Three of Brazil’s most fascinating, multi-talented and innovative musicians are coming our way for a rare concert at Cedar Cultural Center Thursday, December 11, co-presented by the Walker. It’s a concert that, as unlikely as it sounds, will appeal to fans of classic Brazilian music, electronica, indie rock, global pop and combinations of all four, it promises to be one of the season’s musical highlights in the Twin Cities and I don’t want you to miss it.
In 2000, Moreno Veloso (son of pioneering Brazilian composer/singer Caetano Veloso, one of the creators of Tropicália movement in the 60s) released his own first recording in Brazil called Music Typewriter. Word started to spread to the States about this fantastic release and a few years later it was released it in the U.S. to great acclaim (“…An original, deeply affecting sound….taking cues from genre masters while delicately incorporating modern touches…” JazzTimes; “If Brazil continues to produce albums as delicate and emotionally complex as Music Typewriter, that country’s music will occupy as honored a place in the 21st century as it did in the 20th.” – Time Magazine).
I am generally suspicious when it comes the talents of children of famous musicians, but once I heard Music Typewriter all reservations melted away. Moreno clearly had his own sound and vision. In early 2002, Moreno + 2 were organizing their first U.S. tour and I jumped at the chance for the Walker to present them. The resulting concert which filled the old Walker Auditorium on March 2, 2003 was as beguiling and charming as it was inventive and unpredictable. Here was a band who’s unique mix of samba, bossa nova and other regional Brazilian styles fused effortlessly with infectious electronic beats, loops, and experimental effects, creating what critics saw as “the sound of New Brazil” — idiosyncratic yet seductive, Brazilian music that somehow seemed to simultaneously embrace past, present, and future. Here’s what the Chicago Sun Times wrote about that first tour:
In a music world saturated with manufactured (music) events, it’s easy to become jaded. But then along comes a band like Moreno Veloso + 2 to prove why music still matters. The Brazilian trio….delivered the kind of show that had a history-in- the-making impact. In years hence, after Veloso and company have gone on to join the ranks of world-music superstars, the lucky crowd can claim “we saw them first” bragging rights.
Music Typewriter launched what is today a Brazilian superstar trio, which included not just Veloso, but also Domenico Lancellotti and Alexandre Kassin. All three are prominent, highly respected composers, producers, multi-instrumentalists and members of multiple bands. They so enjoyed working together on Music Typewriter, the trio decided to release a trilogy of records, one under each of their names. Domenico +2’s Sincerely Hot from 2004 was more experimental and electronic, but an equally fascinating record released on David Byrne’s intrepid Luaka Bop label (“Innately creative and defiantly adventurous, they are concerned only with hurling their talents together and stamping new identities onto Brazilian music.” —Global Rhythm Magazine).
The Walker was all set to present the trio again on its next tour in March 2006 but a failed airline sponsorship and other challenges that seem to bedevil Brazilian artists getting to the States forced a rare cancellation for the Walker. That didn’t however, lessen my total admiration of what these three artists were now regularly cooking up together. For instance, late last year, the +2’s third release came out – this one called Futurisimo under the name Kassin + 2. It was met with acclaim that might have even outstripped the first two: “an effervescent collage of samba, airy folk, and sheer mysticism” SPIN.
Let one of Brazil’s most exciting new groups warm up your December by heading down to the Cedar on Thursday, December 11 for what promises to be an unforgettable night of music.
Look forward to seeing you at Veloso, Domenico and Kassin at the Cedar on December 11th.