Retratos: Portraits of Brasil – Adelaide International Guitar Festival 2010

Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed Thursday 25th November 2010

Venue: Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
Season: one performance only
Duration: 70mins
Festival Bookings: BASS 131 241 or

The Caliente Trio, Adelaide guitarists Mike Bevan, Al Valodze and Dylan Woolcock, opened the concert, which took as its theme a set of musical portraits of composers, penned by other composers. They were later joined by local musician, Doug de Vries, and the amazing Brazilian guitarist, Yamandú Costa, as well as special guest, Kahil Nayton, playing the small, four stringed cavaquinho. From there Co0sta and De Vries played some duets, de Vires then leaving with promises of more duets and the return of the Caliente Trio later in the concert. This left Costa to show his incredible virtuosity on the guitar.

It was fascinating to see that three of the five guitarists were playing the 7-stringed guitar (violão de sete cordas), common in this type of music. It is generally tuned to the same notes as a classical guitar, but with the additional string tuned to C below the low E; although some musicians tune it down to a B. More advanced players use even more varied tunings, as we saw in this concert.

The main style of music played by these musicians is the Choro (cry or lament) which goes back to the 19th Century, originating in Rio de Janieiro. The name is rather misleading as it if often fast and happy music that involves improvisation. Of course, the Samba and tango are also popular in Brazil.

The Caliente Trio opened the concert with some very fine arrangements, with some complex contrapuntal work and tight playing, infused with the joy of the music. They are known for the intricacy of their music and it was well to the fore here. When the full ensemble got together for a few numbers not only the complexity increased but the excitement level shot up. Then it was reduced to the duo of Costa and de Vries and yet another change in presentation as these two displayed a lively and light-heartedness that suited the joy of the music.

Yamandú Costa then played solo, proceeding to show why he is probably the biggest name today playing this type of music. With his almost unbelievable dexterity, huge dynamic range and great depth of feeling and his clear love of playing, he swept the audience along before him.

Unfortunately, the concert overran its advertised 70 minutes and looked like going on for much longer, as only Costa was onstage and it had been announced that the others would be returning later to play some more duos and ensemble numbers. Had this been the only event that evening it would not really have mattered, but this is a Festival and people have booked for more than one performance a night. Consequently, there was a sudden mass Exodus as patrons, including myself, made a dash around to the Festival Theatre for the next performance.

It was not surprising that this concert, like so many others, was sold out well before the Festival started.

Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor Glam Adelaide.

[adrotate banner="159"]
To Top