Brazilian Cello-bandolim Duo Ian and Kely Bring Brazil Groovy Tunes to the US

A Brazilian duo composed of two of the country’s most talented and promising young artists were recently featured in a video series at the prestigious Berklee College of Music.

Mandolinist Ian Coury and cellist Kely Pinheiro, who together form Pinheiro & Coury, played a bright and energetic rendition of “Ponteio” by Edu Lobo, as well as a moody version of “Carinhoso” by Pixinguinha for the latest installment of Two Track, which premiered on August 3rd on Berklee’s YouTube channel.

The Two Track project gives Berklee students an opportunity to perform in an intimate, minimally-staged setting with a single microphone. Through this recording session, Pinheiro & Coury were able to share a taste of their infectious and groovy Brazilian stylings, modes rarely performed in a cello-bandolim configuration.

The Two Track series, which emulates NPR’s world-renowned Tiny Desk concerts, also gives artists a chance to engage with a different monthly theme through their choice of songs and a brief storytelling interlude. In this case, Coury & Pinheiro addressed the concept of the ‘journey.’

“I remember when I was 7 years old…in school, everyone was learning an instrument,” relates Coury in the video. “I asked my father…’what should I learn?’ He said, ‘try the Cavaquinho.’ It’s like a Brazilian ukulele.

“After six months, I went to a show of a guy…[who] plays this beautiful instrument of a mandolin with ten strings. …When he arrived on stage, he played the open strings. And that just took me out of my mind. I said, ‘oh my god, I want to play this instrument.’ Since that day, I began my journey.”

Coury’s journey with the ten-string mandolin, also known as the bandolim, has been nothing short of incredible. The Brasília-born 20-year-old is already one of the most accomplished bandolim players in the world, having mastered the Brazilian genre known as Choro, a style originating in the 19th century that combines European and African influences.

By age 12, he had shared the stage with Brazilian choro legends Armandinho and Hamilton de Holanda. He has also performed with many renowned Latin American jazz musicians like Paquito D’Rivera, Claudio Roditi, and Toninho Horta, and was awarded “Best Instrumentalist” in the National FM Radio Festival in 2020, as well as second place in Brazil’s eFestival in 2021, both for performances of original compositions.

Meanwhile, Pinheiro is making her own mark as one of Brazil’s most talented multi-instrumentalists and arrangers based in Boston. After receiving a full-tuition scholarship to Berklee College of Music and moving to the U.S., she has gone on to be a featured performer in a number of high-profile Berklee events, some of which have showcased the band which she leads known as Nebulous Quartet.

Pinheiro is a classically trained cellist but grew up in a music-loving family that encouraged her to explore a variety of musical styles, as reflected by the string Quartet’s diverse range of musical elements and cultural influences.

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