Orquestra Contemporânea de Olinda
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Orquestra Contemporânea de Olinda

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By BEN RATLIFF

Published: April 2, 2010

It’s been a while since a band from Pernambuco, the state in the northeastern promontory of Brazil, made a deep impression in the United States. People will tell you about the singer Chico Science, who died in 1997, and his fantastic band, Nação Zumbi. They’re still missed. Their aggressive, guitar-and-drum-centric Brazilian rock burst with sound and imagery about the complexity of Brazilian cultural identity, about limited resources and technological curiosity. It also sounded good on a beach.

But those old heads from the ’90s generally only know about it because Chico Science’s records, released worldwide by Sony Latin, made their way into our market, and because the band toured our major cities. The Pernambuco scene, once incredibly promising, has since grown murkier for North Americans. Brazilian small-release CDs are hard to come by, and it’s rarer now to see a Pernambucan band make a northern invasion.

A new and encouraging sign, though, comes from Orquestra Contemporânea de Olinda, which played its first American gig on Thursday at Lincoln Center’s Rubinstein Atrium. It’s a contemporary rock band collided with a traditional brass band, with drum rhythms leavening the mixture. It’s joyous and unpretentious and it gets over like crazy.

Olinda, just outside of Recife, has busy local artisans and an intense, small-scale carnival tradition; it’s obsessed with folklore as living tradition. The ten-piece Orquestra furthers that relationship between very old and very new. The guitarist Juliano Holanda, with his fuzzed-out Fender Telecaster, and the singer and percussionist Tiné, with his notched stick and scraper, were both doing the same thing: scratching out percussive sounds. Likewise the tubaist Alex Santana and the electric bassist Hugo Gila, bumping out the low end. Likewise the conga and military-drum percussionist Gilú and the trap-set drummer Rapha B, making the music swing, slow and fast.

On Thursday the Orquestra played its own local sounds and rhythms, particularly frevo — frenetic brass-band music — as well as maracatu, the stately Afro-Brazilian beat. It also played “O Pato” (“The Duck”) — made famous 50 years ago by the bossa nova singer João Gilberto — which was counterintuitively cool: a huge version, booming with horn punches, of a quiet, dryly funny song. And it got into Jamaican rhythm, including a ska version of the James Bond theme, borrowed from the Skatalites.

Rubinstein Atrium isn’t very friendly to the sound of the drum. It’s long and narrow, with very high ceilings. But the band figured out a few good ways to use the room. At one point, Maciel Salú — the deeper-voiced and more traditional of the band’s two singers — belted out an aboio, a calling-song of cattle herders, with Tiné adding light harmony; it sounded passed down through centuries, and filled up the space. And at the end, in an all-out frevo, the band marched off the stage, through the crowd and out to Broadway, where an overflow crowd had stood watching through the open doors for an hour and a half. Olinda has a few things in common with New Orleans, where this band heads next week. Something tells me they’ll do well there.

- New York Times


t’s a lively time for fans of Brazilian music in the area. Last month Gilberto Gil came to town, Caetano Veloso is performing at Lisner on April 10, and tonight Orquestra Contemporânea de Olinda is making its D.C. debut with a free show at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. This 10-piece group is lesser known than Gil and Veloso, both legends in their country. Hailing from Brazil’s northeastern Pernambuco region, near the coastal city of Recife, Orquestra Contemporânea de Olinda released one album in 2008 on the Brazilian label Som Livre—and it’s not easy to find in the U.S.

To judge, however, by the group’s MySpace page, YouTube videos, and an enthusiastic review of their New York City debut earlier this month, one can get a picture of what the combo will offer tonight. This is not quiet, pretty bossa nova. Featuring two vocalists, a horn section, two percussionists, guitar, bass, and a trap drummer, Orquestra Contemporânea blends upbeat Northeast Brazilian frevo brass-band bleats and bursts; rock, ska, and maracatu rhythms; and sing-songy, carnivalesque melodies. There are also traces of jazz, funk, and afrobeat. The vocalists sing in counterpoint and offer backing harmonies for each other. Some songs feature frantic, speedy percussion; others move at a more traditional, loping, Brazilian pace, or a skittering Jamaican one. I’m not sure what their Portuguese lyrics mean, but the music feels exuberant.

Orquestra Contemporânea de Olinda performs for free from 6 to 7 p.m. Monday night at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, 2700 F. St. NW (202) 467-4600 (The show will also be streamed live and archived at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage website ) - Washington City Paper


ORQUESTRA CONTEMPORANEA DE OLINDA In the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco, indigenous musical traditions have evolved in concert with popular styles, a state of affairs that's produced an impressive crop of vigorous hybrids. This spectacular Pernambucan band embodies this process at its most sublime, opening itself up to a dizzying number of influences and combining them organically. The vibrant sound of Orquestra Contemporanea de Olinda incorporates the brass-band carnaval music called frevo, regional rhythms like ciranda and maracatu—the latter a key element in the manguebeat sound pioneered by Chico Science in Recife two decades ago—and even traces of samba, rock, and dub. The result is an aesthetic that's neither folkloric nor self-consciously postmodern; the richness of the band's musical environment makes both revivalism and premeditated pastiche unnecessary. Resourceful guitarist Juliano Holanda gives the songs extra heft and drive with his propulsive licks and concise, lyrical interjections. The group's superb lead singers, Maciel Salu and Tiné, each make records on their own with more of a purist's approach to traditional Pernambucan music, and this bent is sometimes audible in the Orquestra's songs: when Salu scrapes at a fiddle-like rabeca on "Balcao da Venda" he doesn't try to approximate any modern style, so that his primitive playing creates a delicious tension with the sophisticated horn arrangements, loping electric bass, and shuffling funk polyrhythms. For its first Chicago concert the band will consist of ten musicians (as opposed to the 12 on its self-titled debut album, released in 2008 by Som Livre), including a four-strong horn section. There hasn't been a show I've been more excited about this year. 9 PM, Rumba, 351 W. Hubbard, 312-222-1226, $10. —Peter Margasak - Chicago Header


