“Innately creative and defiantly adventurous, they are concerned only with hurling their talents together and stamping new identities onto Brazilian music.” —Global Rhythm Magazine
Kassin + 2 is the new portrait of Rio’s rich musical, cultural, and ethnic diversity. The final installment in the + 2 trilogy—fellow band members Moreno Veloso (son of the great Caetano) and Domenico Lancellotti were the featured names for the first two rounds—this is the vanguard of a new generation of Brazilian musicians. Heirs to a family heritage of Tropicália and Samba and respected producers in their own right, the group combines a unique mix of traditional Brazilian songwriting with the quirky beats, loops, and noises of contemporary electronica to define the sound of New Brazil. The Walker Art Center and Cedar Cultural Center present Kassin + 2 on Thursday, December 11, at 8 pm at the Cedar Cultural Center, 416 Cedar Avenue South, in Minneapolis.
Domenico Lancellotti was born in 1972 and raised in an Italian-Brazilian family in Rio de Janeiro. The rhythms of samba are in his blood: his father is the well-known 1970s composer and singer Ivor Lancellotti. Domenico has collaborated with artists such as Quarteto Em Cy, Daniel Jobim, Caetano Veloso, Fernanda Abreu, and Adriana Calcanhotto. In the 1990s, around the time he first met and befriended his current compadres, he formed the experimental rock band Mulheres Que Dizem Sim (Women Who Say Yes). The gifted drummer is also a visual artist who has created the cover art for the trio’s releases.
“When we made Moreno Veloso + 2’s Music Typewriter, we focused on the singing. And first when I thought of making my record, I wanted it to be a bossa nova trio like Milton Banana, where the drummer always leads other musicians. My album became something different from this, but the
idea is still there and one can hear it on the album.”
Moreno Veloso, son of Brazilian music icon Caetano Veloso, began singing at the age of three, improving his natural skills while learning how to play classical guitar six years later. Veloso made his songwriting debut in 1982 with Um Canto de Afoxé para Bloco Do lle, which is featured on Caetano Veloso’s Cores, Nomes. Moreno Veloso became a Latin percussionist while still a teenager, touring with his father and Gilberto Gil before playing cello for Carlihnos Brown. Even when he began attending physics classes in the early 1990s, his interest in music was stronger. Around the same time, the young and promising artist built his own recording studio, mixing music for television shows and plays. After a live performance with Kassin and Lancelloti, playing Brazilian rhythms combined with electronic elements, they decided to make the experimental album Music Typewriter that was recorded over the mountains near Perryopolis and produced by Andrés Levin.
For the past few years, Kassin has been one of the most exciting names in Brazilian music. From his Monoaural Studio in Gavea he has produced records by such singers as Marisa Monte and Bebel Gilberto as well as from the bleeps of a Nintendo Gameboy. He has played bass for Caetano Veloso’s live shows and masterminded the Orchestra Imperial project, in which samba classics are given a modern twist by a loose and ever-expanding live band. And given his status as a leader of Brazil’s musical avant-garde, the biggest surprise of Kassin + 2’s Futurismo is its bossa-rooted accessibility. “I have been making strange and experimental music,” says Kassin. “This time I wanted to make an album that is clean, melodic, and calm. When I make an album, I want it to be able to sit happily inside my record collection. Futurismo is like a collection inside a collection. It represents my tastes and my world.” John McEntire (Tortoise) and Sean O’Hagan (High Llamas) also contributed to the album with additional production and vocals on the tracks Ya Ya Ya, Lakeline, and Back Bow.
Alongside Music Typewriter by Moreno + 2 (2001) and Sincerely Hot by Domenico + 2 (2004), Futurismo presents a body of work by a group that is as inspired by adventure as it is by the grace of Brazil’s musical traditions. Kassin was 17 when he met childhood friends Veloso and Lancellotti through Pedro Sa, a mutual friend and fellow musician. In 1999, after performing a concert together and bonding over a shared inspiration from the American/Brazilian experimental musician Arto Lindsay, the trio rented a house in Petropolis on the outskirts of Rio and set up a studio. The + 2 band came from those early sessions.
Tickets to Kasin +2 are $18 ($15 Walker members); $20 day of performance and are available at walkerart.org/tickets or by calling 612.375.7600.