Portugal’s Fado em Si Bemol is among the country’s most electrifying jazz acts. Part of what makes the group so appealing to audiences is the infectious and brightly lit way they are able to unite different musical styles. On the surface, Fado em Si Bemol fuse together jazz and world music; beneath that, the band is an amalgam of various global influences, sewn effortlessly by the distinct flavors of the Portuguese guitar. Quite popular in Europe, the band is starting to develop an American audience, and the release of a spicy, absolutely thrilling new album, QB, will cement that.
Q: How and when did Fado em Si Bemol form?
A: Fado em Si Bemol formed in 2003. It started out as a project between good friends Paulo Gonçalves, Miguel Silva, and Pedro Matos to explore the nontraditional sounds of the music throughout the world using the Portuguese guitar. They played a single show using sounds of Fado and Stevie Wonder. To their surprise, there was a full house and people loved the sounds. With an informal and unpretentious style, the characteristic formalisms of the different genres are dissolved; the doors are opened to a loose and cool fusion of musical languages with the magical touch of a Portuguese guitar. From Fado to bossa nova, through jazz, morna or ragtime - all the world combined.
The unique sound and the diverse background of the group and their music fueled their growth. They went on to add the double bass and percussions to their group. Fado em Si Bemol’s flavor was so well received not only locally, but also in different parts of Europe. The group played at countless clubs, festivals and made appearances on several Portuguese television shows. With this success in mind, they release their first album Live in 2007. Continuing on the same path their second album Rec was released in 2010. With the popularity of both albums the group is scheduled to release their third album QB in September 2012. Fado em Si Bemol has received a special mention from Carlos do Carom, Fado legend and Goya award winner: “What I just heard is simply wonderful. It’s a way of playing Fado with much innovation! Very beautiful.”
Q: How would you describe the jazz scene in Portugal?
There is wonderful jazz music in Portugal. The people embrace the sounds and feelings. Unfortunately, for a culture with such rich musical roots, there are very limited places to play. Portugal has many talented musicians from all genres. Music is a way of life for us.
Q: How does the band feel about touring the U.S.?
A: We are very excited to tour the United States. For us it seems a dream come true. We look forward to sharing our sound and giving the people a little piece of Portugal. In addition, there is such vast talent in the United States; it makes us excited to work with them. We are hoping to develop future musical relationships that will add to Fado em Si Bemol’s next steps.
Q: How would you describe the group performing in Europe?
A: We have performed in Germany and Spain, meeting wonderful people all coming together for the harmony of music. The experiences have been priceless to us, and we will look to doing a full European tour in the near future. As a group, our sound is more of world music, not just jazz. With that, we also have our eyes set on South America.
Q: How would you describe the new album?
A: QB is full of passion. We put so much of ourselves into this album. The rhythms and harmony united together bring an amazing intensity of feelings and emotions. This album is very different from our first two. We challenge everyone to judge for themselves.