Featuring brothers a Washington Post reviewer has called “the best two-guitar team in existence,” the Assad Family will bring an eclectic program of Brazilian and Latin American music to Bates College’s Olin Arts Center on Sunday, April 6 at 7 p.m.
Tickets for this Olin Arts Alive concert are $22, available at batestickets.com. Limited free tickets are available for students and seniors (ages 65-plus) at bit.ly/oacbates. Olin Arts Center is located at 75 Russell Street in Lewiston. For more information, call 786-6163 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Forming the Assad Family’s nucleus are guitarists Sérgio and Odair Assad. Renowned as the Assad Brothers, they play original compositions, classical, jazz and diverse musics of Latin America and their native Brazil. They are joined by their sister, Badi Assad, renowned as a singer and instrumentalist; Sérgio’s daughter, Clarice Assad, a composer and singer; and Odair’s daughter, Carolina Assad, a singer. Their performances incorporate various elements of Brazilian music, including folk and pop.
As a duo, the Assad Brothers have set new standards for guitar innovation, ingenuity and expression. Their exceptional artistry and uncanny ensemble playing stem from a family background rich in Brazilian musical tradition and from their studies with the guitar-lutenist Monina Távora, a disciple of Andrés Segovia.
The brothers have worked extensively with renowned artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Fernando Suarez Paz, Paquito D’Rivera, Gidon Kremer and Dawn Upshaw. Their duo repertoire includes music composed by Sérgio and his reworkings of folk and jazz music; Latin music of many styles; transcriptions of the great Baroque keyboard music of Bach, Rameau and Scarlatti; and adaptations of works by composers as diverse as Gershwin, Ginastera and Debussy.
In 2008, they performed on Yo-Yo Ma’s chart-topping release “Songs of Joy & Peace” (Sony Classical), which also featured guest appearances by James Taylor and Dave Brubeck. The recording includes Sérgio’s composition “Família,” with Badi, Clarice, and Carolina among the performers. The CD topped both the classical and the mainstream Billboard charts and won a Grammy for Best Classical Crossover. In 2012, they premiered a performance of a new concerto, written for them by Clarice, at the Pro-Musica Chamber Orchestra in Columbus, Ohio.
In 1987, at age 17, Badi was named “Best Brazilian Guitarist” at the International Villa Lobos Festival. At age 18, she recorded her first solo album and was selected to perform in “Mulheres de Hollanda,” a theatrical collage of songs by Brazilian composer Chico Buarque that ran for more than a year.
Today she is known as a fearless barrier-breaker and experimenter. She transcends traditional styles of her native Brazilian music with a mixture of pop, jazz and folk sounds from around the world. An extraordinary singer, guitarist and percussionist, she is forging an exhilarating genre of music that defies categorization.
She has recorded for Chesky Records, whose release of her “Rhythms” won Guitar Player Magazine’s Readers’ Poll for Best Classical Album; for PolyGram; and for Deutsche Grammophon, whose 2006 release of her “Wonderland” was selected as one of the BBC’s 100 Best CDs and Amazon.com’s 30 Best.
Clarice has performed professionally since age 7. Well-established in the United States as a classically trained composer, pianist and vocalist, she is serving this year as the Albany Symphony’s composer-educator partner. As part of her residency, she is curating a major educational project with a local school and will join the orchestra for a performance of her “Concerto for Scat-Singer, Piano and Orchestra” in May.
Her latest solo recording, an album of originals and interpretations of Brazilian songs called “Home” (Adventure Music), prompted an All-Music Guide reviewer to observe: “[S]he’s a talent quite beyond compare.”
In 2004, when the brothers – along with Badi, Clarice, Carolina, Sergio’s son Rodrigo, and their parents, Jorge and Angelina – toured North America for the first time as The Assad Family, a reviewer for the Los Angeles times wrote: “There was never any doubt that the music would be world-class… The flow of talent [has not diminished] with this third generation, each of whom displayed impressive potential: Clarice’s mobile voice and compositional skills and Carolina’s warm-toned vocalizing… The best aspect of the program was its remarkable sense of creative intimacy, of talented generations enjoying the rare opportunity to make music together.”
The present Assad Family lineup took shape in 2011. Their 2014 program includes their newest suite, “Da Volta As Raises” (“Back to Our Roots”).