The Brazilian Acoustic Ensemble
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The Brazilian Acoustic Ensemble

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EP 2009 The Brazilian Acoustic Ensemble



The “Brazilian Acoustic Ensemble” was formed in 2005 to play Brazilian instrumental music that was very infrequently heard here in the states on instruments not used in Jazz ensembles – originally accordion, nylon string guitar, cavaquinho and pandeiro. We have been performing at “Barbes” (prominent art music venue Brooklyn NY) since the beginning and have done shows for Bronx Public Library, Live on WKCR, Hospital Audiences Inc, MOMA, Bronfman Foundation, Prince of Morroco, Tea Lounge and the Delta Grill. The instrumentation changed to flute, 7 string guitar, pandeiro and mandolin/clarinet in 2008.
This ensemble is composed of Great musicians dedicated to their instruments and Brazilian music. Brazilian music connects with diverse populations and unique groups. It is music originating from a multi-racial society and is a combination of European and African music with some Islamic influence due to the origins of African slaves in Brazil and the Moorish influence in the Portuguese colonizers of Brazil.

We emphasize how this mixture of influences created beautiful and complex music and can give presentations if requested about the various styles and their origins. The fact that Brazil’s national identity is the mixture of races, the mix of various European immigrants and those brought as slaves of various African origins parallels the complexion of people in urban North America. The music while being warm colorful and exciting has a calming, healing effect because it speaks to us of the mixture of different people and is an affirmation of their possible peaceful coexistence. Brazilian music is Diaspora music par excellence.

Choro music in particular has composers of humble middle and lower middle class origins. This is not music fated for spectacle, composed by someone looking for a hit song. It is art music meant to enrich, enliven communities, urban localities. Audiences are fascinated to hear music created by a fireman, a steel worker, of the son of a man who had a house of “Macumba.” Nothing is more satisfying then when people connecting with polkas, waltzes, and partido alto samba (close to funk), recognize something of their own history within the subgenres of Choro music. The presence of acoustic instruments that are bit unusual: 7 string guitar; tear dropped shape mandolin; pandeiro, transport to another place the populations accustomed to the same old American songs, accustomed to the images of instrumentation from T.V. and other media. Most importantly the sound is so different than what might be expected to be heard, yet there happen to be many similar sonic elements in Brazilian Instrumental to jazz, classical, and folkloric musics. What is amazing is seeing how this music from Brazil connects with people living here (American Citizens and immigrants), seeing how audiences can feel their own lives in the sounds. It is fascinating how audiences can be brought to realize the many parallels that exist between Brazilian and American Urbanity through our performances.
Billy Newman - Since 1987 Billy has been traveling to Brazil spending months there to investigate the myriad forms of music. In 1995 he started performing principally Brazilian Instrumental music at many NY museums (Guggenheim, Brooklyn, MOMA etc…) as well as colleges, clubs and libraries. After 1998, Billy developed a serious passion for Choro music, studying and playing with musicians such as Rogerio Souza and Rodrigo Lessa in Rio de Janeiro. In August 2000 he performed at the Conservatorio Pernambucano in Recife, Pernambuco. In 2004 Billy taught in Brazil and performed in Rio de Janeiro and 2007 gave Jazz Worshops and performed in Florianopolis. Billy has been awarded 3 prestigious Composers Residencies at MacDowell Colony and Yaddo(2006,2007,2008). He has performed all over the New York Area with his groups the Brazilian Acoustic Ensemble and Brooklyn Brazil Bop. Billy is the author of a “Guitar Atlas-Brazil” published by Alfred Music.

Hadar Noiberg, - 1999 Hadar joined the Young Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra performing all over Israel and abroad. She studied in Tel-Aviv with Mr. Yossi Arnheim, principal flutist of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. 2000 Hadar joined the cuban ensemble "Sabor Cubano" playing throughout Israel for 3 Years in many festivals. 2002 She formed the "Sabres" group of Ladino and original music notably performing in the “Nessiah” festival in Italy. Hadar was flute and jazz ensembles instructor at the "Neve Sharet" conservatory (Tel-Aviv). Hadar’s arrangements have been used in the "Karmiel Festival of Folk Dance". She is currently a member of the Fajardo Charanga Orchestra. She has been a member of the “Brazilian Acoustic Ensemble” since May 2008 and before with “The Choro Ensemble”.

Dennis Lichtman is a multi-instrumentalist equally sought after on fiddle, mandolin, and clarinet. He attended the Hart School of Music majoring in classical clarinet. Since then, Dennis settled