Performance Wednesday, October 13, 2010 | 9 PM

Cyro Baptista's Vira Loucos

Zankel Hall
Feel the passion and virtuosity of Brazil’s rich musical heritage with percussion wizard Cyro Baptista. A native of São Paulo, Baptista and his band re-interpret the folk music Villa-Lobos used in the works that made him Brazil’s most famous composer. It’s a fresh, new perspective on a national hero by the most notable musical export from Brazil today.


  • Cyro Baptista, Percussion
  • John Zorn, Saxophone
  • Kevin Breit, Electric Guitar
  • Michael Ward-Bergeman, Accordion
  • Romero Lubambo, Guitar
  • Shanir Blumenkranz, Bass
  • Tim Keiper, Drums
  • Vanessa Falabella, Vocals


    Program is approximately 90 minutes and will be performed without intermission


  • Cyro Baptista

    Cyro Baptista is a Brazilian percussionist and composer whose vast experience and penchant for innovation has made him one of the most respected percussionists in the world.

    Since arriving in the US from his native Brazil in 1980, Baptista has lent his sounds to many Grammy Award-winning records and more than 300 albums with many of the most distinguished musicians in the world.

    Baptista has ongoing collaborations with Paul Simon, Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis, Yo-Yo Ma, John Zorn, Trey Anastasio (Phish), Sting, and numerous others. In short, if you've listened to the radio in the past 30 years, chances are you have heard his caxixi, pandeiro, or one of his (now famous) homemade instruments.

    Baptista has produced seven CDs of his own and regularly performs with his four differing ensembles: Banquet of the Spirits; Beat the Donkey; Supergenerous; and the Robison, Lubambo, and Baptista Trio.

    With his phenomenal ensemble, Beat the Donkey, Baptista gives free reign to his imagination, combining music and humor with dance and martial arts, while also mixing instruments from Brazil, America, Indonesia, and Africa with unusual inventions of his own. Supergenerous, a duo with Canadian guitarist Kevin Breit, has released two CDs on Blue Note Records. The Robison, Lubambo, and Baptista Trio-a collaboration with acclaimed classical flutist Paula Robison and Brazilian guitarist Romero Lubambo, performs regularly in classical music festivals around the world.

    Baptista's latest album, Infinito, marks the culmination of a 30-year career that has spanned every genre of music from jazz to classical, experimental to world and rock.

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  • John Zorn

    Drawing on his experience in a variety of genres-including jazz, rock, hardcore punk, classical, klezmer, film, cartoon, popular, and improvised music-John Zorn has created an influential body of work that defies academic categories. A native of New York City, he has been a central figure in the downtown scene since 1975, incorporating a wide range of musicians in various compositional formats. He learned alchemical synthesis from Harry Smith, structural ontology with Richard Foreman, how to make art out of garbage with Jack Smith, cathartic expression at Sluggs, and hermetic intuition from Joseph Cornell. Early inspirations include American innovators Ives, Cage, Carter, and Partch; the European tradition of Berg, Stravinsky, Boulez, and Kagel; soundtrack composers Herrmann, Morricone, and Stalling; as well as avant-garde theater, film, art, and literature. Zorn also serves as the Artistic Director of The Stone, and is the founder and executive producer of Tzadik Records.

    The Garage Theatre Group's Youth Conservatory Chorus

    The Garage Theatre Group (GTG) is a nonprofit professional theater company in residence at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey. The Garage Theatre Group's Youth Conservatory Chorus comprises elite members of The Garage Theatre Group's Youth Conservatory.

    GTG provides outstanding theatrical learning experiences that develop leadership, emphasize responsibility, and foster teamwork in a supportive and respectful environment. Under Artistic Director Michael Bias, the unique family atmosphere successfully uses theater performances and classes to develop a strong sense of self-esteem and to nurture social and communication skills. GTG is committed to providing an enriching theatrical experience in schools, thereby reinforcing the positive role the arts play in academic success.

    GTG believes in the power of theater as a tool for growth, understanding, and communication. Its aim is to use the process and the product of theater to educate, inform, and connect the surrounding community.

