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New Year’s Eve (“Reveillon”) Rio de Janeiro

December 30, 2009 Comments Off on New Year’s Eve (“Reveillon”) Rio de Janeiro News

New Year’s Eve is one of Rio de Janeiro’s most important celebrations, second only to Carnival in popularity. It attracts people from all over the world, and Brazilians from all states.

The festivities are concentrated in Copacabana, with 2 million people every year. There are four stages along the beach with live music shows starting at 8 p.m. featuring everything from traditional Carnival songs to rock and dance.

The fireworks festival starts at midnight, with fireworks stations located in boats anchored offshort from the beach. It lasts about 15-20 minutes, and two highlights are the fireworks cascades at Forte de Copacabana and at Le Meridien Hotel.

It is traditional to wear white, and many people bring flowers to throw them in the ocean before midnight as an offering to Yemanja, the deity of the seas. If you bring a bottle of champagne and shake it so it sprays around when you open it, it’s considered good luck. You may also be blessed by a Candomble priestess, and enjoy the traditional African dances and costumes.

Reveillon is a party where there are no class distinctions — you’ll run into socialites, working class people, transvestites, children, seniors, couples, teenagers — it’s a time for everyone to mingle in peace to welcome the new year.

Here’s a video to give you a taste of Reveillon in Rio.  Feliz Ano Novo!

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Pedro Giraudo’s composition “El Bajonazo” wins “2009 Latin Jazz Composition Of The Year”

December 28, 2009 Comments Off on Pedro Giraudo’s composition “El Bajonazo” wins “2009 Latin Jazz Composition Of The Year” News

“In the 2009 Latin Jazz Composition Of The Year, “El Bajonazo,” from El Viaje by The Pedro Giraudo Jazz Orchestra, composer Giraudo digs deeply into the format. He utilizes a lot of musical ideas wisely throughout the song, but from the beginning, Giraudo applies textural elements with much success. A rapid stream of brash attacks sends the band charging into a ferocious statement, only to shrink into a trio setting. Giraudo takes center stage here, bowing his bass through the melody with passionate abandon as well as precise intonation and a gorgeous tone. Harmonized hits once again build the group momentum only to find the band shrinking again behind saxophone soloist Alejandro Aviles. Giraudo writes with sensitivity towards dynamics, bringing the group back into the mix in layers, until the full band once again screams through the speakers. Syncopation reigns supreme as the rhythm section places bold accents against a flowing brass melody. As the rhythm section gathers a rapid momentum, the wind players fall into a chaotic free improvisation before Giraudo pushes them back into tense lines that rise into a dramatic climax. Giraudio smartly manipulates a number of musical elements to create emotional impact and riveting excitement through the piece, showing the potential of the modern big band in the hands of a master composer.” (From The Latin Jazz Corner’s Best Latin Jazz of 2009 Awards). More on Pedro Giraudo Jazz Orchestra. . .

Pedro Giraudo “El Viaje” nominated as Album Of The Year

December 14, 2009 Comments Off on Pedro Giraudo “El Viaje” nominated as Album Of The Year News

The Latin Jazz Corner » Blog Archive » Latin Jazz This Week

By chip

There has been an outpouring of support for Pedro Giraudo album El Viaje this week, which resulted in the addition of an Album Of The Year nod as well as instrumental nominations for trumpet player Jonathan Powell, trombonist Ryan Keberle, … The Latin Jazz Corner –

Carnaval Brasileiro in Austin revs up for Feb. 20, 2009

December 11, 2009 2 Comments » News

CarnavalPhoto240wideAustin’s annual “Carnaval Brasileiro,” is gearing up for its 33rd year as the largest indoor Brazilian Mardi Gras celebration anywhere on the globe, to take place this year on February 20, 2010 at Austin’s Palmer Events Center. The irresistible pulse of samba drums, an endless parade of exotic costumes, and the uninhibited euphoria of over 6,000 attendees have established this Brazilian style festival as one of the most eagerly anticipated blowouts on the area’s social calendar.

Flown in from New York. “Beleza Brazil”  is making their seventh appearance. The band has  performed at countless carnavals up and down the East Coast and is regularly voted the “Best Brazilian Band in the USA” by the Brazilian International Press Association. Veterans of Rio’s famous carnaval parades, these ten Brazilian-born musicians have played individually with everyone from Baden Powell and Marvin Gaye to Sun Ra and David Byrne, but in Austin, they present an authentic mix of traditional rhythms: samba, frevo, marchinha, bloco-afro and more via their battery of pounding, sensual drums.

Austin’s local Rio-style Samba School, the Acadêmicos da Opera, with 35 drummers and 15 dancers, all in elaborate opera-themed costumes, will be making their sixth Carnaval presentation. Their up-close and personal performances—in the middle of the dance floor—electrify enthusiastic Carnaval throngs with an authentic taste of the real deal from Rio.

