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Dead Combo & Camane at New Jersey Performing Arts Center

Ernest Barteldes By

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Dead Combo + Camané
New Jersey Performing Arts Center
Newark, NJ
March 15, 2015

On their NJPAC debut, the Lisbon-based duo formed by Tó Trips and Pedro V. Gonçalves walked silently onto the stage as a short video introduction was played. They immediately launched into "Povo Que Cais Descalco," an instrumental based around acoustic and electric guitar, immediately following "Waiting For Nick," a tune filled with distortion and fast riffs. The duo then briefly introduced themselves and followed with "Muidas e Motas," a song they mentioned roughly translates as "Girls and Motorbikes."

The duo had little to no interaction with the audience, and often performed with their heads down and with their backs almost turned from the audience. Their songs evoked various influences, going from Brazilian funk to fado—examples of the latter are "Rodada" and "Lisboa Mulata," two slow-tempo tunes with a more traditional feel. They also used various instruments, ranging from acoustic and electric guitars, acoustic bass and melodica throughout the set. Their set was more of a showcase comprising of nine tunes—the last being "Bunch," a very electric and rock-inflected tune that showcased their individual talents as soloists.

After a short intermission, fado singer Camané took to the stage backed by an acoustic trio formed by José Manuel Neto (Portuguese guitar), Carlos Manuel Proença (Spanish guitar) and Paulo Paz (acoustic bass) and performed a very traditional set that included "Mote" and "Quadras," two Fernando Pessoa poems set to music. Like most "fadistas," his songs spoke of the beauties of Lisbon, yearning for loves lost and the pain of being far away from home. Some of the tunes had a more humorous feel—for instance, "Eu Tinha Uma Amiga" told the story of a woman who would never pick up the phone when called—this happened repeatedly until finally the narrator finally gave up and said he "wasn't home" when she finally returned the calls.

One of the few prominent male voices in a genre dominated by female performers, Camané sang with great strength and charm—he included a few newer tunes and apologized at one point for having to read the lyrics to "Abandono," a tune he said would be part of an upcoming release. His trio was incredibly tight—Neto had some incredible individual moments—at one time the singer stopped singing so he would get the spotlight.
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