A Nossa Bossa

Hastings Philharmonic, The Tabernacle, Saturday 13 January 2017


Who would have thought that four musicians could so easily transform the lower hall at Hastings Tabernacle into a South American nightclub? The large, closely packed audience, the low lighting, and the magnificent music at such close quarters, was all it took to provide one of the finest musical experiences we have had for many years.

This was the most recent in the new series of events launched last year to embrace within Hastings Philharmonic an impressively wide range of music. Following the Christmas Concert – and before the baroque concert in St Clements on 4th February – we had an evening given over to Bossa Nova.

Marcio da Silva, who both sang and played guitar, was joined by Ariel Gragnani on guitar, Elena Marigomez on Bass and Emmanuel McDonald on percussion.

Ariel Gragnani

The first half was rather more traditional in terms of recital music but focused entirely on Latin America for its source. Aril Gragnani gave us three solo guitar pieces by Villa-Lobos which included the Scottish Choro. All three were in rondo form, returning us each time to the evocative melody which tends to linger long after the piece has finished. Marcio then sang Manuel de Falla’s Siete canciones populares. Though the songs come from many different parts of Spain they have a linking sense of angst or lament, even when the accompaniment is lighter in texture. Throughout Ariel Gragnani’s playing had been absolutely perfect for the acoustic of the venue.

After the interval they were joined by Elena Marigomez on Bass and Emmanuel McDonald on percussion for a selection of Bossa Nova and Samba numbers. These included well done songs by Tom Jobin – Desafinado, Meditação & Wave – and Zequinha de Abreu’s Tico tico no fubá.

The evening ended with Garota de Ipanema by Tom Jobim, more familiar to us as The Girl from Ipanema. We were encouraged to pick up the rhythm and sing along gently with Marcio. A splendid end to a wonderful evening. If all the other concerts in the series are as musically secure and well attended as this, the venture cannot, surely, fail.

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