Thursday, June 5
Kuumbwa Jazz Center
Mandolinist Danilo Brito is important to the world of music both for his extraordinary musicianship, and for the unique musical and cultural tradition he promulgates through his work—the choro music of Brazil.
His is the quintessential story of a child prodigy, born with talent and interest in music far beyond his years, coupled with the good fortune to have a family whose father and older brother appreciate, study, and practice Brazil’s musical traditions. His parents say that at the age of 3, he took his father’s mandolin from a chair and played separate strings clearly and at the age of 5, surprised everyone by playing the melody from the song Delicado, by Waldir Azevedo. At the age of 11, he lived for a year in the northeastern state of Paraiba on the farm where his father was born and there learned more traditional songs and developed his technique.
He returned to São Paulo and began to visit some of the famous music shops that hosted Rodas de Choro, informal gatherings of musicians who meet to play choro. Many of Brazil’s greatest instrumentalists were regulars. Choro is considered the first characteristically Brazilian genre of urban popular music. The literal translation of the word is “to cry,” but its use in naming this music is figurative and points to its emotive power. More often bright than blue, the music is marked by syncopation, counterpoint, improvisation and virtuosity. Danilo’s colleagues, who were old enough to be his grandfathers, bestowed a particularly special compliment upon him, saying that he was the reincarnation of Jacob do Bandolim, one of the most important figures in choro history.
About six years later, Danilo entered the most prestigious awards competition for Brazilian music, the Prêmio Visa de Musica Popular Brasileira. 514 artists entered the competition, and Danilo won. The prize included a purse of $80,000 and an all-expenses paid new album.
Danilo went on to record Perambulando. Reviews of the album could not have been stronger. “Can anyone imagine a mandolinist who is the perfect synthesis of Jacob do Bandolim’s sensitivity and technique and Luperce’s verve?” asked Brazilian journalist Luis Nassif. “Behold Danilo Brito, barely out of diapers and already one of the best mandolin players in history.” The release of Danilo’s third album Sem Restrições in 2008 brought continued critical acclaim. Jornal do Brasil described it as, “Pure and crystalline music to be listened to without reservation.” Danilo’s fourth album, 50 Anos de Música, is the product of his appreciation of a unique style of playing choro, specially played by Luizinho 7 Cordas, that Danilo felt compelled to document in a recording.
Among the many presenters that have invited Danilo to perform is the Mandolin Symposium in California led by Mike Marshall and David Grisman. The depth of Danilo’s first visit in 2007 has led to four returns including 2014. David Grisman puts his admiration simply, “The guy is a master.” He has also been invited to make his second appearance at Spoleto Festival USA.
For his duo, Danilo has selected the traditional choro accompaniment instrument, the 7-string guitar. The seventh, lowest string allows the playing of bass lines in choro counterpoint. Danilo chose Carlos Moura both for his skill and his commitment to rehearse weekly, making possible the high leve1 of performance that Danilo expects of himself.
As the press accounts, award recognition, and the appreciation of presenters and musicians make clear, Danilo Brito is an extraordinary musician and, in particular, an extraordinary choro musician. That he has accomplished so much and is yet to reach the age of 30 only amplifies the nature of his talent and achievement. At the heart of it is the emotive power of his music, as esteemed Brazilian journalist Boris Casoy explained.
“Danilo Brito uses the mandolin strings as an extension of his soul. This can be seen by how naturally he plays with complete command of the instrument, always showing a unique intimacy with the music. His major accomplishment is to touch the souls of his audience and to make them ‘listen’ to the music. Any description or compliment about his virtuosity would be just too pale. That’s why I persistently invite everybody to dive into his art. He makes the strings play sounds from the heart.”
DATE: Thursday, June 5, 2014
VENUE: Kuumbwa Jazz Center
ADDRESS: 320 Cedar St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
TIME: 7:00 PM
PRICE: $20/Adv $25/Door
TICKETS: Logos Books & Records, 1117 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz (831) 427-5100 and online at: http://kuumbwajazz.org
MORE INFO: http://kuumbwajazz.org or 831-427-2227
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