música mineira project

This project is a very special one indeed.

Presented originally on October 24, 2012 at the New School Jazz Performance Space, música mineira is dedicated solely to music from the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais (MG), featuring pieces from the most influential composers in that region:

Milton Nascimento, Toninho Horta, Sérgio Santos, Ary Barroso and João Bosco.

Richard Boukas, reknown Brazilian music educator, is musical director and prepared all arrangements and transcriptions for the professional ensemble.

The debut concert was not only a celebration of the contemporary music and culture of Minas Gerais, but an appropriate way to acknowledge New School Jazz's Exchange Program with Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG). In fact, two of the guest performers, Maria Elisa Pompeu (vocals) and Peu Cardoso (guitar) were the two students from UFMG who launched the program. 

To download a pdf of the FULL PROGRAM including selections, foreword, notes on the pieces, composers and artist bios:

musica mineira program notes

Read the Foreword graciously written by featured composer Sérgio Santos.

Remix and mastering by Tom Jorgensen.

1. Bala Com Bala
(João Bosco)     2. Ánima (Milton Nascimento)
3. Aqui Oh (Toninho Horta)          4. Batuira (Sérgio Santos)
5. Tamborá Odayá (Mestre Jonas, João Antunes)
6. Duro Com Duro (Ary Barroso)
7. Travessia           8. Vera Cruz (Milton Nascimento)


música mineira highlights

música mineira ensemble (left to right):

Lucas Pino (saxophones)
Gustavo Amarante (bass)
Richard Boukas (acoustic guitar, vocals, musical director/arranger,
New School Jazz faculty)
Arthur Hnatek (drums, percussion)
Jill Ryan (flute)
Maria Elisa Pompeu (vocals, cavaquinho)
Peu Cardoso (seven-string acoustic guitar)
Chris Stover (trombone, New School Jazz faculty)

UFMG (Federal University of Minas Gerais) exchange students Maria Elisa Pompeu and Peu Cardoso with
música mineira director Richard Boukas.

Maria Elisa Pompeu singing composition by Mestre Jonas and João Antunes.

Richard Boukas performing "Corpo" by Sérgio Santos
Foreword to música mineira

The music of Minas Gerais has historically been characterized as having endured distinct influences. On one side was the European influence– in particular the Baroque period of the eighteenth century, whose exploitation of gold attracted to the region a religious culture producing such composers as Lobo de Mesquita and Manoel de Oliveira Dias. On the other side, already since the colonial era, was also the marked influence of African culture brought by the slaves who exploited the gold mines. In their religious ceremonies, they sounded their drums and their mixed African beliefs with the Catholic church. It is this sum of European and African influences which forms the origins of the music of Minas.

Over the following centuries, it developed into a modern music of the late twentieth century, gathering and assimilating new influences. And so it went until the legendary Clube da Esquina, which added the influence of American jazz and music of the Beatles. This mixture, led by the overpowering talent of Milton Nascimento, influenced musicians around the world, demarcating its own way of making music.

Música mineira has as its principal feature a preoccupation with harmonic elaboration and sophistication, supported greatly in part by the modal harmony brought by Milton– and sustaining equally elaborate melodies where each note seems to have been the best choice for each chord. Holding a unique place in Brazilian music, the music of Minas emanating from this original matrix continues today in its evolution, adding new influences from the newer generations of musicians. Certainly, at any time and in any language, it will always be impossible to think of Brazilian music without taking into account the contribution of the music created in Minas Gerais.

Sérgio Santos
composer, guitarist, vocalist
Biscoito Fino recording artist
Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil

translation by Richard Boukas

leia em português