Rodrigo Leão’s new single “Who Can Resist”, featuring vocals and lyrics from the Lambchop frontman Kurt Wagner, is released on July 23rd. After “Friend of a Friend”, it’s the second single from his new album A Estranha Beleza da Vida, scheduled for release in October through BMG and already available on presales.“Who Can Resist” is a good example of the careful voice casting Rodrigo seeks for many of his albums: the selection of singers who fit the “characters” created for the story each song or each album creates. For this new single, Rodrigo was looking for a voice he could identify himself with, like an “alter ego”. “Kurt Wagner’s deep voice jumped out at me instantly. He kindly accepted our invitation to write the lyrics and sing, it was a real privilege.”
“Who Can Resist” appeared first in the Summer of 2020, during Rodrigo’s lockdown with his family, “while waiting for our family dinners”. “When it wasn’t my turn to cook, I’d sit at the piano for a while and felt very happy that we could all be there together and not feel the time slipping away from us.” It’s a happy, free song, just like the album it is a part of: “A Estranha Beleza da Vida”, a record Rodrigo describes as being “about the freedom of being able to create without borders, without limits.”
As with the previous single “Friend of a Friend” and with the forthcoming album, the artwork is by renowned writer and illustrator Afonso Cruz and it can be found on all leading digital streaming platforms (Apple Music, Spotify and Deezer) from July 23rd.
Rodrigo Leão’s new single Friend of a Friend, featuring vocals and lyrics by the Canadian singer-songwriter Michelle Gurevich, was released on Friday, June the 18th. It’s the first single from the new album A Estranha Beleza da Vida, scheduled for release in October through BMG and available for presales from June18 as well. The new album will also mark Rodigo’s return to the world’s concert stage.
Throughout his career Rodrigo has composed and conceived some of his records as if they were films or a story to be told. Like in a film, it all comes down to the casting of the voices that will bring to life each character of the narrative. Rodrigo then adds in the sounds and moods to create the final cut that gives each record its own diversity and identity, dictated by each of its stories. This is what happened in albums such as Alma Mater, Cinema or A Mãe, where the story is told through the guest singers that embody these characters. In common all these records share more than a music style or genre, but the idea of an album as a film, and of cinema as its world.
Friend of a Friend returns to this concept by casting Michelle Gurevich as a character. Rodrigo says it’s one of his favorite tracks on the new album: “this song was born from my search for a happy rhythm, influenced by the music of rhe 1950s, and gave me the enthusiasm I needed to seek new ideas. It reminds us of a completely different world than the one we live in today.” This festive song has a video made in Copenhagen and Lisbon, without the two artists ever having met for its filming.
Michelle and Rodrigo played their characters in the cities they live in and filmed independently of each other, with Michelle also directing the whole production.
The single’s artwork is by renowned writer and illustrator Afonso Cruz and it can be played on all leading digital streaming platforms (Apple Music, Spotify and Deezer) from June 18.
At the same time the new album A Estranha Beleza da Vida will also be available for presales. It will be released globally by BMG in October 2021, continuing the partnership started with the album O Método.
GANDHI Gandhi is released worldwide on May 14 by the German label Galileo Music.
Rão Kyao – Bamboo Flutes | |Renato Silva Júnior – Harmonium and Keyboards | Ruca Rebordão – Percussion | Toni Lago Pinto – Classical Guitar and Braguesa Viola | Bernardo Couto – Portuguese Guitar | Carlos Lopes – Accordion.
RÃO KYAO HAS A NEW ALBUM AND GANDHI’S ON IT
The same, yet different. That’s Rão Kyao in 2021. Unalterable, due to the identity matrix of his singular art, perennial, as he is. Renewed, due to the existence of new elements adding to his unwavering sound. “Respeito Pela Natureza” (Respect for Nature) was released as a single. Now, the entire album is available, entitled Gandhi, that manifests a man connected to the environment, spiritually connected, and a humanist able to recognize a futuristic legacy, global and pacifistic, of the Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi (1986-1948). There is also the man behind the music, the composer and flute player, using all his resources, offering music with a sense of duality as a whole, that is not only universal but also Portuguese.
