Vinicius Cantuaria Quartet at the Sedgwick Cultural Center in Philadelphia on December 4

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Vinicius Canturia will bring the exotic sounds of Brazilian bossa nova to the Sedgwick. Well known for his collaborations with advanced jazz artists like Bill Frisell, Canturia is equally at home working on pop songs with artists like David Byrne. At the heart of all of his music, though, is his abiding love for the beautiful Brazilian songs of the bossa nova and samba traditions. The concert at the Sedgwick on Saturday, December 4 marks his first appearance in the area.

As an added treat, North by Northwest will host a dinner before the show. This dinner marks the first official collaboration between the Sedgwick and North by Northwest, explains Greg Martino, director of the Sedgwick. We have always wanted to offer Sedgwick patrons the opportunity to purchase one ticket and make one stop for dinner and a show. We think people will be enthusiastic about this program, and we have already sold a substantial number of tickets. Its a great way to simplify an evening out and to make sure that you get to the concert on time.

Vinicius Canturia was born in Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil, living there until he was seven, when his family moved to Rio. As singer, songwriter, guitarist and percussionist, his career connects several zones of Brazilian music. Although his music is known for its decidedly twenty-first century feel, Canturias band might best be described as post-electronica acoustic a band that includes jazz bassist Paul Socolow, a violinist, and a rotating crew of Brazilian percussionists Nanny Assis, Mauro Refosco and legendary drummer Paulo Braga. Their repertoire typically includes songs by Jobim and Gilberto Gil, as well as Canturias own fund of songs.

Canturias albums, always critics favorites, have featured collaborations with some of the starrier names in left-field commercial music: Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, Brian Eno, Bill Frisell, and Arto Lindsay. Though artists such as Anderson, Frisell and Lindsay have a common touch, there is always an unusual twist to their music: they dont worry about ugly sounds. They are prepared to confront their sophisticated audiences as well as delight them. Canturia, by contrast, rarely produces anything that is not beautiful. He might express enthusiastic interest in DJ Spooky and the scratchy rhythms of laptop blip-hop, trade vocals with David Byrne or duet with Marc Ribot, but the end-result is always tuneful, light, fleet and musical.

Canturia has a studio in New York that he treats as an atelier, somewhere to go everyday to develop his practice. He might write a song, or listen to older tapes sometimes I play pandeiro for two days straight, he says, always I work, for fun. Or he might spend ages playing with alternative chords for The Girl From Ipanema, perhaps the best-known song of his idol Antonio Carlos (Tom) Jobim: I can feel the song in so many different ways, says Canturia. He stresses the importance of the acoustic guitar as the element of his craft every song is originally worked out and written on the acoustic guitar, though he might use the electric instrument in the final orchestration.

He is more commercially successful than his modest demeanor might suggest. A few years ago, Fabio Jr.s version of Canturias song “So Voce" sold more than two million copies in Brazil. Lua E Estrella, the song Canturia wrote for Caetano Veloso in 1981, was the latters biggest hit. Veloso makes a guest appearance on the 2001 album, Vinicius (Transparent) for the delicate song Agua Rasa. Canturia made several solo albums throughout the 80s and 90s, prior to relocating from Rio to New York in 1995, and the international breakthrough of Sol Na Cara in the following year.

When you press Canturia for his definition of contemporary music, his terms of reference remain thoroughly popular. He talks about the enduring freshness of British pop music: the Beatles, the Rolling Stones. Contemporary music for me is something like Jobim, Eno. If you listen to music from the 1980s, like Duran Duran or Tears for Fears it now sounds old because of the synthesizers. But Satisfaction still sounds good. Its like buying a good pair of traditional black shoes, that will last you ten years, he says.

Vinicius Canturia will bring his quartet to the Sedgwick for one concert on Saturday, December 4 at 8 p.m. There is a special pre-concert dinner at North by Northwest with seating times between 5:30 and 6:30. Reserved tickets for the pre-concert dinner must be made by November 26th. Tickets for the concert plus dinner are $40. Tickets for the concert alone are $18 in advance and $22 at the door. Free parking is available in the municipal lot across the street from the Sedgwick. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Sedgwick at 215-248-9229. The Sedgwick Cultural Center is located in the heart of Philadelphias historic Northwest at 7137 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119.

Related Article
Vinicius Cantuaria Interview (2004)

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