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  • Kevin Breit

    Kevin Breit is a veteran of the recording studio. His unique sound and ability to play a seemingly endless array of instruments have made him one of the most sought after session guitarists in the world. Breit has recorded with Norah Jones, Rosanne Cash, Susana Baca, Bill Frisell, k.d. lang, Cassandra Wilson, Holly Cole, Amos Lee, Jane Siberry, Jeb Loy Nichols, Molly Johnson, Serena Ryder, Lou Reed, Dean McTaggart, Ani DiFranco, Natalie MacMaster, Marc Jordan, Carlos del Junco, Jane Bunnett, Janis Ian, Barra MacNeils, the Rankins, The Wailin' Jennys, Lynn Miles, Ian Tyson, Celine Dion, Michael Kaeshammer, Andrea Koziol, Melanie Doane, Susan Crowe, Patti Scialfa, and many others. In total, Breit has performed on recordings that have earned 13 Grammy Awards.

    In addition to recordings with Cyro Baptista, Breit has recorded two albums with Harry Manx, for which they received a Maple Blues Award for Best Acoustic Act. In 2004, Breit was honored with a Musician of the Year Award from the Toronto Musicians Association. He was also awarded a Gemini Award for his collaboration with Measha Brueggergossman for Both Sides Now ... A Celebration of Joni Mitchell. With his band the Sisters Euclid, he has recorded six CDs and received a Juno Award for Run Neil Run. Breit's trio, Folkalarm, has recorded five CDs and has toured extensively throughout Canada.
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  • Michael Ward-Bergeman

    Michael Ward-Bergeman is a passionate performer, songwriter, and composer. His sensitive and creative approach to music making has led to performances and collaborations with world-class musicians and composers from across a range of genres.

    Ward-Bergeman aims to remain faithful to the spirit that unites many of the world's richest music traditions, while continuing to develop his own unique voice. On the accordion, he has created innovative performance techniques that work in harmony with his inspired use of 21st-century technology. His vision has reached its culmination in the hyper-accordion, an acoustic accordion with extended range and expressive capabilities.

    Ward-Bergeman has enjoyed a close friendship and working relationship with composer Osvaldo Golijov over the past decade. His work with the hyper-accordion has been featured in many of Golijov's compositions, including the Grammy nominated Ayre, written for soprano Dawn Upshaw, and Azul, a cello concerto written for Yo-Yo Ma.

    Ward-Bergeman is a founding member of the American Roots music trio Groanbox. They have released four recordings and toured extensively throughout the UK. In January 2009, the group collaborated with composer David Bruce and New York City's Metropolis Ensemble on a unique program of new works by Bruce and Ward-Bergeman, and a set of original music by Groanbox.

    Ward-Bergeman is committed to sharing his music with as wide an audience as possible. To this end, he has performed in pubs, bars, hospitals, nursing homes, schools, metro stations, village halls, churches, festivals, concert venues, and on street corners throughout the world.

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  • Romero Lubambo

    From the cool, sophisticated rhythms of his native Brazil to hard bop, Romero Lubambo is a guitarist comfortable in any musical setting. He is an uncommonly gifted soloist, always having a steady stream of unpredictably creative musical thoughts and the virtuosity to deliver them ever so tastefully. Romero's guitar playing brings together the styles and rhythms of his native Brazilian musical heritage with his fluency in the American jazz tradition to form a distinctive new sound.

    After arriving in New York City, Lubambo quickly established himself as a session and touring guitarist-in demand not only for his authentic Brazilian sound, but also for his command with a variety of styles.

