Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Bluegrass to Brazil

Big Apple fusion mix comes to Harrison March 8

Released by Mel Dunster, Harrison Festival Society



orn out of New York's vibrant musical culture, Matuto (a Portuguese slang word meaning ‘country boy’), will be sharing their deep love of American roots music and genuine Brazilian styles at the historic Harrison Memorial Hall on Saturday, March 8 at 8:00pm.


The music of Matuto draws inspiration both from the Brazilian roots music that band leaders Clay Ross and Rob Curto (forró’s foremost ambassador in the US) have spent years passionately studying and from the American roots music that’s surrounded them since birth. Their original sound can sway hips just as easily as spark insights.


Drawing on Northeastern Brazil’s folkloric rhythms like forró, maracatu, or coco, and on deep Americana—from bluegrass to spirituals to swampy Louisiana jams—Matuto uses unexpected Pan-American sonic sympathies to craft appealing, rootsy, yet philosophical tales of love, self-discovery, nostalgia, and true peace.


"Matuto performs a type of music not yet well known in North America but is perhaps the most popular music in Northeastern Brazil," explains Harrison Festival Society Artistic Director, Andy Hillhouse, "The groove of Forró music resembles Cajun music in many ways and is infectious in its danceability."


The band features guitar, accordion, bass, drums, and various Brazilian percussion instruments: the alfaia (a large, wooden, rope-tuned bass drum), the pandeiro (a Brazilian tambourine), the berimbau (a single-string on a bow struck with a small stick), and the agogô (a pair of small, pitched metal bells) as well as brings together some of the best musicians working across NYC’s diverse jazz, roots and world music scenes, like Brazilian percussionist Zé Mauricio, drummer Chris Berry, and bassist Mike Lavalle.


Matuto welds these many influences into a uniquely danceable soundscape. On stage, the instruments swirl together, bobbing in and out, whirling around the tension at the core of Matuto’s music: the push and pull between the Latin syncopations of Brazilian roots music and the folk traditions of the American South. It’s Bluegrass meets Brazil. An unlikely combination on paper, but not in person. On the dance floor it just feels right.


"Matuto is unique in their tendency to fuse forró with Appalachian music, a surprising blend that works well," says Hillhouse.  "Bringing Matuto to Harrison is part of an overall vision to introduce Brazilian styles outside of the bossa nova and samba music that people normally associate with Brazil."


Tickets for Matuto are $22.00 and can be purchased online at, by phone at 604 796 3664 or in person at the Ranger Station Art Gallery in Harrison and Agassiz Shoppers Drug Mart on Pioneer Ave. 


About the Harrison Festival Society

Each July the Society produces the Harrison Festival of the Arts, a 9 day, cross disciplinary, multicultural art event on the beautiful shores of Harrison Lake, BC. The Festival is now celebrating its 36th year. The Society, incorporated in 1988, also presents an annual Season of the Performing Arts from September to April. A non-profit, community-based organization, the Society works closely with a number of partners in the Fraser Valley to continue bringing high quality arts into the area.


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