Monday, 03 December 2018 16:31

Interview with Tiê Alves

The urban troubadour: why Tiê Alves is one of the most interesting artists of the new Brazilian popular music.

Tiê Alves updates the concept of the troubadour blending the best of the MPB (the Brazilian popular music) tradition with a urban touch, which in this case means the mega metropolis of São Paulo. The cultural melting pot of the city and its oppressive immensity are the background for inventive melodies and original lyrics performed with a blasé-yet-shy allure simply impossible to resist.

(GF) When did your contact with music start?

(TA) I began when I was a child. My mother played guitar and sang to me and my father was always very musical. At home, we heard a lot of music, mainly Brazilian music, but also The Beatles among other genres. My sister plays, as well: flute, percussion and double bass, but she works with graphic design. By the way, she developed the cover and all the artwork of my first album. I was 16 when I became interested in playing the guitar and decided to take classes. By that time, I was a huge fan of rock bands such as Nirvana and Pink Floyd. So I set up a band with my high school friends, started playing and never stopped since then. The guitar seduced me right from the start because of its versatility, but also because it is a very intimate instrument that must be kept very close to the body. It is said that the guitar “searches” for the most introspective personalities, for the shy people.

(GF) How about your musical education? Who were your mentors and influences?

(TA) I went to college and got a degree in Music at the Faculty of Arts Alcântara Machado. I also studied singing and Brazilian folk guitar, that we call “viola caipira”. I did this training as a musician, but in parallel I composed regularly. Creation has always been very important to me. Gradually, I joined other partners and developed my composition, but it all started in a very intuitive way. I was mainly influenced by Brazilian musicians, such as Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Milton Nascimento. After I have built a repertoire of original songs, in 2014 I recorded my first album: O Rio e a Lua (The River and the Moon).

(GF) And how was the production of your debut album?

(TA) It was a great learning experience. Since it was my first one, I literally learned by doing. Fortunately, I had a super talented producer named Ana Rodrigues, who understood my concept and brought a lot of information in terms of arrangements.

(GF) Any coming projects?

(TA) I'm producing my second album, “Tá Osso” (Tough Break, on a free translation) produced by guitarist Luiz Cláudio Sousa. This album has been crowdfunded and it has a strong influence of Jazz. The idea for the name came from an idiom usually used in Brazil to describe financial problems, but in the song, it describes a person who is head-over-heels.

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Written by Geisa Fernandes - Brasil / Rio de Janeiro

The repertoire of this jazz singer and awarded songwriter from Rio de Janeiro reveals influences of Brazilian popular music, the French chanson and Latin American rhythms, but most of all, Geisa Fernandes is a jazz singer. Billie Holiday aficionada (back in college folks used to call her "Lady Doc"), this PhD holder and Comics researcher was a former vocalist of several bands in São Paulo. 

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I got in contact with Silvano (pianist, double bassist, guitarist and composer) the older of the Pagliuca-Mena brothers, in a forum for jazz musicians. In the middle of his moving from the shore city of Maracaibo, in Venezuela to Madrid, he found time to talk about family roots, musical identity and their music: an original blend of Venezuelan, Latin, Jazz and Classic.

 

(GF) Can you tell us about of your trajectory in music?

(SPM) Music has always been there for and with us. We come from a family of artists and intellectuals. Our mother, for instance, is a ballerina and sociologist, our father, although he did not dedicate himself to the arts, is a very creative amateur musician. That is why we had since our very early age, an inclination for the sciences and arts, particularly for music. In our family environment we were exposed to different musical genres, such as Italian popular music, flamenco - our family roots are Italian and Spanish -, traditional Venezuelan music, Latin American and Caribbean music, Jazz, European, Classic music and also Pop and Rock, among others and all those elements had a later influence in our artistic expressions. Around the age of seven, we started in musical ensembles and folkloric groups and later we took part in diverse rock bands and pop music group. Finally, we joined symphonic groups and started experimenting with Jazz.

 

(GF) When did the ensemble start?

(SPM) In 2014. The formation varied from the original duo with my brother Angelo, percussionist and composer, to up to ten musicians, depending on the event. Many other artists have called us to be their band and this feels really good. It is also nice to see both familiar and new faces in each of our presentations.

