Naná Vasconcelos

Nana Vasconcelos was born on the Northeast Coast Brazil’s Recife. His roots can still be seen in all he does. Nana began playing guitar with his father at the age of twelve. He also played in the city’s marching bands. Inquisitiveness and intense curiosity drove Nana to study the music of Villa Lobos, Brazil’s greatest composer. He also became interested in Jimi Hendrix’s music. Nana eventually learned all the brazilian percussion instruments. He then became a specialist in the berimbau* in the early Sixties. Nana has been a master of the instrument and is now regarded as one of its most renowned players. Nana was able to play in almost any context, from street bands to symphonic orchestras in his hometown to the streets. Nana then moved to Rio de Janeiro to begin playing with Milton Nascimento, one of Brazil’s most famous singers. Nana was invited to join Gato Barbieri’s band in Rio, an Argentinian tenor player. They performed in New York, then traveled to Europe, beginning at the Montreux Jazz Festival, where Nana made a splash. Nana decided to remain in Paris after the tour was over. He recorded his first album, Africa Deus, while he was in Paris. Nana went back to Brazil, recorded Amazonas and started a long-lasting collaboration with guitarist Egberto Gismonti, which produced three albums of duets. He returned to New York and formed Codona along with Collin Walcott and Don Cherry. He also toured and recorded with Pat Metheny’s group. Nana has recorded with every band from B.B. Nana has recorded with everyone from B.B. King to Jean Luc Ponty and the Talking Heads since 1975, but has not allowed himself to be a studio musician. Each project has a unique contribution from him that goes beyond his usual role as a percussionist. Read more… Text contributed by users is available under Creative Commons BySA License. It may also be available under GNU FDL.

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