Ricardo Parreira
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Ricardo Parreira


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“Nas veias de uma guitarra” - Tributo a Fernando Alvim



Ricardo Parreira (21 years old / Portuguese Guitar) began his studies in Portuguese Guitar with 7 years old by his father’s hand, one of the most esteemed guitar players on Fado’s national panorama, António Parreira. By the age of 13 he accompanied for the first time the fado singer Argentina Santos and immediately after was invited to take part in the Festival “Um Porto de Fado”, in the extent of the event “Oporto 2001, Capital of Culture”. Along theses years, his musical education, since very young and even before his entrance in the Conservatoire, was about great composers for Portuguese Guitar, from Carlos and Artur Paredes (Coimbra Guitar) to Armandinho, José Nunes, Francisco Carvalhinho e Jaime Santos (Lisbon Guitar). At the same time, he played for some of the most important Fado singers of nowadays: Camané, Mísia, Mafalda Arnauth, Argentina Santos, among others.
It was in 2005 that the story of this duo began. On the 12th August the renowned fado singer Camané was to give a show at the House of Music in Oporto, and it was decided to have a session of guitars to open the show. With only 18 years old, Parreira stepped up onto the stage, with his guitar in hand, to play alongside with Alvim, master of the Portuguese viola players, and the only one, in a lifetime, who managed to accompany, complementing it, the genius of Carlos Paredes. It was a memorable night. After this fire-proof, Parreira played also for Camané. It was the start of a relationship that this record reveals in its full maturity, and which marked the young guitar player.
Fernando Alvim didn’t take long to invite Parreira over to his house for rehearsals. The admiration between both of them grew to a point where the guitarist felt the necessity of paying homage to the master in a tribute record. The challenge for this first record of Ricardo was to pay tribute to Fernando Alvim through a selection of themes by composers with whom the guitarist had played, together with other pieces of his own choice. Challenge taken, the chosen repertoire was: José Nunes, Francisco Carvalhinho (Lisbon’s Guitar), Arthur Paredes and, of course, Carlos Paredes, (Coimbra’s Guitar), Ricardo’s favorite Portuguese guitar composer and the man whom Fernando Alvim had helped to shine for 25 years. To these compulsory historic themes of the Portuguese Guitar were added a composition by Armandinho, a guitar composer with whom Alvim had never played, in spite of his great admiration for him, and a theme, "Encantamento" (Enchantement), by Alvim himself, closing the record. And so an original work in the world of the Fado was born, only possible because the 72 years old master had recognized enough quality in the "lad" of 20.
"I forced myself to study things that I had already forgotten", says Fernando Alvim with the humility that characterizes his wisdom. The rehearsals for the tribute went on for two months. Every Wednesday from September to October 2006, Ricardo would leave Carnaxide to quietly sit down in Fernando Alvim’s room at the old family house in Lisbon, by the entrance of Rua do Século. These were long afternoons, where each mistake made by Ricardo was gently corrected by Alvim, in a meeting of generations, enriching for both musicians, between quarrels on rhythms and interpretations.
"This is clearly a “Ricardian record", says Fernando Alvim. “I, myself, as an accompanist, followed the soloist, which was always my mission," he continues, with his eyes shining for the pleasant surprise Ricardo provided him. "I had never thought of playing Carlos Paredes again nether any of these other composers if it wasn’t with him." The eyes still shining, Fernando seems to return back to his own 26 years old when he first met Paredes. "I will never forget the initial shock when I heard him play guitar and I had to accompany him. It seemed that I would not make it. He played with great vigor and I had to follow him. But when I understood his way of playing and interiorized his style, we went out as a pair into the world."
Ricardo is conscious of the greatness of this historic duo. He knows that is impossible to play the same way as Paredes. "There is neither strength nor vigor able to imitate him." Ricardo fully respects the composition and the construction of Carlos Paredes’ themes, but he gives them is own and unique interpretation. And he has no doubt that he can do it. “If Fernando Alvim says that I can play Paredes, it is because I really can." And he who says Paredes says the mythical Armandinho, the charismatic José Nunes, or the so missed Francisco Carvalhinho...
The result, recorded in four days, has the smell of freedom, the taste of joy and the freshness of genius that makes senses tremble. It is a kind of nectar smoother than honey and stronger than the god’s one. It will last in eternity like all the music with the gift of timelessness.
Fernando Alvim (72 years old / Classical Guitar) is the musician who accompanied Carlos Paredes along his entire n