fernanda cunha
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fernanda cunha


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The best kept secret in music


"Cunha trades psychology for beautiful Brazilian rhythms"

It's all in the grooves.
Brazilian music and jazz have been close cousins ever since Stan Getz, Joao and Astrud Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim started a craze with that hit tune The Girl from Ipanema in the early 1960's. A lot of it has to do with polyrhythms of Brazilian music. Those beautiful, gentle bossa nova and samba grooves just seem to inspire jazzy phrasing and solo improvisations.

You can find out yourself Friday night at 9 when Fernanda Cunha visits Edmonton to sing at Yardbird Suite , fronting a quartet with her pianist Ricardo Rito and two of Edmonton's finest, bassist Mike Lent and drummer Sandro Dominelli. ( Tickets are $ 16 for EJS members, $20 for guests, in advance from ticket master or at the door)

Cunha ( pronounced Cune-ya) is based in Rio de Janeiro, where she grew up surrounded by music in various forms, thanks to her musical family. Her mother, also a singer, stuck with Brazilian music but her father was a jazz lover, so she came to love such vocalists as Sarah Vaughan alongside the Brazilian stars Ivan Lins, Jobim and the Gilbertos.

She sang as a little girl,but grew up to get a University degree in psychology and worked in the field for several years before music beckoned again. Cunha gave her first public performance in Rio in 1997 and says "after that, I could not stop", so she gave up psychology. By 2000 she was ready to take her music to the United States. She stayed for a couple of years, mainly in Cleveland, working solo and as a part of Grupo Brasil, and in 2002 she recorded her debut album there title O tempo e o lugar.

Despite any language barrier, Cunha feels the qualities of Brazilian music have much to offer to the rest of the world. "It's the warmth of the music", she explains, "and the rhythms". The Brazilian rhythms need a good drummer to bring those across".

Arguably, those soft syllables of Portuguese rank among the most romantic languages you could ever choose to sing with.

After her return to Brazil, Cunha was able to follow up on a long held dream: to record the music of two favourite Brazilian singer-songwriters, her aunt Sueli Costa and Johnny Alf. Alf, now 75, is particularly famous for writing one of the first Bossa nova tunes back in the mid-'s50s.The result is a superb 2004 release, Dois coraçoes ( or two hearts) which includes guest vocal appearances from both Alf and Costa alongside the excellent backing band.

"I decided to put their songs together on this album when I realized there were similarities in their music. They both wrote songs that are sophisticated and accessible or popular sounding".

Cunha says she will be performing a mix of tunes from her two albums along with songs from various classic Brazilian composers like Jobim and Lins.

- Roger Levesque - Edmonton Journal

"Brazil's Fernanda Cunha to heat the 'Suite FERNANDA CUNHA"

Fri, Nov 11, The Yardbird Suite (102 St & 86 Ave), Info: 432-0428 The perfect antidote to the first snow of winter? Listening to Brazilian vocalist Fernanda Cunha sing in Portuguese with the dreamy accompaniment of soft guitars, piano, and strings; Cunha makes her Canadian debut this weekend with shows in Edmonton (Friday) and Calgary.

"I've always loved music; my grandmother was a pianist, and I can recall singing with her when I was just five or six," Cunha says over the line from Rio. "My aunt, Sueli Costa, is an important composer in Brazil, and my father, while not a musician, always played music by people like Milton Nasciemento and Dianne Reeves. I think I was born loving music. I love Brazilian singers and musicians, but think that Dianne Reeves is one of the biggest influences on my singing. I also knew that music was a hard way to make a living, and I came to it later in life."

After studying psychology and making a living in that field for a few years, she tried her hand at singing in 1997 and was hooked. "Once I sang professionally, I knew I had to follow that career. I gave up psychology and pursued music."

Cunha worked the clubs around Brazil for a few years before she made her way to the United States, spending most of her time in Cleveland. There she became part of Grupo Brazil, performing at local clubs and regional festivals. "I spent two years in Cleveland and recorded my first album, O Tempo e o Lugar, there." It was the young singer's first outing as a recording artist, but she had no trouble acting as her own producer. "It was a live recording done with the musicians I had worked with in Cleveland."

