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Yamandu Costa & Hamilton de Holanda: Live!

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Yamandu Costa and Hamilton de Holanda are renowned in Brazil on their respective instruments, the seven-string guitar (violão) and the ten-string mandolin (bandolim). This 2008 concert in Brazil is their first recorded release, memorable duet performances that will surely broaden their following internationally.

Their uncanny rapport enables them to play technically brilliant, intricate passages without stepping on each other’s toes. There are no extended solos on any of the 11 selections, and yet they are able to continuously astound the listener without any indulgent displays. Their musicianship and passion are both focused solely on communicating with the audience, which responds with adoring appreciation.

Highlights are numerous and varied as they explore a repertoire that (except for one) consists of original tunes written by one or both of these sublime string artists. “Samba de Véio” exhibits a floating interweaving of lines, while “Samba for Rapha” is a distinctively fresh take on the form. On “Chamamé,” they effectively utilize contrasting dynamics to enhance their filigreed interplay. “Sweet” contains a delicate, romantic wistfulness, and “Light of Dawn” is a very moving ballad. “01 Byte 10 Strings” is reminiscent of “Samba de Orpheus,” a nuanced tour de force with especially fiery de Holanda mandolin. “Whispered” is a particularly good example of how flawlessly they can alternate phrases of a melody, and then improvise contrapuntally. A glistening, cascading beauty envelops their rendition of “Flowers of Life.” “Seasons” is an exciting flamenco-flavored romp.

This is a CD that many will find demands repeated listens.

Originally Published