José Eduardo Gramani (1944”“1998) was a violinist, fiddler, composer, conductor,
musical scholar, and professor at the Universidade de Campinas (Unicamp). He was
one of the foremost authorities on the Brazilian fiddle (rabeca) in its
Gramani founded various musical ensembles that survive him, performing disparate styles of music. One of these is the vocal-instrumental group í‚nima, which specializes in early music.
Another is the trio Carcoarco, whose music is produced via a mind-boggling array of violins, rabecas, and percussion instruments.
The trio, two of whose members are graduates of Unicamp, has been active since 1999 and perfomed with the likes of Dori Caymmi, Paulo Moura, Guinga, and Sebastião Tapajós, as well as in various festivals. Last fall they gave a performance and a workshop at Harvard University.
The name Carcoarco, tells us Luiz Fiaminghi, is an invention of Gramani’s. Calcar o arco means to play the violin with fervor. Gramani grew up in Itapira, São Paulo, where the local dialect turns calcar into carca. You get the idea.
Fervor (i.e., warmth and intensity) is dished out in spades in the trio’s album Tu Toca o Que?, a meeting point for choro, samba, forró, maracatu, xote, marcha, frevo, and baião, all rendered with a sophisticated, erudite touch. Half the disc is given over to Gramani’s compositions, the other to classics of the choro repertoire.
In the trio’s deft hands, the standards are transported to a realm far beyond their traditional confines. Listen to the highly original tranformation undergone by that old warhorse “Apanhei-te, Cavaquinho.”
Tu Toca o Que? is a series of rich variations subtly wrought with a deliberately restricted palette, a chamber music of refined popular idioms. Its allures are inexhaustible.
To obtain the disc, contact Carcoarco.
Carcoarco: Tu Toca o Que?
(Independent MCD 125; 2002) 41:19 min.
01. Choro de 78 (Zé Gramani)
02. Forró de Ferdinanda (Zé Gramani)
03. Friozinho da Manhã (Zé Gramani)
04. Apanhei-te, Cavaquinho (Ernesto Nazareth)
05. Viva Raimundo (Zé Gramani)
06. Segura Ele (Pixinguinha)
07. Naquele Tempo (Pixinguinha)
08. 1 x 0 (Pixinguinha)
09. Juba (Zé Gramani)
10. Madrugada (Zé Gramani)
11. Não Me Toques (Zequinha de Abreu)
12. Bandolim Abandonado (Zé Gramani)
13. Delicado (Waldir Azevedo)
Esdras Rodrigues: rabeca & violin
Luiz Fiaminghi: rabeca & violin
Roberto Peres “Magrão”: ceramic pots, pandeiro, zabumba, berimbau & marimba
You can read more about Brazilian music and culture at Daniella Thompson on Brazil here: http://daniv.blogspot.com/