Orquestra Contemporânea de Olinda

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David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center

Broadway (between 62nd and 63rd Sts)
Upper West Side | Map

Subway: 1 to 66th St–Lincoln Center | Directions

http://www.lincolncenter.org/atrium
Prices

Tickets: Free
Description
A red-hot band from Brazil steered by renowned percussionist Gilú, the Latin Grammy-nominated Orquestra Contemporânea de Olinda makes its U.S. debut in this free Lincoln Center presentation.
When
Apr 1 8:30pm

Read more: http://newyork.timeout.com/events/reggae-world-latin/333201/4412350/orquestra-contemporanea-de-olinda#ixzz0l6WHkFkS
- Time Out New York


Discography

One album rleased: Orquestra Contemporânea de Olinda

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Bio

Featured on national music scene as the group which has most traveled throughout Brazil last year (about 80 concerts in 2008) and which is notably increasing its ever-growing audience, Orquestra Contemporânea de Olinda, already owns a remarkable career in the history of music in Pernambuco.

• Latin Grammy 2009 Nominee in the 'Best Tropical Brazilian Roots Album´ category;
• Prêmio da Música Brasileira 2009 Finalist in the ´Regional´ category;
• Recommended by New York Times´ music critics;
• More than 5 thousand copies sold in less than a year;
• Acknowledged by O Globo newspaper as the Best Concert in 2008.
Orquestra Contemporânea de Olinda is the symbol of strength and inventiveness of the music of Pernambuco that Brazil and the world have learned to admire.

Conceived by Gilú (percussionist), Orquestra is the meeting of some of the Best musicians of Pernambuco who have worldwide known works – and were not satisfied with the traditional bass-drums-guitar band formation – with experienced instrumentalists of the Frevo´s orchestra of more than 50 years of existence.

Gilú, Hugo Gila, Tiné, Maciel Salú, Rapha B. and Juliano Holanda constitute the first half of the band, which accounts for its creative basis. They come in tune with the experience of their previous works in bands like Bonsucesso Samba Clube, Academia da Berlinda, Variant, DJ Dolores e Orchestra Santa Massa, Terno do Terreiro and many other projects.

The other half comes from Grêmio Musical Henrique Dias, led by Maestro Ivan do Espírito Santo (alto sax, tenor sax, baritone sax and flute). The other members of Orquestra – Daniel Marinho (trumpet), Ibraim Genuíno (trombone) and Alex Santana (bass horn) – are musicians who learned their craft in this musical society founded in 1954, which is the first nonprofit musical school of Cidade Alta de Olinda (Pernambuco) and holds until today educational and cultural programs in favour of the community development.

Thereafter, it was a matter of months for the “big band” of Olinda become known to the audience and recommended by critics worldwide. Amid concerts throughout Brazil the band has prepared its first album´s repertoire, released in 2008 and distributed by Som Livre (Orquestra Contemporânea de Olinda - 2008, Som Livre).

Among latin grooves, afro beats and rhythms of Pernambuco, the Orquestra Contemporânea de Olinda has built its own well-shaped and concise identity. This merit is shared by a cast of ten musicians with different backgrounds and one same aim: the intention of making innovative music, in all senses, from the avant-garde reinvention of classics to the smoothness of excellent melodic lines. A new sound, shaped by well “embedded” arrangements of its brass band.

GILÚ
Creator of the Orquestra, this percussionist of Olinda communicates his well-defined and unique identity through his original work on stages of Brazil and abroad. When was still in the beginning of the career he had already played with: Naná Vasconcelos, Erasto Vasconcelos, Mundo Livre, Otto, Silvério Pessoa, and others. Has been featuring on the CD recordings of Chão e Chinelo, Bonsucesso Samba Clube and Renata Rosa, with whom he traveled through Europe. In Europe, participated in pianist Marcelo Bratk´s (London Symphony Orchestra´s soloist) project Trilogia do Carnaval. He was founding member of the groups A Roda (among Gabriel Melo and Yuri Habib) and Academia da Berlinda.

TINÉ
The singer, composer and songwriter Tiné was born in Arcoverde, city of Cordel do Fogo Encantado and also of the traditional group Samba de Coco Raízes de Arcoverde, two solid influences undoubtedly present in his work. In Recife he is known for his participation in the group Academia da Berlinda. He featured on Maciel Salú´s project Terno do Terreiro. Moreover, in 2004 Tiné released his solo album Segura o Cordão, in which he shows his own and also his partners´ compositions, with arrangements and music production by the violeiro (guitar player) Caçapa. One of its tracks, the song Cobrinha, was included in the compilation What's Happening in Pernambuco, released in the United States by David Byrne's label Luaka Bop. Some songs are available on www.myspace.com/seguraocordao.

MACIEL SALÚ
The rabequeiro (rabeca player), singer and composer Maciel Salú has a privileged poetic and musical heritage: he had grown up in contact with masters of the traditional culture. His childhood was enriched by rhythms such as Maracatu Rural, Cavalo Marinho and Ciranda, all manifestations of popular/traditional culture, fomented in his family by his grandfather João Salu and his father Mestre Salustiano. Ten years ago, has performed with the group Chão e Chinelo in national and international festivals such as in Nantes, France. Subsequently, became a member of Orchestra Santa Massa, led by DJ Dolores; they have been acclaimed at Free Jazz, Abril Pro Rock, New York´s Lincoln Center festivals and also in the European Tour in over