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André Mehmari – Saturday Night’s a-Live @ The 415

February 21, 2021 @ 4:00 pm

André Mehmari

A little over one year ago, Brazilian pianist and composer André Mehmari wrote new works for his trio to premiere in a U.S. tour that included a performance at Kerrytown Concert House. That concert was among the pandemic’s first casualties but the new works remain as does the Mehmari’s desire to be with the House audience again. To bridge the time until then, Mehmari performs remotely from his state-of-the-art studio in São Paulo, Estudio Monteverdi. Joining him as special guest will be singer Mônica Salmaso.

The performance will feature the marriage of Mehmari’s skill as an improviser with his command of the musical literatures of three continents: European classical music, the Great American Songbook of the USA, and the literature of Brazil which emerged in parallel to its sibling to the north. Only a handful of musicians in the world have so vast a knowledge of repertoire, and even fewer have the ability to move between realms, discover relationships, and improvise seamless musical statements in real time. Mehmari’s ability to do so stems, in part, from his talent as a composer. His understanding of the intentions of other composers makes clear relationships among their works that others might overlook. In short, Mehmari has a global musical conversation going on inside his head all the time and the pianistic ability to express it.

André Mehmari is considered one of Brazil’s most talented musicians. His activities as pianist, composer, and arranger are highly regarded in both popular and classical music. As his compositions have been performed by leading orchestras such as Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo and chamber ensembles such as the São Paulo String Quartet, his career in jazz and Brazilian popular music has attained wide attention with performances in all of Brazil’s major jazz festivals and abroad at
Umbria Jazz in Italy and Juan Les-Pins in France.

Born in 1977 in Niteroi (RJ), he began to study music with his mother at the age of five, and completed an organ course in the Conservatory of Ribeirao Preto (SP). At age ten, having taught himself jazz improvisation, he wrote his first compositions; and, at 15, while teaching organ in the Conservatory, he was invited to compose a method for keyboard beginners. The result was a 20-piece collection, a work
greatly appreciated by young musicians and their teachers. Mehmari’s precociousness as a composer and multi-instrumentalist was well documented by the media.

He began study at São Paulo State University in 1995 and, in the same year, won the University’s competition for original Brazilian popular music (MPB). Two years later, the same honor was awarded to him for classical music. Both his performing schedule and composing activity grew busier as he began touring and writing orchestral arrangements for major musical events. In 1998, he won the first national Prêmio VISA de MPB competition, the most important award for popular music in Brazil. The competition’s prize is the recording of a new CD, which became Mehmari’s first release and brought him concert opportunities throughout Brazil.

Born in São Paulo in 1971, Mônica Salmaso is one of the most highly regarded voices of her generation in Brazil.

Originally intending to become a journalist, she changed career plans after a month of voice lessons, an activity she took up for relaxation. A friend introduced her to a theater director in need of a young singer, and thus began her professional life on stage.

After a period of working with a variety of groups, in 1995 she started her solo career and recorded Afro Sambas with guitarist Paulo Bellinati. In 1998, some of Brazil’s foremost instrumentalists invited her to join Orquestra Popular de Câmera, with whom she sang, but without lyrics, blending into the ensemble as another instrument.

Later that year, she recorded her first solo album, entitled Trampolim. The following year she entered the competition for the Prêmio Visa de MPB, Brazil’s most prestigious award for Música Popular Brasileira (Brazilian Popular Music) and, out of a field of 1,200 entrants, was chosen as its winner. Part of her prize was the recording of a new album which, in 1999, became Voadeira. Before the year was done, the Associação Paulista dos Críticos de Arte gave her their award as best singer, another important achievement considering the distinction of this community of arts journalists.

Her fourth album, Iaiá, was released in 2004 to critical acclaim as she affirmed her insightful selection of material across many generations of Brazilian composers and styles. She then appeared in the film Vinicius, a documentary directed by Miguel Faria Jr. about the life and work of composer Vinicius de Moraes, Brazil’s most popular poet and lyricist of the 20th century. Another giant of Música Popular Brasileira, the singer, composer, and author Chico Buarque, asked Salmaso to sing with him on his 2006 album Carioca.

In 2007, Salmaso recorded her next album, Noites de gala, samba na rua, comprised of songs composed by Chico Buarque with the quintet Pau Brasil joining her as special guests. Her next work, Alma Lírica Brasileira, was released in 2011 and earned her the distinction of best singer in the 23rd Prêmio da Musica Brasileira awards. The DVD of the same name was recorded one year later and won the 24th Prêmio da Musica Brasileira in 2013 as best music DVD. Her newest album is Corpo de Baile (2014), devoted to songs by the esteemed team of composer Guinga and lyricist Paulo César Pinheiro, and includes unpublished works some of which were written forty years ago.



February 21, 2021
4:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


Kerrytown Concert House
415 N. 4th Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48104 United States
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