JWQ Showcase 2017

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

BRAZIL: Alexandre Ribeiro-De Pé Na Proa(2016)

Alexandre Ribeiro | De Pé Na Proa 
Alexandre Ribeiro showcases a new musical side, in “De Pé na Proa”.

By Carlos Calado

Not only he is one of the most brilliant Brazilian instrumentalists of the new generation, clarinetist and composer Alexandre Ribeiro demonstrates he is also a bold artist. With a booming career, pervaded by projects and partnerships that have been so far associated with “choro”, he was not afraid to take the risks of a musical adventure that resulted in the album “De Pé na Proa” – released with the record label Borandá’s seal of approval.

In this solo project, using the clarinet and the bass clarinet, Alexandre interprets nine compositions of his own authorship, almost all of them being made especially for this record. While creating them, he used diverse noises and sound effects produced by pedals and harmonizers – electronic resources used more frequently in pop music, contemporary jazz or electroacoustic music.

What encouraged Alexandre to use those resources was the possibility to record the clarinet’s sound and work with it. “Besides building a chord with the harmonizer, I can separate one of the voices in this chord and process it myself”, explains the musician why he was able to record by himself all ten tracks of the new album, including the “virtual wind section” which accompanies him in certain passages. The fact that this new repertoire does not include “choro” will probably surprise the fans of his previous work.

“I have always perceived “choro” or “samba” as music to be played with someone else, a duo, a quartet or even a regional” says the clarinetist, who has already recorded albums with guitar player Alessandro Penezzi (“Cordas ao Vento”, 2010), his own group (“Alexandre Ribeiro Quarteto”, 2014) and has participated in numerous records of other musicians. “For this solo project, I had a different sonority in mind. It would not make sense to make a “choro” record with electronic effects. I wanted to make another kind of music, with other sonorous resources” he justifies.

Since 2012, when he started to experiment the first electronic pedal (a Loop Station) to process the sounds of his clarinets, Alexandre researched many possibilities, until he found himself ready to make a record, using those resources. For the recording of “De Pé na Proa”, he used a Loop Station RC300 and a TC-Helicon harmonizer.

As encouragement to launch himself in a project like this, Alexandre recalls being important having watched concerts of musicians who use similar electronic resources, for example Argentinean clarinetist Marcelo Moguilevsky or North-American trumpeter Terence Blanchard. The first contact he had with composer Flo Menezes’ electroacoustic music, in the last decade, while Alexandre was getting his bachelor’s degree in clarinet at UNESP, was also very important influence.

“I like traditional music a lot, and I try to follow the steps of the clarinet masters, but, on the other hand, I admire the musicians who take their instruments beyond. When I discovered the possibility to introduce the clarinet into other sonorous circumstances, I felt like I should face this challenge.” Alexandre points out.

Born in the country city of São Simão in the Brazilian state of São Paulo, Alexandre started to study the clarinet when he was twelve, but before that he already strummed the “cavaquinho” at folias de Reis – a habit that he still maintains, every January. His father, a retired banker, passed on to his children the taste for diverse musical genres.

“On Sundays, when it was time to rest, he used to turn up the volume of the phonograph. Then, we would listen to Tião Carreiro, Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, and Pink Floyd or Camisa de Vênus. Maybe that is the reason why I have always liked a crazy sonority and audacities”, the musician comments.