It’s a thematic album, organic, made to be experienced at home or live, that can not only envelope and delight faithful admirers, but can also open doors to a new generation that identifies with the music and the values it radiates. In “Respeito Pela Natureza” (Respect for Nature) there is an environmental appeal from Gandhi, whilst “Deus É Amor” (God is Love), is a mystical reflection that culminates with said phrase that unifies us. In “Regresso às Origens” (Return to Roots), self-sufficiency and spiritual independence, and in “Paz é o Caminho” (Peace is the way), we are recall Gandhi himself, as he once said “There are no paths to peace, peace is the path”.
The theme “Misericórdia” (Mercy) alludes to the fundamental point of his religious wisdom, while “Satyagraha” underlines the philosophy of love and non-violence that always guided Gandhi, and that would result in the withdrawal of the British. Martin Luther King Jr, would one day rephrase it to “Christ is the message, Gandhi is the method”.
In “Marcha do Sal” (The Salt March), we recall the march to the salt pans, organized by Gandhi, who was joined by the masses, in favour of the right to salt by the natives, whilst “Independência” (Independence), refers to 1947, the year of India’s independence. “Vaishnav jan to tene Kahiye je” is one of Gandhi’s personal favourite pieces of music, about the choices of humanity, having become one of India’s favourite hymns over the years.
The final theme, “Mahatma”, in its literal translation means Large Soul, name given to him by the Indian people.
If on the thematic side of this project it breathes globality, from a musical perspective it makes one travel to the Orient, without ever removing ourselves from the textures and identity of the Portuguese rhythms, with such diverse influence, from popular folklore to fado, on a trip, that is in fact, within ourselves. Peaceful music, but active and charming as only Gandhi knew how to be.
“He created a new mentality for the natives of India, a benign pride in relation to their origins”, says Rão Kyao, “that prepared them to respect and understand the richness of their traditions. Not only was this successful in relation to their heritage, but also in recovering their economic independence, and consequently political independence in relation to the British. Therefore, a theme like “Regresso às Origens” (Return to Roots), is worth note, as it sums up the sequence of sowing peace, in the midst of a conflict, giving no quarter to aggression, but in an active way whilst always, promoting equality between all human beings. His creed was (and is still!) so current, that two of his greatest followers were Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela.
In Gandhi, there is also the message of Rão Kyao himself, framing himself within the Gandhi philosophy:
“We need to return to our roots, looking to what is universal, not forgetting our own peculiarities and differences. This illustrates my posture in relation to music”.
Music, that on stage, requires participation of five gifted performers, to be rendered in its best form.
“The album was recorded in its entirety without ‘added sonic quality’, so as to best be performed and enjoyed in a live setting. It’s a record about the story of a man who won a war whilst using peace as a weapon. As such, this story needs to be told, live, musically to people.” Let it be said that the project began as a challenge. Indian official entities pitched an invitation to 124 countries, so that each one would recreate/rearrange the track “Vaishnav Jan to Tene Kahiye”. “It was then that the Indian Embassy in Portugal, invited me to create my own version of the track, knowing my link to Indian music” says Rão Kyao, that once finished, drew an immediate, and surprising, reaction from Narendra Modi (India’s Prime Minister) who commended him on all of his personal social media.
From then on, Kyao was able to dive deeper into the contemporariness of the Gandhi thinking, conceiving an album almost instantly.
Hence, here we are, before one more album, from someone who started in the jazz spectrum of music, and from then on enthusiastically flung his musical identity from the Orient to Africa, from Europe to the Americas, equipped with bamboo flutes. An Indian ambassador with a Portuguese soul. A long career, filled with records, loads of features and collaborations, filled with teachings and inspiration, that made him the most universal of Portuguese musicians. Last but not least, Rão Kyao, never stopped collecting positive reviews from the critics, not ovations from the audience, with records like Fado Virado a Nascente, 2001 (Fado turned to the East), Porto Alto, 2004 (High Port), or Coisas que a gente sente, 2012 (Things that we feel), and Aventuras da Alma, 2017 (Adventures of the soul), always moving around the world. Now he’s back, with some great music inspired by the life and work of Gandhi.
