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Led by American percussionist/composer/scholar Gregory Beyer, the Arcomusical ensemble features the berimbau, the Afro-Brazilian musical bow instrument. Its lyrical strings make a beautiful sound all its own, difficult to describe in words yet easy to listen to! Arcomusical has been expanding the berimbau’s traditional sounds by commissioning and performing contemporary chamber works for solo/ensemble berimbau and other instruments. This, their third release, was recorded safely through multi-tracking in the pre-vaccine summer of 2020.
Jeremy Muller’s Singularity (2020) is a storytelling berimbau ensemble work introducing the listener to such beautiful sounds as melodic wide-pitch patterns, strums and volume changes from traditional to new music tonalities. Beyer plays all instruments spectacularly in his three compositions that showcase his extensive berimbau expertise. Fios e linhas (2020) for berimbau and percussion instruments has an upbeat colourful vibe pulse and high-pitched berimbau sounds above mallet instruments. Berimbau Duo No.3 “for Adam and Jess” (2007/2018) resonates with berimbau repeated notes and ringing low notes, performed by Beyer and Anthony Cable. Berimbau Solo No.4 “Sakura Park” (2006/2019) is two-part, from rhythmic to atmospheric. The six-movement title track Emigre and Exile (2019) features its composer Matt Ulery on acoustic bass with berimbau sextet in repeated figures, ringing strings and high-pitched melodies from classical to jazz to pop sounds and more. Alexandre Lunsqui’s berimbau sextet Repercussio (2006/2014) adds percussive scrapes and bangs to this instrument’s timbres.
All performers and compositions are perfect. I am so pleasantly surprised how much I enjoy these enlightening berimbau musical sounds!