    Lubambo has performed and recorded with many outstanding artists, including Dianne Reeves, Michael Brecker, Yo-Yo Ma, Kathleen Battle, Diana Krall, Herbie Mann, Wynton Marsalis, Luciana Souza, Kurt Elling, Jane Monheit, Kenny Barron, Gal Costa, Cyro Baptista, Sérgio and Odair Assad, Ivan Lins, Grover Washington Jr., Vernon Reid, Flora Purim and Airto Moreira, Sadao Watanabe, Paquito D'Rivera, Harry Belafonte, Larry Coryell, Gato Barbieri, Leny Andrade, James Carter, Paula Robison, Regina Carter, and Cesar Camargo Mariano, among many others. He has also established himself as a composer and performer on his own critically acclaimed recording projects, as well as on those of Trio Da Paz, a Brazilian jazz trio Lubambo formed with Nilson Matta and Duduka da Fonseca.
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  • Shanir Blumenkranz

    Shanir Blumenkranz was born in Brooklyn to Egyptian and Polish parents. He was given his first instruments-the pots and pans from the kitchen and a three-string guitar-at the age of two.

    Blumenkranz has been featured on more than 25 releases on John Zorn's Tzadik label since 1999, producing and arranging many of his own bands. He has been a member of Cyro Baptista's Banquet of the Spirits since its inception in 2006. With that ensemble, Blumenkranz has recorded two critically acclaimed albums and toured the world. More recently, he has begun the process of arranging and producing an album of new compositions by Zorn as part of the Masada Book of Angels series on Tzadik.

    In the studio, Blumenkranz has recorded alongside the likes of Marc Ribot, Mark Feldman, Erik Friedlander, Kenny Wollesen, Ben Perowsky, Jamie Saft, Ikue Mori, John Medeski, Christina Courtin, and Anthony Braxton. He has also recorded with Pharaoh's Daughter and Satlah.

    Blumenkranz has performed in concert halls and on festival stages all over the world with Marty Ehrlich, Miho Hatori, Bill Frisell, Uri Caine, Charles Gayle, Kasu Uchihashi, Michiyo Yagi, Makigami Koichi, Yoshida Tatsuya, Trey Spruance, Dave Douglas, Steve Coleman, Sylvie Courvoisier, Joey Baron, Yo-Yo Ma, Masada Sextet, Electric Masada, Masada String Trio, and a special concert with Zorn for BBC Radio.
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  • Tim Keiper

    In 1999, after many failed attempts at learning to breakdance in his New Jersey backyard, Tim Keiper moved to New York. Short on money and girlfriends, he snuck in to Cyro Baptista's weekly workshops. Fortuitously, he has matured since then, and now, he only resorts to sneaking into Baptista's bands.

    Keiper has worked with Baptista for the past 10 years in his groups Beat the Donkey and Banquet of the Spirits. He has spent the past few years touring extensively with Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré. They recently played the opening concert at the World Cup in Johannesburg and are scheduled to perform at the Festival in the Desert in Timbuktu later this year. Keiper has also worked with John Zorn, Julie Taymor, Ali Farka Touré, Toumani Diabate, and the Dirty Projectors.
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  • Vanessa Falabella

    Vanessa Falabella is a multitalented musician who currently resides in São Paulo. In 1992, she decided to expand her studies in New York City. Quickly falling in love with the city's creative energy, Falabella started writing and performing with many amazing artists across musical genres. Soon after, she was invited by two film-score producers, Frank Ferrucci and Scott Lehrer, to be part of a world music project for EMI, used on Discovery Channel's documentary The Italians. Falabella was later invited to be part of Cyro Baptista's Vira Loucos album.

    Falabella's recent musical work includes the album Vibe and the critically acclaimed Falabella de Cartola, bringing back the famous classics of Brazil's greatest samba composer, Cartola. She continues to expand her musical experiences globally, adding to the many wonderful performances and recordings with such amazing artists as Gato Barbieri, Philippe Saisse, Sadao Watanabe, Naná Vasconcelos, Romero Lubambo, Bebel Gilberto, Nana Caymmi, Paquito D'Rivera, John Patitucci, Luizão Maia, Hélio Delmiro, Toninho Horta, Tavinho Moura, Zé Rodrix, Guilherme Arantes, Lô Borges, Jason Miles, Arthur Lipner, Richard Bona, Will Lee, Eumir Deodato, Rob Bargad, and Rick Braun.
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“Dansa” (Villa Lobos)
Cyro Baptista, Percussion
Avant Japan

This performance is part of Signatures.