May 24 2013

Hamilton de Holanda & André Mehmari: GismontiPascoal

Enriching a Long-Standing Friendship



I first wrote about this album when I purchased the Brazilian version of the CD over a year ago. Now with the U.S. release on Adventure Music, a wider audience will have the opportunity to experience the phenomenal music these guys create in honor of Egberto Gismonti and Hermeto Pascoal. Special appearances by the honorees  make GismontiPascoal even more relevant. Here’s the story behind this timeless recording.

After their successful Continuous Friendship in 2008, André Mehmariand Hamilton de Holanda knew it would be just a matter of time before they got into a studio again for another project together. Versatile instrumentalists, André and Hamilton chose two similar cornerstone names of modern Brazilian music to be the focus of their latest release,  GismontiPascoal.

Composer, arranger, instrumentalist and musical producer Egberto Gismonti (Rio de Janeiro, 1947) started his musical education at six years of age. He studied with Jacques Klein and Aurélio Silveira, and when he traveled to Paris to further his education, his teachers were Jean Baralaque and Nádia Boulanger. Besides dividing his time between keyboards (piano, organ, synthesizer) and guitars (6, 8, 10, 12 and 14 strings), he also experimented with several other instruments, including indigenous flutes ocarina and jacuí. He is known as an artist who blends and brings together popular and erudite music. His first album, Egberto Gismonti, was released in 1969 and included “O Sonho,” a song first performed by the trio Três Moraes in the III International Song Festival in Rio de Janeiro. Fifty-plus albums later, he continues to dazzle Brazil and the international music community. He’s recorded and performed with a vast array of musical giants, such as Naná Vasconcelos, Walter Smetak, Charlie Haden, Jan Garbarek, Hermeto Pascoal and others.

Egberto Gismonti, André Mehmari, Hamilton de Holanda, Hermeto Pascoal

Egberto Gismonti, André Mehmari, Hamilton de Holanda, Hermeto Pascoal

Composer and instrumentalist Hermeto Pascoal (Alagoas, 1936) is also no stranger to the music world in Brazil and abroad. A self-taught musician, he began playing the accordion when he was ten years old. Keyboards, flutes, saxes, and synthesizers led to more sound experimentation with bottles, pots and pans and almost literally the kitchen sink! Moving from his hometown to Recife (Pernambuco) marked the beginning of his musical career. In 1950 he and his brother began performing at Tamandaré Radio in Recife. At the end of that decade, he moved to Rio de Janeiro and started performing in the groups lead by Fafá Lemos and Copinha. Hermeto has played and recorded with Sivuca, Airto Moreira, Geraldo Vandré, Marília Medalha, Edu Lobo, Miles Davis and others. One of his most ambitious undertakings was to write a song for each day of the year. That came to fruition in 2000, when he released his Calendário do Som (Sound Calendar).

Piano and 10-string mandolin reunite in this recording for a show of spontaneity and artistry with unparalleled beauty honoring Egberto Gismonti’s and Hermeto Pascoal’s music. In addition to featuring six of Hermeto’s and six of Egberto’s classics, André and Hamilton co-wrote their first partnership for this album, “GismontiPascoal,” and also included individual numbers written for this release. “GismontiPascoal” is first performed in a soft arrangement and serves as an overture-like piece. Just before closing the album, the theme is revisited in a longer and livelier arrangement. André and Hamilton nailed the honored composers’ styles so well in this first songwriting collaboration that listeners will embrace this composition with the same enthusiasm as the others performed in the album, such as the dynamic arrangement for “Bebê,” the evocative tone in “Memória e Fado” and the experimental showmanship in “Música das Nuvens e do Chão.”

Egberto Gismonti and Hermeto Pascoal also grace the album with a special appearance in their own compositions, “Fala da Paixão” and “Música das Nuvens e do Chão,” respectively. Very deservingly,GismontiPascoal was awarded the 2011 Prêmio de Música Brasileira as Best Instrumental Brazilian Music album.

You can learn more about the artists and music by going to their web sites: André Mehmari and Hamilton de Holanda.

Enjoy a short video of the opening track, “GismontiPascoal.”



Hamilton de Holanda & André Mehmari
GismontiPascoal – A Música de Egberto e Hermeto
Independent DOPO19 (2011) (Brazilian edition)
Adventure Music AM 1078 2 (2013)
Time: 78’01”


  1. GismontiPascoal (André Mehmari – Hamilton de Holanda)
  2. São Jorge (Hermeto Pascoal)
  3. Intocável (Hermeto Pascoal)
  4. Frevo (Egberto Gismonti)
  5. Sete Anéis (Egberto Gismonti)
  6. Palhaço (Egberto Gismonti)
  7. Bebê (Hermeto Pascoal)
  8. Memória e Fado (Egberto Gismonti)
  9. Fala da Paixão (Egberto Gismonti) – w/ Egberto Gismonti
  10. Chorinho pra Eles (André Mehmari)
  11. Menino Hermeto (Hamilton de Holanda)
  12. Santo Antonio (Hermeto Pascoal)
  13. Lôro (Egberto Gismonti)
  14. O Farol que Nos Guia (Hermeto Pascoal)
  15. GismontiPascoal – Festa (André Mehmari – Hamilton de Holanda)
  16. Música das Nuvens e do Chão (Hermeto Pascoal) – w/ Hermeto Pascoal