Júlio Pereira is saving the cavaquinho one strum at a time
Júlio Pereira has just released Praça do Comércio. Pereira performs on the cavaquinho, a small Portuguese guitar which is also the ancestor of the Hawaiian ukulele. The most common tuning is C–G–B–D (from the lower string to the higher string); another tuning is D–A–B–E, which is the Portuguese ancient tuning, and made popular by Pereira. He is one of the leading performers of the cavaquinho, although a multi-instrumentalist, in 2013 he decided to focus on the cavaquinho and he constitutes to record and educate people about instrument. The Cultural Association Museu Cavaquinho aims to document, preserve and promote the history and practice of the cavaquinho.
About the Album
Praça do Comércio is beautifully-packaged and contains a book by Pereira, who has recorded 20 albuns as a leader and been the music director or producer in about 80 albuns for other artists. The lineup on Praça do Comércio includes Júlio Pereira on cavaquinho, braguinha, bouzouki, synthesizer, viola braguesa, guitar, backing vocals; Miguel Veras on guitar; Sandra Martins on cello; Luciano Vasconvelos on bass; Quiné on percussion; Diego Duque on trumpet; James Hill (ukulele); José Manuel Neto on Portuguese guitar; Pedro Jóia on guitar; Norberto Gonçalves da Cruz on bandolim.Guest vocalists: António Zambujo (Portugal), Olga Cerpa (Canary Islands, Spain), Chney Wa Gune (Mozambique), Luanda Cozetti (Brazil), Teresa Melo Campos (Portugal), Mariana Abrunheiro (Portugal), Inés Melo Campos (Portugal), and Andreaia Joao Lopes. Pereira has added the braguinha to the collection of instruments he performs on Praça do Comércio. The braguinha is another small guitar, from the island of Madeira, closely related to the cavaquinho. The 111-page book is a wealth of knowledge, with notes in Portuguese and English, that provides details and photos of the cavaquinho and braguinha, illustrations, as well as music notation. In addition to his skill as a musician, Pereira is a talented composer. His music incorporates traditional Portuguese music as well as sounds from northern Africa, jazz and classical elements, Brazilian and Mozambican rhythms, flamenco and other influences.
“Praça do Comércio” is our favorite track on the album. The guitar, cello, and cavaquinho blend to create a rhythmic and harmonic color that is magical. The intro by Pereira shows how percussive the cavaquinho sound is and how it drives the music forward while still adding a harmonic richness to the instrumentation. The singing is delightful, and the harmonies and counterpoint take this track over the top. This is feel good music and we are feeling it!
With a sound that combines new and old instruments with sounds and rhythms from around the world, Praça do Comércio is a musical celebration of the universal language of music. The included booklet is amazing and educational. Pereira is a phenomenal performer and his musical presence is a driving force on all the tracks. With a nice mix of instruments, singing, tempos and styles, Praça do Comércio will please any world music lover.
Praça do Comércio