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Huw Warren: Global Music from a Local Perspective

Jakob Baekgaard By

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AAJ: You have immersed yourself in a lot of music, including world music. At your solo concert in Manchester, you especially talked about your love for Brazilian music. When did you fall in love with this music and how did it happen? Could you reveal any insider-tips?

HW: Ah, another huge subject! I think I first heard Hermeto Pascoal more than 30 years ago and was mesmerised by the extremes of beauty and craziness of this music. Through listening and playing with others, I found out more about the rhythmic basis of the music (especially the north-eastern grooves such as Baião, Forro, Frevo and Maracatu) as well as the more known forms of Samba, Bossa Nova etc. Hermeto is clearly interested in sonic exploration as well, and the whole combination of these elements really excited me.

After that I found other musicians such as Egberto Gismonti, before eventually discovering the lyric songwriting tradition of masters such as Tom Jobim, Chico Buarque, Caetano Veloso, Dori Caymmi and many others. Next up was discovering the Choro tradition and the wonderful older music of Pixinguinha (I played "Um a Zero" in the Manchester concert!) If all this sounds like I know a lot about Brasilian music, it's only the tip of the iceberg! With singer Maria Pia de Vito we have many listening sessions researching new material, and she will often play me music where there is a singer I've never heard of (let alone a song I don't know). The sheer vastness of Brazilian music reflects its huge physical size.

A shorter answer to your question is: fantastic grooves, wonderful harmony and amazing lyrics—what's there not to like?!!

AAJ: Finally, could you tell about your plans and projects for the future. How long will you be touring with this album and is there any hope that you might return to the solo format another time?

HW: The solo performances will continue—in fact I may well release some additional material that I recorded for Nocturnes and Visions as a kind of "extras" CD, and I'm fairly confident to return to the format in the future. In the mean time I have recorded a couple of CDs for Cam Jazz which will be out in 2019. "Everything in between" is a trio with bassist Dudley Phillips and drummer (and son) Zoot Warren—mixing original compositions with Brazilian music, and also a live duo CD (untitled at the moment) with saxophonist Mark Lockheart. I have also recorded a project based on welsh poet Dylan Thomas with Iain Ballamy, Steve Watts and Martin France which hopefully will see the light of day as a CD soon after. This of course, in addition to further projects and ongoing collaborations such as with June Tabor and Maria Pia de Vito.

Selected Discography:

Huw Warren, Nocturnes and Visions (Self Produced, 2018)

Quercus, Nightfall (ECM, 2017)

June Tabor/Iain Ballamy/Huw Warren, Quercus (ECM, 2013)

Maria Pia de Vito/Huw Warren, 'O pata pata (Parco Della Musica, 2011)

Huw Warren/Peter Herbert/Martin France, Hermeto+ (Basho, 2009)

Maria Pia de Vito/Huw Warren, Diálektoks (Parco Della Musica, 2008)

Lleuwan Steffan/Mark Lockheart/Huw Warren, Duw A Ŵyr (God Only Knows) (Babel Label, 2005)

The Orlando Consort and Perfect Houseplants, Extempore II (Harmonia Mundi, 2002)

Huw Warren, Infinite Riches in a Little Room (Babel Label, 2001)

Perfect Houseplants, New Folk Songs (Linn, 2000)

Photo Credit:

Ian Mackenzie-Thurley

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