:: These reviews were originally published
:: in Daniella Thompson on Brazil.


Rock stars of the mandolin

Mike Marshall & Hamilton de Holanda live and on disc.

Daniella Thompson

22 February 2007

Watching Mike Marshall and Hamilton de Holanda in concert is an experience that borders on the erotic. The two face each other, hardly ever looking at the audience. Mandolin virtuosos both, they feed on each other, egg each other on in unceasing flights of fancy, always seeking new ways to wrest maximum expression and surprise from their instruments.

Mike and Ham’s appearance on Wednesday, 21 February at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley was of this exhilarating kind. The two played the repertoire of their new CD, New Words (Novas Palavras), which is a potpourri of Brazilian and American music.

Although the CD is technically excellent and emotionally satisfying, the verve of the live performance isn’t as palpably present here as it was at the Freight. Happily, this lacuna is remedied by the inclusion of a DVD in the same package for practically the same price (how often have you seen that happen?). The DVD includes three of the evening’s big applause getters, all choro standards.

Ernesto Nazareth ends up as the duo’s big champion, with two tunes on the DVD. A true vindication for the composer who died penniless in 1934. A notable curiosity is Hamilton’s “Valsa em Si,” which eerily recalls Tito Madi’s “Cansei de Ilusões.” I was very tempted to break into Mentira, foi tudo mentira, você não me amou... during the performance of this tune.

Watch a video of “Blackberry Blossom/Apanhei-te Cavquinho” on Mike Marshall’s website.

Mike Marshall & Hamilton de Holanda:
New Words (Novas Palavras)

(Adventure Music AM1029 2; 2006) CD: 60 min.

01. Receita de Samba (Jacob Pick Bittencourt)
02. Blackberry Blossom; Apanhei-te Cavquinho
     (Traditional; Ernesto Nazareth)
03. Egypt (Mike Marshall)
04. Brejeiro (Ernesto Nazareth)
05. Valsa em Si (Hamilton de Holanda)
06. Cochichando (Pixinguinha)
07. Big Country (Bela Fleck)
08. Desvairada (Aníbal Augusto Sardinha “Garoto”)
09. São Jorge (Hermeto Pascoal)
10. Pra Sempre (Hamilton de Holanda)
11. Autumn Leaves (Joseph Kosma)
12. New Words (Hamilton de Holanda)
13. Ham & Mike (Mike Marshall)
14. Receita de Samba ‘Reprise’ (Jacob Pick Bittencourt)

01. Receita de Samba (Jacob Pick Bittencourt)
02. Blackberry Blossom; Apanhei-te Cavquinho
     (Traditional; Ernesto Nazareth)
03. Brejeiro (Ernesto Nazareth)


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