Concert on October 22, 2006
When the announcement was made that Ceumar would tour through Holland and Belgium with a trio of Dutch musicians, I was pleasantly surprised and curious too. Ceumar is a musician with a heart for the Brazilian tradition in her music. How would her music sound when accompanied by a jazz trio from Holland (piano, bass, drums)?
The musicians met for the first time in Brazil. Drummer Olaf Keus and pianist Mike del Ferro performed at the same festival as Ceumar. Struck by the beauty of Ceumar’s voice and music, the musicians arranged a meeting which resulted in a mutual desire to work together. The next step was this tour through the Low Lands. Pianist Mike del Ferro from Amsterdam has seen all corners of the world, working with musicians of various styles and nationalities. He’s also a regular pianist for Toots Thielemans. Drummer Olaf Keus, also from Amsterdam, has studied Latin rhythms in Cuba and Brazil, African rhythms in Africa (Senegal, Guinée and Zaire) and clearly knows what the music is about. He names Brazilian drummer Kiko Freitas (Nosso Trio) among one of his favorites. On bass Frans van der Hoeven was invited. He has accompanied jazz stars like Woody Shaw, Clark Terry, Art Farmer, Tom Harrell and many others.The trio obviously worked very hard to get acquainted with the repertoire of the charismatic singer from Minas Gerais. They managed very well to produce the right mixture of the music from Ceumar with a tasteful wink to their own jazz background. It gave the singer the freedom to perform her music in a comfortable way.
The concert’s repertoire was mainly chosen from Ceumar’s three well received cds (Dindinha, Sempre Viva and the recent Achou!). Especially songs by Zeca Baleiro (like “Dindinha” and “Cantiga”) and Chico César‘s “Geofrey” (all from Ceumar’s debut album) sounded impressive. The arrangements were done with respectful care and showed again how flexible Brazilian music is when it’s in the hands of good musicians. Each of the instrumentalists had an equally valuable input. Mike del Ferro’s soloing was a trademark of good taste and virtuosity. Ceumar was in great shape; her vocal range is amazing and crystal clear in every register. The audience appreciated it. The venue was packed with people who didn’t know at all what to expect. The majority had never heard of Ceumar (her cds are unfortunately not available in this part of Europe) and also the trio didn’t ring too many bells in Belgium. But the choice for the Antwerp Zuiderpershuis (a beautiful old nostalgic building close to the Scheldt River) was a good one. Their loyal audience is more than willing to widen their cultural horizon. This night that attitude was rewarded with a memorable performance. It’s what happens more and more in Europe. There’s a growing interest in the arts from other cultures, music in particular. The cooperation between Ceumar and the Mike del Ferro trio contributed to that sentiment in the best possible way: a delightful mixture of two completely different cultures. When people are treated with good music like this, it’s likely that the interest can only grow more.
All photos ©2006 Kees Schoof