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“The German music critics” have published their list of the best new releases for the fist quarter of 2011. Carlos Nunez “Alborada do Brasil” was selected in the World Music category. The award is sponsored and supported by the German Ministry for Culture and Media.
Bonn, 14 february 2011.
www.schallplattenkritik.degerman music critics award

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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).

Please click here for more info about German release and German liner notes.

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Carlos Núñez + OSG - convidados especiais: The Chieftains

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The Times

The Herald

The Scotsman

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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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Le Telegramme
France 3, broadcast friday 7 min. 9:24

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