Uguru is proud to inform you that the album Lina_ Raül Refree, released internationally in January 2020 by Glitterbeat Records, won the first edition of the Carlos do Carmo Award. This award adds to a huge list of international distinctions that the duo has been collecting since the release of the first album in January 2020.
_Winner of the Carlos do Carmo Award _ # 1 in the World Music Charts Europe, “Disc of the year 2020 _Voted one of the 5 best records of 2020, Le Monde (Patrick Labesse) _#1 “Best Portuguese albums 2020”, No Sólo Fado _Winner of the Preis Der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik – German Critics Award _Winner of Prix de L’Académie Charles Cros (France) – Coup de Coeur 2020 _Nominated for Les Victoires du Jazz 2020 (France) _#TOP10 Transglobal Music Charts for 4 consecutive months (Feb-May 2020) _Videoclip “Cuidei que Tinha Morrido” finalist for One Screen Short Film Festival – New York 2020
The Carlos do Carmo Award was instituted by SPA as a way of honouring the interpreter who died in January this year, a member of this institution since 1997. The jury responsible for the evaluation of the works in the area of Fado for 2020, presided by António Vitorino D’Almeida and formed by Rui Vieira Nery, Paulo de Carvalho, Tozé Brito and Tiago Torres da Silva, attributed the first edition of the Prize to the project of Lina, exceptional singer, resident fadista of Clube de Fado and author of two albums, and of the Catalan Raül Refree, one of the most renowned producers of today.
The award ceremony will take place on 25 May during the celebrations of the Portuguese Author’s Day.
“Vaishnav Jan to Tene Kahiye Je”, is the song that gave rise to “Gandhi – A Portuguese pays homage to Gandhi”, Rão Kyao’s new album to be released on 14 May.
Gandhi – A Portuguese pays homage to Gandhi was born from a challenge launched by the official entities of India to 124 countries, to reinterpret a theme that Gandhi loved so much. Each of these countries had to choose a musician to recreate “Vaishnav Jan to Tene Kahiye Je”, which became an anthem for all Indians. It is this theme that now appears as the album’s second presentation single, and which was the starting point for Rão Kyao to rediscover the figure of Gandhi and create his tribute, in a work that is a meeting point of Portugal’s connection with India.
“It was then that the Indian embassy contacted me to conceive a version of this theme, based on the fact that they knew of my involvement with Indian music,” says Rão Kyao.
After having finished the recreation, he got an immediate reaction, which was unexpected, from the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, who referenced and published it on all his social networks.
In this second single, Rão Kyao reveals a more introspective component of his music which, in these challenging times, gives it a special dimension.
With a release date for next May, the album is, as it is well understood, a tribute to the Indian leader (1869-1948) who was recently honoured worldwide with the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of his birth. “He remains a futurist. His philosophy is what we need for this time”, says Rão Kyao.
After 4 singles already available throughout the months of February and March, it is now time to get to know the full EP 20PERCEPTION. There are six original songs, recorded during the last year and that will be available tomorrow for sale. To those interested in acquiring this work we remind you that the physical edition is limited to a few copies.
“A Song”, “70 Percent”, “Endless”, and “Moving” are the previously revealed singles that have been conquering the international markets, reaching an impressive number of streamings, earning Rui Massena more than half a million monthly listeners on Spotify. “A Song”, the first tune taken from this new EP, entered the classical music charts of Apple Music in 101 countries, and in 75 of these countries (including Germany, New Zealand, Netherlands, Spain, South Africa, Austria, USA, Greece, France, Australia, Canada, China, Mexico and Japan) it even entered the top 20 most listened to songs. These four songs have been chosen to enter dozens of Spotify playlists with millions of followers.
