Voltarol - related music

Friday, 31 December 2010

That was the year that was

Well, another year is done and dusted and it is time for me to reflect briefly on the musical highlights of my year, before I get so drunk celebrating the start of a new one that I can’t even remember typing this sentence…

The whole of my last Brazil trip in January and February was chock-a-block with good musical moments but the highlight of all of those was also my GIG OF THE YEAR. You can (if you so wish and haven’t done so already) read more about the trip generally here, but the gig in question was a concert by Yamandu Costa and Hamilton de Holanda at the marvellous Auditório Ibirapuera, in São Paulo. It was a evening of sublime music played by two virtuoso instrumentalists who obviously have the greatest of respect for one another, performed in a near-perfect acoustic environment. When we left the building after the concert I was still having difficulty in seeing properly because their encore had caused me to quite literally weep with joy!

Here is a clip of them playing ‘Samba do Rafa’ - a Yamandu Costa composition that is a tribute to the great Raphael Rebello - at a concert that they gave at the same venue in 1997.

And here is a clip from the actual 2010 concert. I have included the first clip because they played the tune that night and it is one of my favourites but unfortunately I couldn't find that version on YouTube.
This one is called 'Meiga' ('Sweet') and is another Yamandu composition.

And for good measure here is 'Suite Retratos Numero Quatro' (Portrait Suite Number Four) which was composed by one of Yamandu's big influences - Radamés Gnattali.

My CD of the year is, I suppose unsurprisingly, also Brazilian. It is ‘Noites de Gala Ao Vivo'
 (Gala Nights Live) by Mônica Salmaso and Pau Brasil

which actually came out in 2009 but which I bought earlier this year. Monica had this to say about it on her website (I took the liberty of copying it here because I could not create a link to the English version.) - "When we released the DVD of this project, Biscoito Fino had already asked us to release the live CD.

At first, I was against this idea because when the DVD was recorded (March 2008), there had been very few changes in our performance regarding the CD recorded in the studio. We were the same group, playing the same songs with the same arrangements.
I thought that launching a product that was so similar to the one we had launched the year before didn’t make sense.

Between April and November 2008, our dream came true. We went on a tour that covered 21 cities in all regions in Brazil.
I had fulfilled the dream of being able, for the first time, to take the same show with the same technical team and part of the equipment to so many cities for almost a year.

After a 10-year career, I had the opportunity to kind of “map” the audience that has been gradually formed, without a great commercial exposure.  And what surprised me most was the fact that my work had an audience in many cities I had never been to before, formed in a spontaneous way and with great identification. Brazil, such a big country and with difficult communication (beyond the unilateral reach of television), became a little smaller with this tour and I felt, more than ever, like a “countrywide” artist, not only from the southeast region where I was born, live and work most of the time.
When we were on tour, we performed in the most beautiful theaters of each city, historical theaters where both the artist and the audience feel happy for being there.
We visited the cities, met people and got to know places and, the same way as the show, we ourselves had the opportunity to “unify” Brazil by means of those trips. 

When we returned to Fecap Theater in São Paulo on October 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 2008, there had been considerable musical changes in the show. We had performed the show for more than 80 times in several theaters and other nuances, novelties and more musical property were incorporated into the arrangements, besides having included the song FLOR DA IDADE in the repertoire. Like food that is slowly cooked in a wood-burning stove, the show got the same “flavor” of being well done and that only practice and time can provide.
To our luck, the show on October 3 was recorded and, we were even luckier, well recorded without the need of major changes to be made. It was very musical and reflected exactly our feeling that it had gained musicality during the tour, the trips, after the repetitions, with the different audiences and in the various theaters. When I listened to this recorded show, I finally decided to launch it so that the cycle of the project could be completed and we could share this recording and the maturation of the show.
I thank the musicians of the Pau Brasil group for the partnership, all the team that worked seriously and with love for the success of our tour, the local producers, the press in all the cities where we had shows, the sponsors of the tour (Bradesco Prime), Fecap theater for the place we love and for having recorded the show and Biscoito Fino for all support and beautiful projects."

It has to be said that, great though the Yamandu and Hamilton de Holanda gig was, if I’d seen this gig this year then it would have been gig of the year as well. Oh, and there’s a DVD of it as well and I nominate that for DVD of the year! Here is a a promotional clip for the DVD. If you look on YouTube there are a number of clips that have been posted by people who have filmed from the audience but non of them do justice to the sound quality of the original and I therefore do not add them here. Rather, I would urge you to track it down and buy it!!!

Well, that's it for 2010. I trust that it has been a good year for you and that the next one will be an even better one. 
Happy New Year!
Feliz Ano Novo!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Voltarol’s Christmas Cracker

The festivities are upon us once more and who am I to cry “Bah! Humbug!”? Well - a fairly disgruntled senior citizen of the UK, that’s who, but my gruntle is no more dissed than most peoples and I don’t feel inclined to vent my spleen here. There’s plenty of time for that next year.

No – since it is the time when chestnuts are nipping at your toes and Jack Frost is roasting on an open fire (thanks for that line, Denny. I stole it shamelessly), I thought I’d share a few things with you that make me laugh. I shan’t bother to annotate them as they will either entertain you or they won’t and they are all self explanatory. All you need to know is that they are a source of great amusement to me – and if they don’t amuse you well “Bah! Humbug!” anyway…


Monday, 6 December 2010

Danu Fox in Falmouth

Landlord Nick Swan is promoting the first in what he anticipates will be a series of innovative musical evenings in the restaurant area of the Four Winds Inn in Falmouth when he presents Danu Fox and Sorisso on Saturday December 11th. Danu and Sorisso have put together an evening of music that combines musical influences from both North and South America, combining Latin rhythms with jazz standards and throwing some bossa novas and other Brazilian music into the mix.

Singer Danu Fox is known for her musical eclecticism and is equally at home in the jazz, folk, Latin and World music fields. This original and accomplished singer has been likened to Sarah Vaughan. Her spellbinding voice has been described as ‘the smoothest in Cornwall’.

Sorisso is the latest of a series of musical units featuring Pete Kubryk Townsend and Pete Turner. Whenever these two get together you can be certain of a strong Brazilian slant to things. Pete Kubryk Townsend, whilst better known in Europe as a superb double bass player, is also a fine exponent of the nylon string guitar (or ‘violão’ as it is known in Brazil). It is on this instrument that he joins percussionist Pete Turner (who has honed his skills playing all over Brazil in recent years) for this venture. The trio is completed by double bassist Tim Greenhalgh, an excellent player with some twenty years of professional experience to his credit, who has previously played with both Petes in separate ventures.


Any resemblance between Voltarol and Pete Turner is purely coincidental (it says here...)