Biography Guitarist - Composer - Educator
Some of my Life in Music
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Rogerio Souza
Throughout the late 90s I had been arranging choro for the guitar, moving from pick to developing a "cross string" finger style. The counterpoint of the 7 string guitar always fascinated me. I made a number of these style arrangements and transcriptions of Dino Sete Cordas. The highlight of my trip to Brazil in 1998 was meeting Rogerio Souza. His amazing creativity and mastery of baixaria broke genre barriers in my mind. He performs a Brazilian improvisatory art that might breathe a different life into American jazz.

Rob Curto (accordion) and Robert DePietro (percussion) became regular playing partners. We did a little recording and many jobs further developing a sound on many styles of Brazilian music and the music of Hermeto. Ana was the singer who played with us when we weren't instrumental.

Rob Curto and Robert DePietro
She got Rob even more heavily involved in forro music. He started going regularly to Brazil and has become a really heavy musician with a strong commitment to Northeast music and choro.

Dionisio Santos moved here from Rio in '98 and got me really interested in the cavaquinho and all sorts of guitar music. He is a fantastic composer who few people have heard because he needs an orchestra to have some of his more elaborate works played. Right now you'd be able to hear his stuff in midi. Maybe I'm going ask him to let me post some of his compositions.

Dionisio Santos

Flamenco study began around this time because I wanted more insight into the workings of the guitar and I was still fascinated by the techniques of Rafael Rabello. His approach to melody arranged on guitar bore parallels to the devices of flamenco guitar. My study was directed toward concert guitar and was not for playing with singers and dancers. This would have been a huge investment of time but I could have learned far far more about flamenco, about compas with group experience. Pandeiro was a way to develop the right hand and now the techniques of flamenco guitar would supplant that instrument. With nails I needed for guitar, I wasn't going to develop my sound on pandeiro and was limited in doing roll technique.

A well-paying job for cavaquinho pushed me to cram in some study on that instrument. These days it is playing more a part of my music. It is a different voice than the guitar, an octave higher and choro melodies more easily sing on this instrument. The triad tuning leads to the most interesting fingerboard architecture, melodic fragments bleeding into closed voice chords.
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©2005 Billy Newman | Brooklyn, USA |