Rui Massena’s career is going through a particularly happy moment. In addition to the success of this new work, the composer and pianist participated last 28th in the celebrations of the World Piano Day, promoted by the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon publishing house, alongside some of the greatest pianists of today. Massena is also preparing to go back on the road and continue the tour that was forcibly interrupted by the pandemic we are currently going through. More news on this subject will follow soon.
On 28 March, World Piano Day was celebrated and there were various events celebrating this noble instrument all over the planet.
One of the most important was, without doubt, the online concert on Youtube by Deutsche Grammophon in which a truly stellar selection of the greatest pianists of our time participated. The pianist and composer Rui Massena was one of the artists chosen to integrate the line-up together with Maria João Pires, Lang Lang, Joep Beving, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Alice Sara Ott, Jan Lisiecki, Rudolf Buchbinder, Kit Armstrong , Kirill Gerstein, Daniil Trifonov, Seong-Jin Cho, Katia & Marielle Labèque, Chad Lawson, Balmorhea, Yiruma
Humanitarian, environmentalist, and spiritualist, looking locally with an eye on globality. If ever there was a need for these values, now is the time. Looking out for your fellow human being and nature itself. To be able to look inwards and outwards. The Indian leader, Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948), was exactly that. “He’s still ahead of his time, still a futurist. His philosophy is exactly what we need now-a-days” says Rão Kyao.
The music of Portuguese flute player and composer has been faithful to this message. Music that exudes Portuguese roots as much as universality, an invitation to dive within ourselves but also to be aware of our surroundings.It’s in this frame of mind that “Respeito pela Natureza” (Respect for Nature) was born, RãoKyao’s first single of the new album, that pays homage to the man and the mind of Gandhi, in time for the celebration of the 150 years since his birth.
The album, Gandhi – Um PortuguêsHomenageia Gandhi (Ghandi – A Portuguese honors Gandhi), framed as a Portuguese interpretation of Gandhi himself, is available in May.Here’s the story behind it… It started off as a dare, Indian authorities invited 124 countries to choose an artist to recreate Vaishnav Jan to Tene Kahiye, the tune Gandhi most listened to, and that has become the unofficial national anthem for that country.
“It was then that the Indian embassy reached out to me to create my version of that tune, based on the fact that I studied there for 10 years and my music is heavily influenced by Indian culture” says Kyao, who was able to get an immediate reaction from a surprising source, as prime minister Narendra Modi referenced and published the song on all his social networks.
From then on, from the initial dive into Indian culture and Gandhi’s philosophy to the finished album, it was all very quick, though it’ll only be released in May. For now, we have “Respect for Nature” (Respeito pela Natureza), the single that delves into decades of experience playing for a transgenerational audience, through his instrumental music able to transport us to India, without ever leaving Portuguese textures and rhythms, in a journey that, at the end of it all, is into ourselves. Peaceful music, but active in its charms, such is the manner of Gandhi’s philosophy.
Behold, the art of who started in the world of ambience jazz, and launched himself onto the world, from the Orient to Africa, from Europe to the Americas, armed with flutes made from bamboo. An ambassador of Portuguese soul. A career over 50 years long, baring a lot of records, such is the successful Fado Bailado (1983), many meetings and collaborations, many moments for learning (he studied with Indian musical masters, as well as having played with great Chinese orchestras, and recorded with flamenco’s top artists) and inspiration (from fadoto flamenco, as presented in DelíriosIbéricos with the Spanish artists Ketama) that make him the most universal of all the Portuguese musicians.
He’s not stopped in the last 20 years, gaining critical support and favor with the audience with works such as Fado Virado a Nascente (2001), Porto Alto (2004) ouCoisas Que a Gente Sente (2012), never slowing down in his quest to travel the world, while still collecting honors like the Order of the Infante Henrique (2007), and a commendation from the Arts and Science Academy in Paris (2011) assigned by the French state.
