This is accordion music that isn't accordion music. It is, in fact, akin to those works dwelling somewhere between chamber, neoclassical, jazz, folk, and other genres, fused so beautifully that O Sorriso Da Manu readily becomes a feast for critical interpretation and appreciation. In the first cut alone (Ciculeta) can be found elements of the old serial minimal Reich/Matheny collaboration (Different Trains), Oregon, Gavin Bryars, tango, and myriad other genesis points. The opening to the second cut, Trilha Feita À Mão, is strongly reminiscent of a Towner / McCandless composition with Rainer Bruninghaus interpolations arising from a collegium in Sao Paolo before lowering into the sort of accordion improv one might expect from a cross between LaMonte Young and Astor Piazzola.
Then Nova picks up the tempo and heads for Ancient Future territory, a spritely dexterous track with killer clarinet work from Alexandre Ribeiro, Ferragutti's energetic accordion following behind, with a gamboling orchestra underscoring it all. Frequently, though, overall I was strongly minded of Erling Wold's practically unknown but quintessential soundtrack for Jon Jost's The Bed You Sleep In, a truly beautiful, indeed haunting, atmospheric work of quietly vivid imagistic powers. Trilha Feita a Làpis most clearly follows that mindset, but the entirety of Sorriso is imbued with the quality in greater or lesser measure throughout.
As I continued to listen, it was apparent the recording was unusual, but I found myself defeated in guessing just how the process went…until reading the promo lit (the CD liner is in, well, I'm not sure what tongue but it isn't English; Portuguese perhaps?) informing me that the gig was live, sans audience, in Brazil's FECAP Theater, and that's where the magic entered in: that confraternity demanding a simultaneity unique to a situation interpolating the compelling nature of live recitations but, in this case, in a more private disciplined ambience. Regardless, O Sorriso Da Manu isn't just a collection of an excellent composer's new opuses and playing but a look into the future, a preview of what's coming in the way of the sort of serious work that will define coming generations' notions of the possibilities of the increasingly hybridized state of Brazilian musics.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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