The Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) is a fairly cavernous auditorium, with a capacity of perhaps some five hundred or so. Yet, for Guillermo Rozenthuler - 'Brazil, Meu Amor' every last seat was occupied and indeed, people had to turned away at the door!
Even given that the SOAS Concert Series tends to be popular, and that Rozenthuler has a not inconsiderable following in London, this had to be no mean feat indeed. Until now, London based Argentinean Rozenthuler has been primarily renowned as an extraordinarily fine tango singer - one of the best of his generation - and singer-songwriter. And although Brazilian composers such as Tom Jobim and others and classic bossa novas and sambas have been part of his repertoire for corporate events and the like for some twenty years, it is only relatively recently that Rozenthuler began his deep love love affair with Brazilian music.
Hence, his current series of Guillermo Rozenthuler - 'Brazil, Meu Amor' performances, which commenced the previous week at St. Ethelburga's. And long may it continue and go from strength to strength.
Rozenthuler was in as fine voice as ever and his guitar was as superb as ever last night. He was accompanied by long time collaborator, the award winning pianist John Turville on keys, Javier Fioramonti on bass guitar, Andres Ticino on percussion and guest vocalist and percussionist Mishka Adams.
Radiating his usual charm, charisma and sheer stage presence, Rozenthuler presented a variety of Brazilian songs by a variety of composers. The performance really came to life when he moved to the Brazilian North East, home of some of Brazil's most exciting music. Rozenthuler, also an experienced and highly in demand singing and group singing teacher, got the audience to participate with ease and charm, and two encores ensued.
Somehow, time had just flown by and the set seemed all too short, even though in reality it had lasted nearly an hour and a half. The variety and breadth of Brazilian music presented in this relatively short time was remarkable. Yet, one could not help but feel that the programme would have been enhanced by including the odd classic Barroso, or Jobim or Donato bossa.
Still, all in all this was an excellent performance. Last night's Guillermo Rozenthuler - 'Brazil, Meu Amor' was a resounding success with the audience and a memorable event. It will be fascinating to see what directions Rozenthuler will yet take with this project. In any event, one hopes to see and hear much more of this.
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