 

 


Since you've come so far ...

.... we would like to inform you about The Old School Project's operation. Over time, the number of people interested in The Old School Project has steadily increased. Unlike other websites and online media, the core of The Old School Project is not the well-known journalists and radio producers, but the young people in the field of journalism who nevertheless worthy of their place. Therefore, the resources for running The Old School Project, which requires time, money and hard work, come only from its physical place, the coffeehouse.

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(GF) How would you define your music?

(SP-M) Our music is eclectic, product of a continuous search for expression through musical art, going through different genres and musical styles. We have a very open aesthetic that fuses Jazz, Contemporary music, European academic music, Venezuelan and Latin American, flamenco and World Music, always with an original approach.

 

(GF) New projects?

(SP-M) We have finished recording our second album, short before moving to Madrid. We are very excited about it and we hope that it will be as well reviewed as the first one: "The Temple of Ideas". Our   new album,    like the previous one, was entirely produced by us, and consists of seven original songs written by me and Angelo.

We go deeper exploring our flamenco inheritance and Mediterranean sounds, among others influences. Our main project now is to establish ourselves in Madrid. Although we knew it would not be easy, it   was a step    that we felt we had to take in order to continue growing as humans and artists. We also want to assemble the ensemble again in Europe with some of our previous members. We´ll see.    

Written by Geisa Fernandes - Brasil / Rio de Janeiro

The repertoire of this jazz singer and awarded songwriter from Rio de Janeiro reveals influences of Brazilian popular music, the French chanson and Latin American rhythms, but most of all, Geisa Fernandes is a jazz singer. Billie Holiday aficionada (back in college folks used to call her "Lady Doc"), this PhD holder and Comics researcher was a former vocalist of several bands in São Paulo. 

Hire Geisa to review your band or your new album.

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I met Uiara Leigo at a conference for indie musicians in São Paulo. We exchanged CDs and she explained me in her deep, calm voice that she had worked for a long time as a nurse. Later, while listening to her album, it all made sense: Uiara takes care of people and their needs. Traditional African rhythms are the starting point for a musical journey filled with lyrics about racism, homo and transphobia among other delicate subjects, without sounding preachy. Beautifully human, with a scent of magic.

(GF) Can you tell us about your first contact with music?

I guess it all started in my mother´s womb, when I first listened to the sounds of the percussion. My father used to play during religions ceremonies held by my grandmother. She was what we call “mãe de santo” [a priest woman in African religions] and my father, an amateur musician and composer, was my first contact to music. I guess my heartbeat was defined by that drums. I always wanted to be a singer and my great influences were The Beatles, U2, Brazilian rockers such as Renato Russo, Cazuza and Cássia Eller and the MPB (Brazilian popular m usic) tradition: Caetano Veloso and Maria Bethânia. As a child, I took part in a religious choir and when I was 13, I learned to play the guitar with my brother, a musical therapist and teacher, but apart from that, I never had any musical training. Instead, I went to the Nursing College in Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais (I am originally from a small town in Rio de Janeiro called Macaé).

(GF) And when was your “come back” to the music?

Only after graduation. By then, I´ve decided to make my dream come true. I began singing in bars. I was also part of a rock band, but in 2010 I decided to launch my solo career with an album called “Pedra Bruta” (“Rough Stone”). Six years later, I released “Meu Canto é Segredo” (“My Song is Secret”).

(GF) How would you define your music?

I propose a universe of creation with no rules or labels. This concept guided my last project, giving me the freedom to mix the influences of important Brazilian movements, such as Tropicalism, with my childhood references, the sounds of the candomblé drums. Together with my musical producer Hérmanes Abreu, we created a very special sound for the project, reaffirming our African-Brazilian musical heritage. The promotional single “Basta” (“Enough”) is a call for reflection upon all sorts of intolerance.


Since you've come so far ...

.... we would like to inform you about The Old School Project's operation. Over time, the number of people interested in The Old School Project has steadily increased. Unlike other websites and online media, the core of The Old School Project is not the well-known journalists and radio producers, but the young people in the field of journalism who nevertheless worthy of their place. Therefore, the resources for running The Old School Project, which requires time, money and hard work, come only from its physical place, the coffeehouse.

