Sunday, April 29, 2007

Hamilton De Holanda

It is suggested that there are more similitaries then differences between choro music and jazz music. I don't know if this true, but I learned that the history of the development of both music styles have a lot in common. Yesterday I saw some fragments of films of Hamliton De Holanda, a bandolim player that feels at home in both jazz and choro music.

Born in 1975 he plays the Portuguese guitar, the so-called bandolim, made famous by musicians like Jacob Do Bandolim. He added an extra ( double) string to his instrument which makes it possible to develop a more polyphonic playing technique. The sound of this 10 string bandolim ( all strings double on this instrument) is powerful and precise. Although I never have heard an album of him I became fascinated by the way he plays his instrument due to some film fragments of performances.

Hamilton De Holanda is one of those raising stars in Brazil we should keep an eye on. He feels comfortable, not only in choro or jazz music, but also in a classical orchestra, with famous artists like the Buena Vista Social Club or with jazz musicans like Stanley Jordan. He will, I'm sure about that, develop to a global artist, and will get known beyond the borders of Brazil. He has been in Europe, most of the time in France, and I found a fragment from a TV program where he shows his extended instrument at a festival in Corsica. .
This summer he will play at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, I learned, with his Brasilianos Quintet and in October he is sceduled in The Netherlands again: in the Oosterpoort in Groningen, in the Zuiderpershuis in Antwerp (Belgium), in the Doelen in Rotterdam and the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam. You can find the exact dates bij clicking on
his website.

I love to share with you some fragments, where he tells about his instrument, with his Brasilianos Quintet and alone on stage in Brasilia ( Brazil). I hope you'll become as fascinated by this young rising star as me, that builds bridges between choro and jazz music.

I hope to find his CDs very soon !!

Recorded 19 July 2006 in Patrimonio, France
Hamilton de Holanda Quintet "Brasilianos" performing at Patrimonio Festival july 2006 - Corsica - France. Programme TV

Hamilton de Holanda Quintet live performance "Caçua" of the CD "Brasilianos" - Biscoito Fino-Discmedi 2006

Hamilton de Holanda Solo live performance "Disparada" from the live solo CD "01 Byte 10 Cordas" - Biscoito Fino-Discmedi 2006

This contribution has also been posted (in Dutch and English) at the Keep Swinging web log.

Keep swinging

Hans Koert

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Pixinguinha 110 Years!

Yesterday, April 23th, was the 110th anniversary of the famous Brazilian composer, Alfredo da Rocha Vianna Filho (1897-1973), better known as Pixinguinha.

Pixinguinha was a choro composer, arranger, flutist and saxophonist born in Rio de Janeiro. Through the legacy of the pioneering choro composers of the 19th century and of the Afro-Brazilian tradition, Pixinguinha produced some of the most important choro works of all time. Edifying the choro as a musical genre, he conferred on it personality and identity. Some of his notable compositions include "Carinhoso" and "1 X 0" ("Um a Zero").
More information on the career of Pixinguinha to be found here
The name and legacy of Pixinguinha is kept well alive in Brazil, some years ago his date of birth even was announced the official 'Choro Day' of the nation, and to tell from the many arrangements made to celebrate Pixinguinha's 110th anniversary and 'Dia Nacional de Choro' this year, Pixinguinha still has a strong influence in the musical tradition of contemporary Brazil.
Among the many actual projects concerning Pixinguinha and his historical importance in Brazilian music, I should very much like to point the visitors of this blog to a great resource, also accessable outside Brazil due to a great website with various online facilities. I am refering to the Instituto Moreira Salles of Rio de Janeiro, which has prepared a special site regarding Pixinguinha to be reached clicking here or on headline.
At the mentioned site you have the opportunity to listen to original recordings by Pixinguinha from the huge collection held by the Instituto Moreira Salles. Moreover the staff at IMS has made a lot of photos according Pixinguinha accessable online, and you can search their online catalog regarding Pixinguinha's manuscrips of compositions, books available on Pixinguinha etc. Enough material for a closer study for the serious visitor and a great tribute to keeping Pixinguinha's legacy well a live in the future also.
Yesterday evening I celebrated Pixinguinha and 'Choro Day' by listening to a great CD by Zé da Velha and Silvério Pontes, "Só Pixinguinha" released by the Biscoito Fino label in 2006. The CD has compositions by Pixinguinha only (- thus the title), and Zé da Velha (tb) and Silvério Pontes (tp) are accompanied by a choro group featuring Charlles da Costa (violão), Alessandro Cardoso (cavaquinho),Netinho Albuquerque (pandeiro) and guest soloists Yamandu Costa (violão 7 cordas, Paulo Sérgio Santos (cl), Cristóvão Bastos (p), Joel Nascimento (bandolim) a.o.. I highly recommend this great cd as a splendid example of contemporary choro and up-to-date renditions of master Pixinguinha. More info on the cd to be found clicking hereJo

