Voltarol - related music

Friday, 27 June 2008

Strike up the bandolim

Hamilton de Hollanda (see yesterday's post) is only one of a number of younger Brazilian musicians who have revitalised interest in the bandolim. As you can see from the picture, the main difference between a mandolin and a bandolim is the name and the body shape. Otherwise, both instruments have similar scale lengths, tuning and stringing.
Jacob do Bandolim was probably the first musician to bring the instrument to prominence, and is responsible for one of the most well known and frequently recorded choro tunes, Noites Cariocas (Rio Nights - 'Carioca' is a slang trem for a person from Rio de Janeiro). Here it is played by another superb bandolimist, Armandinho, with the late, great Raphael Rabello on 7 string guitar (another instrument that deserves a posting of its own - watch this space...).
Another young musician working in the choro field is Dudu Maia. His speciality is the 10 string bandolim which as the name implies has an extra course of strings, thus extending the harmonic range. here he is seen in a choro club in Brasilia, playing another Jacob do Bandolim composition, Vibrações (Vibrations). Hamilton de Hollanda, whilst retaining a great love and respect for the older musical forms has, in recent years been taking the bandolim in a more jazz-oriented direction. Here he is with his quintet in 2006. I can't name the tune but I did notice that de Hollanda is also now playing a 10 string instrument.
I have a couple of Déo Rian albums but know very little about him other than the fact that he's about the same age as me, was much influenced by Jacob do Bandolim and is another great player. There are very few YouTube clips of him and most of them have not been uploaded very well, but here is his version of Vibrações. Another player of similar vintage is Joel Nascimento, whose work I first encountered on a double CD devoted to the compositions of Jacob which was released on the Biscoito Fino label in 2003. Unfortunately the quality of the YouTube material is not good - mobile phone videos and TV news clips with the presenter talking over most of the performances, but his recordings are well worth seeking out.
Finally, to bring this particular strand full circle, here Mike Marshall performs in Brazil, with Hamilton de Hollanda, singer Zelia Duncan and an unknamed guitarist. The song is Doce de Côco (Coconut Candy) and is yet another classic composition by Jacob de Bandolim.
I shall be returning to the subject of choro again at some point, but for now I'm off up to London for a few days. My next posting will be a revue of tomorrow night's Maria Rita concert at the Barbican. Maybe I'll see you there...