says Beeuwsaert, relaying the story via Skype from his home in Buenos Aires. With Argentina as one of the world’s major agricultural producers, aca seca is vital to farming. “You put it in the ground, and it makes things grow,” Beeuwsaert points out. “It’s an important thing.” While Aca Seca Trio’s name originally ruffled feathers on their tours through northern Argentina, the band’s reputation as leaders in the local folk movement spread quickly — by word of mouth and a homemade demo — and quickly outweighed the band’s name in topics of discussion.
Aca Seca’s unique sound was born out of chacarera and zamba, the Argentinian musical tradition called folklore. But the members of the trio consider their music be a fusion of a fusion — a contemporary take on the historic fusion of folklore music, which is a blend of the Spanish rhythms brought to South America by colonizers and the musical traditions of the region’s native people. The group’s first album, a self-titled 2003 release, was predominantly composed by Quintano and stuck closely to traditional rhythms, with guitar and piano adding fresh, modern textures to ancient beats. Compositions such as “Canto en la Rama” are haunting in the stark rhythms played by Cantero and the layered harmonies of all three performers.
With each of the two albums that followed, Avenido (2006) and Ventana (2009), the trio’s sound evolved, continuing to draw from Quintano’s interest in folklore traditions and from Beeuwsaert and drummer Cantero’s backgrounds in jazz and rock music, but also in the music of other composers from Argentina as well as Uruguay and Brazil. The band has no preference on playing their original music over that of other composers. “We only play the music that touches us very deeply. When we play the songs of other composers, in some way, we think of the songs as our songs, too, because we do other arrangements and turn it into our own composition,” Beeuwsaert shares. Aca Seca’s musical following has long since outgrown South America, allowing them to perform worldwide. When asked how the group feels about playing music so rooted in South American musical traditions to people who may not be familiar with the culture or speak the language, Beeuwsaert says, “People connect with us beyond the language. I think the music has a special power to communicate. When you play music you like, it’s easy to communicate those feelings to other people. That’s why we play only the music we really love.”
Indeed, it takes listening to just a few measures of the mature sound of “Chiquita” from 2009’s Ventanas to mentally transport the listener to an Argentinian patio, a glass of Malbec in hand. Needless to say, the group, soon to be embarking on their first North American tour, has come a long way from being university students enjoying the joke of a scatological band name. In 1999, they were pulled together by a shared passion for the unique sound they were creating, and then bonded in the ways of most people their age, spending time together outside of rehearsal spaces, cooking and eating, watching movies.
Now they are spread out in different parts of Argentina, with only Cantero remaining in the university town of La Plata. Though each of the musicians participates in a number of other projects — solo and with other groups — they set Aca Seca Trio apart. Beeuwsaert credits this to the trio being almost like brothers. Each time they meet up for a performance, they still aim for the experimental quality with which they approached the formation of the group in 1999. “When we play together, for me, it’s like the early years when we started to play. It’s always something new, something amazing,” Beeuwsaert says. “We have the spirit of discovery. We still learn — a new song, a new arrangement — we feel like musical students, in a good sense. We try to not miss the spirit of learning.
Mônica Salmaso started her career in the play “O Concílio do Amor”, directed by Gabriel Villela in 1989. In 1995 she recorded her first solo album Afro-sambas, accompanied by classical guitarist Paulo Bellinati, who also made the arrangements and produced the CD. It was a re-recording of the eponymous album composed in the 1960s by Baden Powell and Vinícius de Moraes.
In 1996, she recorded with Paulo Bellinati the song “Felicidade” (Happiness) by Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes for the album “Tom Jobim Songbook”, by Lumiar Records. She was nominated for the 1997 Prêmio Sharp as Revelation singer in the category Música popular brasileira. Salmaso released in 1998 her second album, Trampolim, produced by Rodolfo Stroeter, with guest participations of Naná Vasconcelos, Toninho Ferragutti and Paulo Bellinati, among others. In 1999 she was the winner of the second Prêmio Visa MPB – Vocal Edition, in a unanimous decision both by the jury and by popular acclaim. In the same year she recorded her third album, Voadeira, also produced by Rodolfo Stroeter. Guest participants in the CD were, among others, Marcos Suzano, Benjamim Taubkin, Toninho Ferragutti, Paulo Bellinati and Nailor Azevedo. The São Paulo Association of Art Critics (APCA) considered it one of the ten best albums of the year, and she was awarded the APCA Award as Best Female Singer.
In 2000 she was finalist of the Festival da Música Brasileira (Brazilian Music Festival) promoted by Rede Globo, main Brazilian TV broadcaster, singing “Estrela da Manhã” by Beto Furquim. NY Times critic Jon Pareles said of her that “Monica Salmaso has a gorgeous, quintessentially Brazilian voice: quietly lustrous and sustained, suffusing each liquid note with languid secrets”. Don Heckman of LA Times said “She is an artist to be watched, one with extraordinary potential”. Billboard Magazine said, “Her voice is a fluent and beautifully colored instrument”. Her albums Trampolim and Voadeira were also released in Europe, Japan, the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The 2007 album Noites de Gala, Samba na Rua was nominated for Best MPB Album at the 2007 Latin Grammy Awards.
In 2011 the album Alma Lírica Brasileira (Lyric Brazilian Soul) was released, a work conceived in trio with her husband Teco Cardoso (saxophones and flutes) and the conductor Nelson Ayres (piano). It was nominated for Best MPB Album at the 2011 Latin Grammy Awards, and Salmaso won the 23rd Prêmio da Música Brasileira Award as best singer of Brazilian Music.
In 2014, the album Corpo de Baile was released, containing 14 songs composed in partnership by Guinga and Paulo Cesar Pinheiro, several of them not recorded before and several kept for up to 40 years. With this work, Monica Salmaso won in 2015 the 26th Prêmio da Música Brasileira, in the Best MPB Female Singer category. A song from the album, Sedutora, was also awarded with the Best Song Award.