Monday, April 23, 2007

Bene Nuñes

A week ago Jerry contacted me with the request for information about a Brazilian musician his parents had on an old 45 rpm EP from the 1950s. The title of the record is Brasil Nouvelle Vague as played by Bene Nuñes, Aloysio De Oliveira and Elza Soares; three representatives of a new generation in Brazilian music, as the title suggests. His request for information concentrates on Bene Nuñes.

Bene Nuñes was a Brazilian piano player and movie star. He was born in 1920 in Rio de Janeiro. When he was seven years old he performed for the first time in the Radio Cajuti program titled Hora Infantil. He played, surprised by everybody, the tune Pé de anjo and was asked to be a regular guest for the next half year. In 1945 he became part of the Milionários do Ritmo, a band of Djalma Ferreira. He also started to play in films.
In 1951 he recorded for the Continental label some choros, titled Moleque Tumba and Gostosinho. During the 1950s he played in films and recorded several hits. Late 1950s he formed an orchestra, featuring Carlos Lyra and Luiz Reis. How popular he was in those days illustrates the fact that he was often invited to play the piano for the Brazilian president of those days Juscelino Kubistchek at balls in the Palácio do Catete, the residence of the president. Bene and his wife Dulce became the great performers of the Bossa Nova movement, with great followers like Joao Gilberto, Luis Bonfa, Bola Sete and Oscar Castro Neves to name some. During the 1970s and 1980s they became sought after accompanists in this style. Bene Nuñes passed away in 1997 in Rio de Janeiro.
The parents of Jerry bought this little record when they were young adults. Jerry still has a copy of it. It reminds him of his youth, when his parents played the record on their little gramophone, that had to be amplified by their radio in the living room.
Some people believe that music is only interesting, or has certain value if it is made by living musicians - recordings are only interesting to keep a remembrance to a certain concert or performance. When a musician has passed away the music is gone; it can never created again; the music on the records is of no value. I think those people pass over the fact that sounds, or smells or colours can appeal to certain events long ago. When I smell parsley it reminds me being an young child in my grandmother's garden in Wolphaartsdijk ( southwest part of the Netherlands) and when I hear a gramophone sung and played by musicians like Eddy Christiani,Tom Manders ( as Dorus a famous 1960s Dutch TV personality á la Charles Chaplin ) or music played by Cor Steyn on his magic organ it reminds me to our stays in Rotterdam at my uncle's house.
Jerry shared some great informal snapshots from the early 1960s from his father and mother, probably engaged or just married, at their apartement in Amsterdam playing this Brasil Nouvelle Vague record; the cover is to be seen laying on the table. Thanks Jerry for sharing these great pictures.

I found a fragment of Bene Nuñes playing the piano in one of his early 1950s films. I hope you like it.

This contribution is also posted at the Keepswinging web log.
Keep swinging
Hans Koert

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Perhaps the best known Brazilian vocal choro (choro-cancão) is 'Carinhoso', composed by Pixinguinha between 1916 and 1917 with added lyrics by João de Barro some time later. Because of the negative reactions of critics who charged the piece as being under the influence of Jazz, Pixinguinha did not release it for ten years. In the 1930s and 1940s it was a fovorite of popular crooners, including Orlando Silvo a.o.. The tune has since become one of the most well-known popular songs in Brazil and is often requested by audiences who want to sing along.
To celebrate the 110th anniversary of Pixinguinha and Dia Nacional de Choro in Brazil on April 23th this blog entry offers the opportunity to view three different versions of 'Carinhoso'. If you want to read the lyrics, click on headline or here
The first version of 'Carinhoso' is an instrumental solo performance by an accomplished guitarist, enjoy Paulinho´s rendition here

The next version of 'Carinhoso' has the lyrics, here performed by Paulinho da Viola & Marisa Monte

The last version of 'Carinhoso' to be viewed here is an extract from Kaurismekki's documentary "Brasileirinho", featuring Yamandú Costa on guitar and the attending public singing the lyrics, enjoy this highlight from the mentioned documentary


