Carlos Nunez has spent three years in Brazil researching and recording his new album “Alborada do Brasil” that is receiving some of his best reviews to date.
“captivating” Le Monde (France)
“surprising” El País (Spain)
“indispensable” Clarín (Argentina)
“It offers our music a lost foundation, the archetypical note capable of sustaining so much diversity”. “Excellent” Folha de Sao Paulo (Brazil)
The album’s live presentation in the UK obtained a 5 star review in The Times and was described as “a glorious occassion”.
Carlos initially went to Brazil to try and solve the mystery of the disappearance of his great grandfather, also a musician, who emigrated to Brazil in the early 20th century and of whom little more was heard. What Carlos discovered was that his great grandfather had carried music with him and that in the cultural melting pot that is modern Brazil traces of those musical links with Galicia remain. But not only music brought by Galician emigrants, it went much deeper…
The Portuguese spoken in Brazil is closer to Galician than the Portuguese spoken in Lisbon. Galicia borders Northern Portugal. In fact, some scholars claim that the name of Portugal is derived from the Latin,”the port of the Galicians”. The Galicians were one of the several Celtic tribes that inhabited the North West of the Iberian peninsula, thereby called Gallaecia by the Romans. The Medieval kingdom of Gallaecia was later divided in two counties, Galicia and Portugal, which eventually became two separate kingdoms, finally Galicia becoming part of Spain. In short, medieval Portuguese and Galician culture were much the same.
The first letter written from Brazil to the king of Portugal, in 1500, beautifully describes how, in their first encounter, the indigenous people danced to the sound of the instrument the Portuguese brought with them to the New World : the bagpipes! Throughout the interior of Brazil we can still hear strains and echoes of the bagpipes in the drones and ornamentation commonly used in the music now played on fiddles, flutes and accordions and underpinned by undeniably African rhythms and percussion. Even today the Brazilians refer to the accordion as a “Gaita” (originally the word for bagpipes).
That was the culture the Portuguese originally brought to Brazil : a Medieval rural northern Atlantic culture. That is why when the sailors arrived to that “paradise”, they thought it was the disappearing island of Hy Brazil - a legend still alive in the West of Ireland -, that was depicted in many maps since the 14th century, almost equidistant from the coasts of Ireland, Cornwall and Galicia, until mid 19th century that the British navy finally deleted it from its charts. This draws from the medieval Celtic legend of the mystical “Isle of the Blessed” the Tir na nOg (The land of Eternal Youth) which lay to the west in the Atlantic. In short, Brazil even has a Celtic name!
Guest artists on “Alborada do Brasil” included Adriana Calcanhotto, Lenine, Carlinhos Brown, Dominguinhos, Yamandú, DJ CIA, Fernanda Takai, Escola de Samba Beija Flor….. also joining Carlos on the album are his old friends, The Chieftains. “Alborada do Brasil” was produced by Carlos with Alê Siqueira (Tribalistas, Omara Portuondo) and Mario Caldato Jr. (Jack Johnson, Beastie Boys, Marisa Monte).