So to continue to provide our services to upcoming bands / artists, giving the opportunity to new journalists publish their articles, and to develop our innovative ideas, we ask you to devote a minute of your time and become a part of The Old School Project.


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(GF) What´s next?

I am recording a new project called “Somos feitos do agora” ("We're made of now"). It is inspired by reflections on time and happiness, conflicts, hope, solitude and love. I wrote all five tracks and the arrangements bring a mix of Rock´n´Roll, Blues and Progressive. I stick with the primordial characteristic in my career: the freedom of creation!

Written by Geisa Fernandes - Brasil / Rio de Janeiro

The repertoire of this jazz singer and awarded songwriter from Rio de Janeiro reveals influences of Brazilian popular music, the French chanson and Latin American rhythms, but most of all, Geisa Fernandes is a jazz singer. Billie Holiday aficionada (back in college folks used to call her "Lady Doc"), this PhD holder and Comics researcher was a former vocalist of several bands in São Paulo. 

Hire Geisa to review your band or your new album.

For more info feel free to Contact Us

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Saturday, 26 May 2018 00:00

The portrait of Santiago Tavella

 

A portrait of the artist as a mature man: why you should find out more about Santiago Tavella right now!

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The year is 2012 and I am about to leave the City Hall after an amazing performance of Uruguayan rock band El Cuarteto de Nos. I had never heard of them before and but the amazing songs, full of complicate games of words and cultural references got me hooked instantly. Back home, I looked for every piece of information I could find about the band and the name of Santiago Tavella popped up, not only as one of the band leaders (together with Roberto Musso), but also as the songwriter of many of the groups compositions. On the following evening, I went to see them again and introduced myself to Tavella. That´s how we started a conversation that goes on since then. I asked Santiago to talk about his project "Otro Tavella" ("Another Tavella), which presents a mature, yet refreshed artist, the singularities of it, compared to his work in the Grammy awarded band Cuarteto de Nos and the importance of literature to his music. Ladies and gents, Santiago Tavella:

(GF) Otro Tavella is your first solo project. When did it start?

(ST) Otro Tavella was always present in my mind, as a concept. 1984 I played a solo recital for the first time. There was another attempt at the end of the 90s, another one in 2009 (this time I experimented a lot with electronic sounds) and basically from 2012 it has its currently format, with much emphasis on natural sounds and no overproduction. In that sense, it is totally different from the kind of sound and the production I experience with the Cuarteto. My son, Martín Tavella (bass), was the first recruited, followed by Ignacio Lanzani on guitars and Sebastián Macció on the drums. The female choir of Josefina Trías and Analía Ruiz came as a recommendation of Nelly Pacheco, my singing teacher. The VJ Virginia Arigón is responsible for linking the music to the wonderful world of visual arts.


Since you've come so far ...

.... we would like to inform you about The Old School Project's operation. Over time, the number of people interested in The Old School Project has steadily increased. Unlike other websites and online media, the core of The Old School Project is not the well-known journalists and radio producers, but the young people in the field of journalism who nevertheless worthy of their place. Therefore, the resources for running The Old School Project, which requires time, money and hard work, come only from its physical place, the coffeehouse.

So to continue to provide our services to upcoming bands / artists, giving the opportunity to new journalists publish their articles, and to develop our innovative ideas, we ask you to devote a minute of your time and become a part of The Old School Project.


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(GF) Does Otro Tavella represents a disruption or a development?

I Would say that it is a mutation of my artistic personality. Literature is an important component of this project. We propose an exercise of reading between lines. The audience is invited be part of the interpretation of what we do, something that may not be very "marketable", but that is obviously lacking in the bulk of contemporary musical and artistic production. Music and lyrics are equally important to this project. They complement and relate to each other. Therefore, although Otro Tavella could be labeled as Rock/Pop, there is an important amount of stylistic elements in this project that goes beyond those genres. I guess there is some maturity involved too, but not in the sense of becoming "politically correct" or "conservative" and it has certainly nothing to do with becoming a silly old man, which is pretty much the idea of maturity nowadays.

Published in South America Section