Festival favourite Carlos Núñez returns to Celtic Connections with a stunning show based on his latest acclaimed album Alborada do Brasil, exploring the musical links between his native Galicia and Brazil. After previous collaborations with everyone from Alan Stivell to Jackson Browne, Ry Cooder to Monserrat Caballé, Núñez originally visited Brazil on the trail of his emigrant grandfather. With Galicia and Portugal having once formed a single medieval kingdom, he discovered that Iberian bagpipes like his own had preceded him there by some 500 years. Alongside Núñez’s regular band, tonight’s performance features Brazilian guests Fernanda Cabral (vocals) and Alan Souza (percussion), plus Scottish drumming troupe Rhythm Wave and The National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland.


Carlos has spent three years in Brazil researching and recording his new album “Alborada do Brasil” (Sony) that is receiving some of his best reviews to date.

He went after the traces of his great grandfather, the only musician that preceded him in his family, who emigrated to Brazil early 20th century and disappeared. Not only he found out what had happened of him but also unexpected cultural connections of the huge country and his small Galicia :

When the Portuguese first set feet in Brazil, the first instrument they played for the indigenous people were the bagpipes and to its sound they shared a dance, as described in their first letter to the King of Portugal in 1500. Even nowadays, Brazil’s oldest military corps, the Fuzileiros Navais from Rio, still play the pipes. And throughout the interior of the country we can hear pipe music, with their drones and ornamentation, although played by other instruments such as old fiddles, whistles, flutes, and accordions (called “gaita”, meaning bagpipes in Galician), but mixed with their amazing African percussion and rhythms.

Portuguese language originated in medieval Galician. For historical reasons Galicia and Portugal separated, being Galicia now part of Spain, but in the same way the North of Portugal is much closer culturally to Galicia, than to the South, the same can be applied to the rural Portuguese that populated Brazil. The Portuguese spoken in Brazil is still closer to Galician than that from Lisbon.

Even the name of Brazil seems to come from the Irish legend of Hy Brasil, the disappearing island, the Tir na Nog, the paradise behind the sunset, that obviously medieval-minded Atlantic sailors thought to have found seeing the coasts of the New World.

Carlos is joined by 100 musicians in the album : Adriana Calcanhotto, Lenine, Carlinhos Brown, Dominguinhos, Yamandu, Escola de Samba Beija Flor, DJ CIA, Fernanda Takai… but also The Chieftains. The album was produced by Carlos with Alê Siqueira (Tribalistas, Omara Portuondo) and Mario Caldato Jr. (Beastie Boys, Jack Johnson, Marisa Monte).

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