Doors and dinner beginning at 6:30 PM
(Claudia Villela) “Soulful expression steeped in the now…” – DownBeat
(Heloísa Fernandes) “She was pure enchantment from the moment she entered…” – Jazztimes.com
This marks the debut of a collaboration of two Brazilian artistic forces – singer Claudia Villela and pianist Heloísa Fernandes. Over the past two decades, each has forged a new identity, one rooted in Brazil’s rich cultural history yet speaking in a modern voice. Now these two voices join to make a third that promises to reveal even greater expressive power.
Claudia Villela’s voice is already familiar to Kuumbwa audiences – five octaves in range, lithe and startlingly beautiful in every register. Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, she sings mostly in Portuguese, interpreting lyrics with keen emotional insight and supple rhythmic command. An inventive scat singer, she has honed a vocabulary of sounds that can evoke the hollow thump of a tabla drum, the muted trumpet of Miles Davis, the insistent twang of a berimbau, or the ethereal call of a flute. Her sound is also the product of composition, both of new works and unique arrangements of those by important Brazilian composers.
Heloísa Fernandes is making only her second visit to the U.S. A native of São Paulo, she is a study in the power of contrasts – delicacy and driving rhythm, quiet introspection and joyous dance, elegance and playfulness. With this vast artistic vocabulary, she reveals a Brazil largely unknown but profoundly deep and beautiful. Her sources of inspiration are often folkloric and ancient, but what she makes of them as a composer and pianist is thoroughly 21st century in character.