Carnaval Brasileiro began in the early 1970s to offer UT’s Brazilian students a nostalgic dose of their homeland’s legendary festivities, and is now a local institution attracting partygoers from all over the United States. Flamboyant, often scanty costumes, throbbing Brazilian samba, and the uninhibited, spirited atmosphere have earned this Carnaval its reputation as the premier such festivity in the USA.

A portion of the proceeds from Carnaval will benefit the Austin Sunshine Camps, a non-profit organization which provides not only free summer camps for Austin at-risk kids, but year-round mentoring and leadership programs.

For more information about Austin Carnaval: 512-452-6832, or log onto

For more information about “Beleza Brazil” carnaval band, click here.

Pedro Giraudo Jazz Orchestra selected by David R. Adler in his top picks

December 8, 2009 Comments Off on Pedro Giraudo Jazz Orchestra selected by David R. Adler in his top picks News

Pedro Giraudo Jazz Orchestra’s latest release, “El Viaje,” has been selected as one of “Top 25 of 2009, plus” in the large ensemble category, by prominent music critic David R. Adler. More. . .

Terrific review of Sofia Tosello’s new CD “Alma y Luna” in Jazz Inside NY Magazine, December 2009 issue

December 3, 2009 Comments Off on Terrific review of Sofia Tosello’s new CD “Alma y Luna” in Jazz Inside NY Magazine, December 2009 issue News

Bob Gish writes about Sofia Tosello’s new CD, “Alma y Luna,”  in the December 2009 issue of Jazz Inside NY:

“Here’s a Flamenco, gypsy, Argentine, Cuban, jazz, zamba, tango inspired recording with vocals in Spanish and thematically related to soul and moon — all the tracks full of Spanish staples of amour and moon-dance fervor, flavored by violin, acordeon, bombo leguero, timbales, congas, and the ubiquitous but ever essential guitar.

Sofia Tosello is a perfect match to strike up this jazzy, world music offering with a voice filled with exotic allure and a set of inspired songs of life, love, and longing. All of them, she attests are part of her autobiography, part of her growth as an artist and all collected and set loose here for others to hear and appreciate. Through the music we come to know Sofia Tosello as a vocalist containing multitudes of influences and feelings making for a deep pride in her culture.”

Rabo de Lagartixa to release new CD

November 23, 2009 Comments Off on Rabo de Lagartixa to release new CD News

The great choro novo group from Rio de Janeiro, Rabo de Lagartixa, will release their new CD, “O Papagaio do Moleque — a música de Villa-Lobos” (Biscoito Fino) on December 4 and 5 in the Sala Baden Powell.

For a taste of Villa-Lobos as interpreted by Rabo de Lagartixa, click here.

What is an “orquestra típica”?

November 19, 2009 Comments Off on What is an “orquestra típica”? News

Orquestra típica, or simply a típica, is a Latin-American term for a band which plays popular music.

In Argentina, a típica is a tango orchestra that comprises a string section (with violins, viola, and cello), a bandoneón section (with 3 or more bandoneons), and a rhythm section (with piano, and double bass).

There was a time when large tango orchestras could be found in every venue of Buenos Aires. The powerful, unmistakable sound of the orquesta típica was the force that propelled tango through its golden age and provided its iconic sound. Unfortunately, as social, political, and economic forces fragmented and transformed the tango culture of Argentina, the grand orchestras of the ’40s and ’50s gradually gave way to quartets, trios, and duos — when not replaced by recorded music altogether.

But even during periods of decline the music, dance, and culture were sustained and cultivated in Argentina and in communities all over the world, by dedicated “tangueros” who share a passion for this great tradition. Thanks to their efforts, in recent decades tango has awakened from dormancy and slowly regained the vitality and innovation of its earlier days.

Today we can say that tango is alive, but is still missing the omnipresence of the great voice to proclaim “Soy el Tango”— the voice of the tango orchestra.

In the United States, Hector Del Curto’s “Eternal Tango Orchestra” is a rare find among tango ensembles. Hector himself is a bandoneonist who performed in the orquestra of the great Osvaldo Pugliese before coming to live in New York.

Osvaldo Pugliese Orquestra:

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Hector Del Curto’s “Eternal Tango Orchestra”:

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Historic Sounds of Newport are now online

November 18, 2009 Comments Off on Historic Sounds of Newport are now online News

The New York Times reports on this new treasure trove of historic jazz. . .

ARTS / MUSIC | November 11, 2009
Historic Sounds of Newport, Newly Online
The recorded past of the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals has suddenly been thrown open, thanks to the online archive Wolfgang’s Vault.  [more]

Martinho . . . and Mart’nália

November 17, 2009 Comments Off on Martinho . . . and Mart’nália News

Martinho da Vila won the 2009 Latin Grammy for Best Samba/Pagode album with “O Pequeno Burguês.” You can find a complete list of winners here.

Martinho da Vila’s daughter is Mart’nália.  More about how she carries the great samba tradition into the next generation. . .  here!

And New York has its own award-winning samba/pagode group, Grupo Saveiro!