The title of Cunha's most recent recording, Dois Coricoes, or "Two Hearts," makes reference to the fact that the songs are written by two of her favourite composers, Johnny Alf and her aunt, Sueli Costa. "They are both important composers here in Brazil and some of the first to write music that is both very sophisticated and popular."

For her shows in Alberta, Cunha brings accompanist Ricardo Rito, a young pianist from Brazil; Edmontonians Mike Lent, bass, and Sandro Dominelli, drums, complete the quartet.


"Secret Garden Snippet - Fernanda Cunha"

Readers of Denis Poole’s Secret Garden, will know it’s the place to go for a British perspective on all that’s good, and not so good, in the world of smooth jazz and classic soul. In order to bring you more of the news more of the time this latest Secret Garden Snippet brings another current sound bite from the adult contemporary scene. This time we have news of a new release from Brazilian vocalist Fernanda Cunha (www.fernandacunha.com.br).

A tribute album to the compositions of Sueli Costa and Johnny Alf, Dois Coracoes (‘Two Hearts’) is a late night moody collection for lovers that sees Cunha weave her vocal magic. She is right up there as a worthy contemporary of Brazilian music notables Antonio Carlos Jobim and Astrud Gilberto and if we needed further proof, post Gilberto, that music is an international language then this is the confirmation that we seek. It’s the sounds of the words, not their meaning in Portuguese, that holds the listener and makes this a very atmospheric piece of work.

This is the second album for Fernanda Cunha, the niece of Sueli Costa and daughter of singer Telma Costa. Her first release, O Tempo E O Lugar, was recorded June 2002 in Cleveland Ohio. She is now based in Rio De Janerio where she is busy performing with her quartet and promoting the album. Catch her in Belo Horizonte on November 12 and in Rio on November 19. Come January 2005 she can be found at Mistura Fina in Rio (www.misturafina.com.br), and in March 2005 she goes on the road for her first tour in Canada. See her at the Yardbird Suite in Edmonton on the 4th (www.yardbirdsuite.com).

- Smooth Vibes by Denis Poole


2002 - O tempo e o lugar
2004- Dois coracoes
2007- Zíngaro


Feeling a bit camera shy


Fernanda Cunha is a Brazilian singer from Rio de Janeiro.

She began performing as a singer in 1997 at various clubs in Brazil.

In June, 2002, she recorded her first album "O tempo e o lugar" in Cleveland with her american friens: Kip Reed (bass) , Matt Perko(drums) and the Brazilian pianist Marcio Hallack.

In 2004, she realized a long-time dream when she recorded her second disc "Dois coracoes" (Two Hearts) featuring compositions by two of the most important Brazilian composers, Johnny Alf and her aunt Sueli Costa, with arrangements by Cristovao Bastos and Joao Carlos Coutinho.

Fernanda has made her first appearance in Canada last november 2005 with Brazilian pianist Ricardo Rito and locals musicians Mike Lent ( Bass) and Sandro Dominelli (drums) in Edmonton, and with Kodi Hutchinson (bass) and Tyler Hornby(drums) in Calgary. In Canada she performed at yardbirdsuite(Edmonton), Beatniq jazz club (Calgary) and a masterclass at Centenial School in Calgary. Fernanda was invited to a new tour in june/july 2007.

So, she went back to Canada in June/July 2007 to perform in some jazz festivals (Vancouver International Jazz festival , Edmonton Jazz festival, Beatniq-Calgary and The Art Station- BC) in duo with Brazilian pianist Ricardo Rito . The Canadian 2007 shows were a tribute to Antonio Carlos Jobim. Jobim would celebrate 80 years old in 2007, and Fernanda performed his beautiful music to Canadian audience
Also, She has just recorded a new project , a Cd performing songs by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Chico Buarque accompanied by guitar player Zé Carlos