Making music in the moment.
Playing was always at the heart of making music. Writing has been a way to organize, to communicate the structure and the parts to other musicians, but in most situations I would need to play a part and be there in body and soul. I learned most of the music I know through playing. I started in my hometown Brasília with the band Tonton Macoute, where I would program drums and keyboards, I would play some percussion sing. That was a very experimental environment and it really shaped the kind of musician I am.
After the band broke-up I started playing more guitar and keyboards, I had to become more independent and then I got into this acoustic period, it was just the classic guitar, with that bossa sound, and the piano. I even learned how to tune my piano, which proved very useful for a while, it really helped to pay the bills in Rio through some slow times.
Then I got to play the Fender guitar with some bands, Tatanka Dandara, Uisque Disque and Infinito Ltda. I also learned a lot playing along the great Rubão Sabino.
I also got deeper into playing percussion and experimented a lot with recycled metal parts, my truck spring chops were at their best. I was part of Musik Fabrik, with Antonio Espirito Santo, Charanga 3D, O Sotaque da Socata and GRMJ. These were mostly full percussion ensembles.
I put many bands together, with different peole, it’s hard to mention names without forgetting someone. I had a really nice Trio with Ricardo Dias Gomes on keyboard and Edinho on percussion. We did my first solo concert ever at the legendary “Beco das Garrafas” the stage where Bossa Nova is supposed to have come to life.
Some producers from Curitiba thought that a trio was still too many people to carry around. They proposed that I did a concert totally by myself, that it would be easy to book. It actually turned out to be an interesting sound, so I got it together and traveled the country doing solo performances.
I used a combination of acoustic and electronic instruments and some very early sampling system to create different textures that would join the songs and give me a chance to improvise. That was a challenging setup. That tour eventually developed into “The Traveling Man and his Music Box” CD (O Caixeiro Viajante e a Caixa de Música).
It was a lot of fun. But of course, after a while I got tired of playing by myself and relying on technology. I was also writing and performing for Tabula Rasa, a contemporary dance company in Rio, along with drummer Otavio Garcia. We shared some good moments on stage and he helped me put together the Quarteto, with the awesome musicians Fernando Corona and Jimmy Cruz. It was a Brazilian Jazz band that blended really well.
When I first performed in the USA, I was doing the bossa-nova thing, just singing very softly on top of my Brazilian guitar beats.
In San Francisco, Philly and in NY I was also a guitar player for some RnB and folk artists, among them the great Cuban pianist/vocalist Alina Brouer.
I also played piano accompanying some world music singers: Shayla Whitaker, Amalia Romero and the Haitian diva Martina Bruno.
Malagueta Trio is my favorite group to perform with today, featuring Uka Gameiro on percussion and Jeremy Lamb on cello. I really love playing with these guys, it’s an awesome combination of improvised and well rehearsed material with a lot of freedom for unexpected things to happen and a repertoire that ranges over a variety of styles and textures.