The spirituality, the cross culturality, his sense of environmentalism and his meditative music, make him, all these years later, a profoundly contemporary figure. As was Gandhi, whom he now honors.
UGURU would like to take a moment at the end of this very long year, to direct a few words to our artists, partners, clients, cooperators, and friends: the road ahead leads on to a new year, that like all new years, its laden with hope. To this hope, we’d like to add our absolute commitment. Culture is a necessity we cannot do without, a belief that has inspired our work for the last 18 years, producing spectacles with some of the most relevant names in music on the national and international scene, managing artists careers, projecting excellence beyond frontiers. Always in tireless and resolute style, because that’s how one goes about the business of making culture. We trust we will continue to do the same in 2021, with all of your help. Because we know you believe, like we do, that we all need culture, great culture, because we need a future.
With that in mind, we’d like to extend to our artists, teams, families, all our programmers, agents, managers, media outlets, all of the venues, and to all our many friends, a sincere wish for a good holiday season, and safe and prosperous 2021!
I started writing down ideas for a new album during 2017, while I was touring Europe with Scott Matthew after releasing our CD “Life Is Long”.
As always with my creative process, my first steps are always very intuitive and not at all methodical! Some of my first ideas came to me in hotel rooms. In November of 2017 we recorded our first demos, but we still had our doubts.
After three very different albums – “A Vida Secreta das Máquinas”, which was all electronic, “O Retiro”, recorded with an orchestra and choir, and “Life Is Long” with Scott – I felt I needed to find new paths.
And I was feeling very influenced by composers like Nils Frahm, Ólafur Arnalds or Max Richter.
This is where Federico Albanese, the much acclaimed Italian musician and composer, joined us. Me, and my regular co-producers Pedro Oliveira and João Eleutério, realised we need someone with fresh ears to join us, and we accepted the suggestion of my long-time friend and manager António Cunha to bring in an outside opinion.
At the same time we were invited to write music for an exhibition about the brain at Lisbon’s Calouste Gulbenkian museum.
On that project, which was co-produced by João Eleutério and Luís Fernandes, we learned a lot about electronic ambient sounds, and they proved very useful for this new record.
Our first working sessions were not easy, but we quickly found a method of working that brought us closer to the ideas we were looking for. Federico was very important in this; he suggested arrangements and instrumentation that helped get us there. We now had a clearer view of the minimalist, ethereal ambiance I was looking for.
This is the album on which I play the most piano ever! We also didn’t use the strings as much. This brought something new to the general sound of the project, as did a youth choir of 20 singers, which I’d thought of using very early in the project.
“O Método” is much leaner than my other albums. The sound is simpler, sparser, more self-contained. I also feel it is a little bit more spiritual; the music, being more ambient, takes us away from the day to day. I could explore a more naïf, childlike innocence that I felt now and then on previous albums.
For the songs. I did not want to use an existing language, I wanted to make up words so it would sound more abstract.
There are two exceptions. “The Boy Inside” was sung by Casper Clausen of Efterklang, who wrote the lyrics in English; Federico suggested asking him, and I knew and loved his work. “O Cigarro” is sung in Russian by Viviena Tupikova, who has played violin with me for a long time and wrote the lyrics as well. Another regular collaborator of mine, singer Ângela Silva, was very important with her suggestions for vocal arrangements and unusual way of singing made-up words.
The title changed during the recording, but “O Método”, “the method”, became the obvious choice. We were looking for a method to arrive at the final result, and Federico was very important in that process.
But I think it’s more interesting to see the method as more abstract, philosophical. Do we all have our own method to try and make something, communicate, feel, contribute?
The pieces on this album ask questions that don’t really have answers. A child points to the sky and asks: why are we here? Where do we go after we die? What is the meaning of life?
I like my music to ask questions, even if they have no answers. It means it communicates and says something to whoever hears it. It helps us think and dream. It moves us.