Mandolin Maestro @ The Embassy of BrazilShare Event on Facebook Share Event on Twitter Share Event on LinkedIn
A mandolin is not an instrument that grabs me. A bit like the piano accordian and the bagpipes actually but given the right time, the right musician then I can be persuaded to think differently. Canberra’s own Mandolin Orchestra did that when I slipped into All Saints Church in Ainslie a couple of years ago to be enchanted by the sound this local orchestra produced and the learning curve about the history of the mandolin.
Originally from Naples to hear it played in a church was a far cry from the rock music of Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and The Who finding a place for the mandolin in their lineups where as the Mumford and Sons use of it is fantastic.
So with my limited mandolin memories I was not prepared for the virtuosity of Hamilton de Holanda playing solo at a small reception for him at the Embassy of Brazil. As a guest artist for The Street Theatre’s Capital Jazz Project this was a case of value adding so the local Brazilians could get up close and personal with this amazing artist whose credentials with the 10 string mandolin, called a bandolim, are extensive. He’s got a couple of Latin Grammys at home in Brasilia, teaches the unique ‘choro’ music of Brazil and plays contemporary jazz and samba as well and while he’s called the Jimi Hendrix of the Bandolim it’s not a label he’s comfortable with and the unfortunate disintegration of the wooden waste paper bins he was tapping his feet on was as close as he got to rock and roll extremes.
Then with a couple of notes he was heading up that Stairway to Heaven, to show he could, but most of this mini concert was about the lament like choro serenades of Brazil, his own compositions and a whole lot of music we’d never heard.
He has played with the Buena Vista Social Club in Corsica at the Patrimonio Festival and counts some of their musicians among his favourites so I encouraged him to go to Cuba to continue that relationship, to wander the streets and feel the change in the air and get ready to play Cuba’s most famous song, Guantanamera again and again and again at their little club in Havana.