PRAÇA DO COMÉRCIO - NEW ALBUM

Praça do Comércio | THE NEW ALBUM BY JÚLIO PEREIRA

The new album by Júlio Pereira, titled "Praça do Comércio", has just been released, presented both in LP and CD formats.

The vinyl - with a cover in gatefold format - was made into an art object, without text, containing only the original illustrations that Carlos Zíngaro created for all the themes of the album. A limited edition of 1,000 numbered copies.

With the CD there is a 112-page book (in Portuguese and English), with texts by Rui Vieira Nery, Manuel Morais, Joăo Luís Oliva and Nuno Cristo, and a guide to its chords and music sheets.

The main instrument of this 22nd author album is the cavaquinho and, for the first time, Júlio Pereira plays its Madeira relative – called braguinha. In addition to the musicians who usually accompany Júlio Pereira – i.e., Miguel Veras and Sandra Martins - several other prominent musicians include Canada's James Hill (ukulele), José Manuel Neto (Portuguese guitar), Pedro Jóia (viola) and Norberto Gonçalves da Cruz (mandolin). With also the voices’ collaboration of the singers António Zambujo, Olga Cerpa (Spain), Chney Wa Gune (Mozambique), Luanda Cozetti and others.

As a result of this work Júlio Pereira prepared a new concert called "Praça do Comércio em ...".

 
       
Olga Cerpa   James Hill   José Manuel Neto   Pedro Jóia   António Zambujo


     

PRAÇA DO COMÉRCIO, DIGIBOOK's Preface - Rui Vieira Nery       

RECOGNITION AND DISCOVERY
Every time I listen to a new recording by Júlio Pereira my reaction is both of recognition and discovery. Recognition because there is always in it a personal signature in sound and style that is unmistakably his own, somewhat like the one you find in Django Reinhardt’s guitar, in Miles Davis’ trumpet, in Astor Piazzolla’s bandoneon or—if I am allowed some filial immodesty—in Raul Nery’s Portuguese guitar. The first few notes are

 

enough to tell us undoubtedly that it is Júlio playing, and this gives us the instant feeling of well-being that comes naturally from unexpectedly running across an old friend. But discovery also, however, since this highly individual hallmark never translates into in a mere repetition of formulas and clichés, but rather appears as a constant source of new ideas, new questions and new answers. In each new piece, even if the style and even the general form are familiar to us, the thematic material is always surprising and dealt with in ever inventive ways. And one should add that this creative process is never exhausted in the recorded version. Whenever we listen to one of his live performances of any of the tracks of his albums we fully realize that the recording was but a frozen sample of something that the presence of a live audience has every time the power of transforming into something new.

If I had to choose the most striking feature of Júlio’s music I would say without hesitation that it is the rhythm. Once again, the very first notes of each piece grab us with a strong rhythmic cadence, of the kind Portuguese nineteenth-century writer Camilo Castelo Branco, referring to Fado in his novel Eusébio Macário, used to claim that “puts unwilling tremblings in our buttocks”. Or, in other words, the beginning of each track plunges us into a voyage loaded with energy that will only be spent in the final chords, although not as much from the strong, steady beat as from a permanent flow of unpredictable musical ideas and solutions. Another quote comes to my mind, that of Bette Davis in All About Eve warning us: “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!”.

Another aspect that I find particularly interesting in this music is—once again—that of yet another apparent contradiction between, on one hand, an intrinsically Portuguese flavour and, on the other hand, a rich diversity of cosmopolitan references. We detect the presence of Portuguese traditional songs and dances such as the Vira, the Chula, the Fado or the Cante, even if they are always transformed and reprocessed without any search for folkloric “authenticity”, but they mingle with echoes of Celtic jigs, Brazilian choros, Cape Verdean mornas and coladeiras, Anglo-American folksongs, Appalachian bluegrass, Dixieland rhtythms or Mediterranean dances. The ultimate product, nevertheless, always reaffirms an identitary statement in which we, as Portuguese, instinctively recognize ourselves and like to be recognized. As Portuguese writer Miguel Torga liked to say: “The universal is the local without walls”.

This is why each new album by Júlio Pereira, at least since his epoch-making Cavaquinho, of 1981, which has such a decisive impact on Portuguese Popular Music, not only represents a relevant new chapter in the musician’s personal creative itinerary but also a significant contribution to the whole of a Portuguese musical living tradition, faithful to its roots but constantly searching for new paths and new dialogues, for identity and cross-cultural sharing, for old roots and new fruits.

 

 

 

Some samples from this album on Youtube