Friday, September 23, 2011

brasil guitar duo in anchorage

My first encounter with the Brasil Guitar Duo was a couple of months ago when I came across a recording of their Bach Sonatas with flutist Marina Piccinini. This beautiful recording, in which the typical harpsichord accompaniment was replaced by the guitar duo has since become a favorite.

Sometimes landscape and music meet with such perfection, it simply takes your breath away. Last week, while driving back from McCarthy (Wrangell St Elias, AK) that was the Andante from Bach's Sonata in e-minor. The Alaskan autumn landscape with all its shades of ochre, the splendor of embracing glaciers, the silence of the music...

some images

matanuska glacier 
on the way to lake louise 
matanuska glacier
mountains of wrangell st elias

Although it would have been wonderful to have Marina Piccinini join them as well, I was very happy to discover, the Brasil Guitar Duo will be playing on October 1st at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts in Anchorage.

Brasil Guitar Duo
Equally at home playing Classical or World music, the Duo's innovative programming features a seamless blend of traditional and Brazilian works. Their technical virtuosity and smooth performance style have quickly made them one of the preeminent guitar duos of its generation, resulting in a a touring schedule around the world and numerous critically acclaimed recordings. Come see why Classical Guitar Magazine exclaimed "The maturity of musicianship and technical virtuosity is simply outstanding."

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

marlui miranda in angra dos reis, brazil

I came across the music of Marlui Miranda when I lived in Angra dos Reis (Brazil) and someone introduced me to her album Ihu 2 Kewere: Rezar: Prayer, a solemn mass celebrating the 400th anniversary of José de Anchieta, a 16th century Jesuit priest who went amongst the indigenous Tupi-speaking peoples of the Branco River basin in Brazil.

The cd is the product of two decades of research, experiments and arrangements on which Miranda introduces the old Tupi language and overlays them with elements of Christian liturgy. Native rhythms and ritual songs, and familiar fragments from the Latin mass sung in a mixture of Tupi, Portuguese and Latin display an uncommon oratorio for orchestra, jazz musicians, chorale, and indigenous South American players and vocalists. A compassionate reckoning of worlds, utterly unlike anything I heard before.

Kewere (Tupi language) to pray for a sick person, to free him from the spell, to heal his soul through the spirit.
Ihu (Kamayurá language) = sound, all that reaches the ear, including the sound of the spirits and the magical entities of the forest.
Rezar (Portuguese) = to pray

The Tupi people, Tupinambá, were one of the main ethnic groups of Brazilian indigenous people. Scholars believe they first settled in the Amazon rain forest, but 2,900 years ago they started to spread southward and gradually occupied the Atlantic coast. Ihu 2 Kewere: Rezar marks the 400th anniversary of Anchieta, a Canarian Jesuit missionary to Brazil in the second half of the 16th century. Anchieta, a highly influential figure in Brazil's history in the 1st century after its discovery. He was a writer and poet, and is considered the first Brazilian writer.

José de Anchieta (1534 –1597) was a Canarian Jesuit missionary to Brazil in the second half of the 16th century. A highly influential figure in Brazil's history in the 1st century after its discovery on April 22, 1500 by a Portuguese fleet commanded by Pedro Álvares Cabral, Anchieta was one of the founders of São Paulo, in 1554, and Rio de Janeiro, in 1565. He was a writer and poet, and is considered the first Brazilian writer.

Marlui Miranda (1949)
Born in Fortaleza but raised in Brasília (DC), she moved to Rio de Janeiro in the 70s where she studied classical guitar. Still in the 70s, she began researching and studying the native music of Brazil. Ihu 2 Kewere: Rezar: Prayer is the sequel to IHU Todas Os Sons, which I discovered in the reversed order but, which in my opinion, is equally interesting.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011


Ten years have passed since September 11 and I, as I'm sure many with me, hold vivid memories of that fatal day. It was the year I moved to the United States and lived in San Diego Bay, where a sailboat was my home.

"...Masts of surrounding boats sang their eerie songs that morning and the fog hushed my steps while I strolled over the docks. It was quiet and peaceful so early in the day until a voice pulled me out of my slumbers: "Did you hear?, I looked around but couldn't put a face to the voice as it continued: "The Towers fell." For a moment I didn't know what was meant by "The Towers". After all, I was still very new to this country. "The Towers fell?", "Which Towers?", I asked..."

It wasn't only for the fact that I was new to the country that I reacted like that. I did know what was meant by The Towers, as I had spent some time in New York where I stayed at a friend's barge, moored a short distance away from the World Trade Center. First thing every morning, I would walk over to The Towers to purchase a coffee and bagel at its downstairs cafe. My reaction was fueled by astonishment, disbelief and shock. How could anyone possibly belief something of that magnitude? Later that day I remember watching the news reports all over the marina. First at the local cafeteria and later in the cockpit of our boat while neighbors stopped by to share their feelings of shock..."

I would like to share one of my songs with all who have lost a friend or loved one during the terrorist attacks of 9/11. In Elegy for a Cherry Tree I reflect upon my own experiences with personal loss, and have created a garden where grief can rest.

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