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Spok Frevo Orquestra

March 18, 2012

You know, every time you think you know a little bit about music, you learn you don’t.  A recent complete surprise and delight was the US debut of the Spok Frevo Orquestra at Lincoln Centers free atrium concert last Thursday night.  I’m afraid to ask if maestro Inaldo Cavalcante de Albuquerque’s nickname ‘Spok’ might be a pointy-eared reference, and come to think of it he did keep his hat on most of the evening…  Regardless this 17 piece orchestra took the NY audience where they have never gone before.

The Orquestra hails from Pernambuco (where all the best wood, for all the best violin bows in the world come from).  Riffing off charted arrangements, this carnival street music is transformed through straight up melody, improvisational solos and the hallmark big band four saxophones rising in unison to blow right at you.  One middle-of-a-song duet featured a sax and clarinet in a decidedly Baroque-Italianette language.  The pace is merenge-like and the result is a hyperkanetic kick that says you should be dancing.  This is a far cry from the string based instrumentals, now super-electric, trio electrico frevo carnival music you may have heard.  Then again frevo began when a brass military band in the early 1900s decided to amp up a march, transforming itself into a pepband.  The word frevo is variously derived from and implying; fever, excite and boil.

Spok Frevo Orquestra are back in New York up in Purchase on March 29th and you learn more about the group and see their remaining US schedule @ http://vo-music.com/artiste.php?id=47&lang=en

A quick word about the LC David Rubenstein Atrium.  The sound is great, the setting intimate, Target sponsors a free show there every Thursday and its booked by the best ear in the biz who consistently brings wonderful music to New York, Bill Bragin.

Thanks to Lucy Silva and NicholasLucciani for supplying photos from the show.

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