Regular audience members will recognise Adriano Adewale, who has recently given concerts with Joanna MacGregor, Gwilym Simcock and Jason Rebello. Now, the Brazilian percussionist and composer is joining us as Nimmo Artist in Residence and spoke to us about his residency ahead of the #WorldBeats Percussion Festival in October, which has has curated in partnership with Wiltshire Music Centre...
For people who haven’t necessarily heard your music before, how would you describe it?
I work with several artists and I love collaborations. Most of the music I compose has a mixture of elements. I like calling it ‘global music’, as oppose to ‘world music’. Global music welcomes different genres of music, taking into consideration all the aspects they bring with them... all types of music have same value, they are all rich in their own way. Jazz, classical, folk, electronic and so on. I love writing melodies, and then finding strong and fun grooves that goes with it, as well as harmony and different kinds of sounds.
You have talked before about using organic materials in music, linking to earth, air, fire and water. Could expand on why you feel it is important to place emphasis on the elements/natural organic sounds?
The classic elements are what alchemists work with. We all come from these elements and they are present on our everyday life. However, perhaps because our society became so industrialised, we tend to forget about them. For most people I ask, they do not know when it was last time they hugged a tree, or walked barefoot… I think it is dangerous to loose contact with nature because we are nature ourselves and in doing so we might get lost, so music comes to bring us back or to remind us of that aspect of ourselves.
Who would be included in your dream collaboration?
There are many collaborators with whom I have had wonderful experiences, however I would love to work with Airton Moreira (percussionist), Herbie Hancock (pianist), Hermeto Pascoal (singer), Fatoumata Diawara (singer), Yo Yo Ma (cellist), Siba (Brazilian artist) and many more.
How would you say your music is influenced by your heritage or the world around you?
I have been to different parts of Brazil, listening and playing folk music, traditional music. It has shaped who I am as a person and as an artist. Also, I travelled to Nigeria and Benin Republic to research and find out about my roots. It was fascinating! I could then understand the culture where I was born and also I felt connected to that new - however most ancient - place where I originally came from. It was a discovery which changed my life forever.
Looking back on your first album Sementes and comparing it to your latest work Raizes, how would you say your style has changed/developed? How did the process differ between each set of work?
I think both belong to a particular phase. On Sementes I explored the timbres and possibilities of this new band sound. Raizes was more melodic driven, with the sound pallet more concentrated on the core instruments of double bass, kora, percussion set up and flute and sax.
When it comes to composition what tends to be your approach? For example, do you place more importance on improvisation, or do you prefer to be more methodical?
It depends... ideas come all the time and sometimes they are formed instantly, however sometimes (most of the time) it takes me a long time to shape the melodies and to choose chords and grooves. I also like to try things out with the band, even if they are not ready, so I can get back home and work on it based on the experience with them. Improvisation comes into the mix mainly if I am composing with somebody else.
What artists have you been listening to recently?
E.S.T., Nana Vasconcelos, Philly Jo Jo.
Education appears to be an integral part of your work, is this something you always knew you wanted to do? How did this interest towards educating the younger generation form?
Arts in general provided me with a great opportunity to earn a living, but also with a great door to grow as a human being, to raise awareness of this world we live in and to exchange and express ideas. Brazil is a country where society is not balanced with very few wealthy people and lots of poor people. One of the most racist places in the world. Arts can really change people’s life and I like to be part of the team which contributes to that change.
What do you hope to bring to your Artist Residency here at Wiltshire Music Centre?
I would like to celebrate how we can all enjoy each other’s culture and learn with each other. I love the atmosphere at WMC. I would love to present and share music, great music made in Brazil, with influences from other cultures. Share and show how our differences can complement each other, providing unique ways of enjoying ourselves, learning and creating new things, as well as enjoying the traditions which came before us.
What can audiences expect from the #WorldBeats Percussion Festival this Autumn?
A fun and exciting festival: percussion is as exciting as it can get! All kinds of rhythms, ways of making sounds and music, instruments from different parts of the world. A playground of sounds where adults and children can really enjoy themselves! There are also opportunities for the ones who are looking for challenges, new intricate rhythms.
You can book find out more about the #WorldBeats Percussion Festival here, and book tickets now!