Friday, October 30, 2015

Toca de Tatu - Meu Amigo Radamés

Radamés Gnattali
Radamés Gnattali (1906-1988) is an important figure in Brazilian music. A classically trained composer, conductor, orchestrator, and arranger, he worked for a living in the popular side of the business, deeply influencing Brazilian popular music with his arrangements and conceptions. His compositions, both in the erudite and popular fields, concurred to bridge the gap between the two idioms. Gnattali was known as a talented arranger and was hired by many of the best popular musicians and radio stations to produce arrangements. He embraced the sound of American swing and jazz and added American jazz harmonies to his sophisticated arrangements. Gnattali's work expanded the scope of Brazilian popular music, through his work he added legitimacy to instrumental popular music such as choro and related genres. As a performer of popular music, he played the piano in his own combos during the 1950s and 1960s and made records of his own compositions and arrangements with both quartet, quintet and sextet. Together with his famous Suite Retratos, originally written for symphony orchestra and featuring Jacob do Bandolim as soloist, a selection of Gnattali's compositions have been re-arranged and recorded by a young ensemble from Belo Horizonte that is named Toca de Tatu.
Grupo Toca de Tatu (photo: Fabiano Campbell)
Toca de Tatu is a quartet comprising Lucas Ladeia (cavaquinho), Abel Borges (percussion), Luísa Mitre (piano, accordion) and Lucas Telles (violão 7 cordas) and in 2013 the ensemble released its debut cd titled Meu Amigo Radamés featuring thirteen tracks of instrumental music from the popular works of Radamés Gnattali including a couple of compositions dedicated to Gnattali - the title track was composed by Antônio Carlos Jobim and the other homage to Gnattali is Paulinho da Viola's Sarau para Radamés.The arrangements are by the ensemble, four very skilled musicians.
CD front, Toca de Tatu, Meu Amigo Radamés (2013)
The CD is for purchase at the official website of Toca de Tatu, more info here and you have the opportunity to listen to a selection of the recordings at Sound Cloud including free download of some tracks, here. Below I'll insert some examples of the music that have been uploaded at YouTube from the release concert of the CD to give you an impression of this excellent young ensemble. - Here is first Toca de Tatu's interpretation of Gnattali's Remexendo

The title track of the CD, Meu Amigo Radamés by Tom Jobim, was of course also performed at the same concert

Alma Brasileira by Radamés Gnattali is a very beutiful choro, here performed by Toca de Tatu

A tour-de-force for piano is Gnattali's Gatinhos no piano, a composition inspired by the American novelty ragtime composer Zez Confrey's Kitten On The Keys, here performed by Toca de Tatu

Earlier this year Toca de Tatu visited France, and from one of the group's performances in Paris I'll end this small presentation inserting Toca de Tatu's version of Radamés Gnattali's famous piece, Pixinguinha, from his Retratos suite

Thank you to Oscar Barahona for introducing me to Toca de Tatu and forwarding relevant info.


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