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Nicolas Krassik

A blog like this Keep Swinging web log wants to share my fasination with visitors for certain musical styles or for musicians who don't walk the beaten tracks. This time I want to share with you the music of Nicolas Krassik, a French violin player. I got a great CD, Nicolas Krassik- Na Lapa, of him that has a lot of aspects to enjoy. Nicolas Krassik has been the subject of an extensive blog made by Joergen some months ago. You can read his contribution here. Nicolas Krassik, born in France, who studied classical music on the violin and played jazz and classical music on his instrument in his homeland, travelled to Brazil in 2001 searching for new sounds, for new musical inspirations. He found it in a bar called Semente, in Na Lapa (Rio de Janeiro), the title of the album, where he heard musicans like Yamandu Costa playing the Pixinguinha tune 1 x 0 . During his visit he learned more about the Brazilian music in general and the choro music in particular. He became inspired by the rich Brazilian music traditions and moved to Brazil where he is now part of the group of popular choro musicians.
When you listen to the CD Na Lapa you hear Nicolas Krassik playing, being a skilled musician, with his roots in classical music ( like the intro of Lamento Sertanejo ) and jazz and passioned by the Brazilian choro music. The music is great - it is not a copy of the traditional choro music as it is played for years by numerous bands like nowadays dixieland band try to imitate the New Orleans style - no it is a new sound - on a higher level then pure imitating the traditional sounds. That's why I like this CD and his music.
I want to share three fragments with you - all three with musicans named in this little blog. The first fragment is by Yamandu Costa playing Disparada. Yamandu is the musician that inspired Nicolas Krassik to stay in Brazil. The second fragment is a small filmed documentary and performance of Pixinguinha himself; this fragment has historical value. Pixinguinha is one of the most important composers and performers in choro music. The last fragment is Nicolas Krassik at a festival last year. Maybe not the best example to illustrate his capacities, but nice to learn how he became part of Brazilian tradition. Mind that Joergen also posted a fragment where you can see Nicolas Krassik playing.

Luiz Paixão & Nicolas Krassik

This contribution has also posted at the Keep swinging web log

Keep swinging

Hans Koert

Friday, April 13, 2007

Choro das tres

Some time ago I posted a couple of video-performances featuring the charming choro ensemble, Choro das tres. Now I found three more videos that I like to share with you. Learn more about Choro das tres from their website, click here or on headline.

Enjoy a performance by Choro das tres playing "Serpentina"

Also enjoy a video recording from a radio studio, the tune performed is "A ginga do Mané" by Jacob do Bandolim

Finally, also enjoy a performance of Benedito Lacerda's "Boneca" by the talented young flutist of Choro das tres at a concert recently


Friday, April 06, 2007

Evocação a Jacob

In 1969, Jacob do Bandolim had a co-operation with the composer and zither player, Avena de Castro, who had transcribed some of Jacob's compositions for zither and prepared recording this and some other material as a tribute to the bandolim master. Jacob participated in the recording of "Três estrelinhas", a composition by Anacleto de Medeiros, but his sudden death in August prevented him to learn the result of de Castro's planned recordings, which was released later on a LP for RCA Victor, 'Avena de Castro relembra Jacob Bittencourt'.

One of the compositions by Avena de Castro featured on the LP was "Evocação de Jacob", which was composed and recorded a few days after Jacob's death. I found a solo performance by an accomplished bandolimist, Albenez Carvalho, playing this tune

Avena de Castro (Heitor Avena de Castro, 1919 - 1981) is regarded a Brazilian master of the zither. He started his career in the 1930s after studying the instrument at conservatory composing and transcribing classical repertoire to be performed on the zither. In the 1950s he recorded pieces by Ernesto Narareth and Zequinha Abreu a.o. and he was later to be involved in the founding of the Club de Choro of Brasilia and was actually elected as the first president of the orginasation. He recorded more LPs, both as a soloist and participating in recordings by others, i.e. Waldir Azevedo (1973).

The zither is a musical instrument composed of a flat sound box with about 30 to 40 strings stretched over it and played horizontally with the fingertips or a plectrum. In entertainment, the zither is perhaps most famous for its role in providing the soundtrack and opening scene of the classic film noir "The Third Man". The soundtrack was played by the Austrian master of the zither, Anton Karas, and he will forever be remembered for this contribution, also known as "The Harry Lime Theme". As I was unable to find a filmed live performance by Avena de Castro, I hope you to forgive me posting a seldom recording of Anton Karas playing the zither instead. Enjoy this performance from a London Café