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Fernando Holz: Press

Great Article by Joy Reo at the Melrose Wicked Local.

 

Transcript of the interview for The World Radio Program WGBH/BBC

 Global Hits

 June 1, 2004

 Listen         Technical Help

Artist:         Fernando Holz

Title:         Minh' Alma Nua (My Nude Soul)

Label:         Independent

Country:         Brazil

Music Available from:         Public Broadcasting One

More World Music at:         BBC Music Online

The subject of our global hit today is a singer and guitarist from Brazil. His name is Fernando Holz and he hails from the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul.

 

He's been living in the United States for the past 14 years, and recently released his first CD. It’s called "Minh'Alma Nua"

 

The music on the CD can be described as Brazilian jazz. But Holz says as a boy he listened to something completely different. Holz's family has German roots.

He grew up in city in Brazil called "Novo Hamburgo"-- or "New Hamburg." Many of its residents ALSO have German roots. So Holz heard a lot of brass band music in his childhood. He says it was his uncle -- a brass band musician -- who introduced him to music.

Holz’s uncle had a Vespa he used to get to his music gigs-- mostly local dances—and he would take his nephew along for the ride. Holz’s uncle played tuba and trumpet and used to tie both instruments on the Vespa... next to his nephew.

Music in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul is influenced from the Argentinean tango, the samba beats from Rio and the traditional gaucho songs. The gauchos are the local cow boys and their songs are similar to Spanish tunes in style. Such songs are also played in Uruguay and Argentina. They are sometimes accompanied by drums. It’s the local equivalent of American country music.

Some of the songs on Holz’s album are named after women. The song “Erica” however, was not written for a woman. Holz was inspired by his auto repair mechanic to write it. It talks about a man’s love for his country of adoption: America. Holz’s mechanic—who is Brazilian-- had just received a letter granting him resident’s status in the United States. Upon learning that he would receive a green a card, the man told Holz, he felt that he had just been freed from slavery. Holz says the title “Erica” is a poetic take on the word “America.”

The lyrics go: “When you asked me to stay with you, my eyes cried of happiness, as if I was granted freedom from slavery. Release from slavery. But I’m conscious that in our relationship-- as in any and all-- there will be moments of yes, there will be moments of no. But what in fact really matters is to sing love until the end, and never say goodbye shutting the door behind.”

Holz says the song applies to his situation too. He says that no place on earth is perfect but that after living 14 years in the US, he can say he’s had a lot more good times than bad.

Global Hits - BBC (London) - National Public Radio - Boston (Jun 1, 2004)

CD Title: MINH' ALMA NUA (My Nude Soul) Year: 2004 Record Label: Holz Works Style: Brazilian Jazz Musicians: Fernando Holz (Vocals), Numerous Artists Review: With first impression in hand, I equate this music with the sultry ambiance and fire of a Sarasota sun off shore just as the peaceful blanket of nightfall enter ones life. They both are dramatic and full of intrigue, if you allow them to be. Fernando Holz's 2004 release "Minh' Alma Nua" (My Nude Soul) is a vocal therapist for the unsettled spirit. A wonderful array of harmonic tones and sensitive lyrics combined with strong composition, allow this to be a successful, emotional awakening. This Brazilian vocalist accomplishes the arduous task of mixing emotions musically. However the backdrop of musicians have just as much an effect on the impact this project has to the listener. Romero Lubambo on guitar, Rebecca Cline and Gilson Schachink on keys, Paulo Braga carrying the sticks, and Jose Pienasola on bass makes the vocals of Mr. Holz become a poetic symphony in jazz. Mr. Holz not only allows the listener to embrace his vocal offerings, but the lyrics are pure, not just scripted but felt as if he experienced each cut somewhere down his life's journey. That is elegance in my eyes, for words do capture moments that sound may miss, therefore, the marriage of these two gifts makes this effort that much more well-designed and thought out. Segredos De Laetitia (Laetitia's Secrets) is an extraordinary piece and very suitable as a gateway cut. It introduces the whole project as a statement inviting the listener to feel and be felt with numerous sensations. The strings throughout this cut stabilize the effect being the love offered to one by another and the bond that ignites. Estacao (Station) is a very strong piece about life and loneliness, the station being the fulcrum of decision. The melody and tone make the message work. That message however will be different to each listener. Strong strings and percussion make this one of the premiere pieces on this production. Mr. Holz has delivered a well-composed and finely tuned piece of Brazilian Pop-Jazz that is crying out to be heard, and it will be. "Minh' Alma Nua" (My Nude Soul) is an expressive roller coaster ride that will have you keep going back to the ticket booth. A wonderful poetic vocal experience by Holz! Karl Stober is an international freelance columnist and broadcaster who can be reached at jazztrenzz@bellsouth.net. Karl can also be reached at 1-802-380-6065. Tracks: Segredos de Laetitia, Noites Vazias, Freud Explica, A Verdade, Aprendiz, Diáspora Brasileira, Outro Outono, Erica Reviewed by: Karl H. Stober

EjazzNews.Com

Indeed, composer-vocalist Holz bares it all......So, soothing, so smooth & simple, yet so profound & forthcoming. Latinos ''speak'' through their music, certainly Fernando speaks to us so beautifully through his. I can't help compare Fernando's efforts to the great ''Jobim.''
I don't draw this adjunct to lessen the musical impact one enjoys from this wonderful disc, rather to put it into the category of music that is paramount. Holz's addition of strings as well to the CD gives his efforts something that transcends the intangible, raising what he creates for his listeners more to the level of pure art. Folks, this is the real deal!!
Allaboutjazz.com

The phrase “smooth as silk” comes to mind on an initial listen to Brazilian-Bostonian Fernando Holz's Minh' Alma Nua (My Nude Soul). His vocal style, like that of fellow countryman Milton Nascimento, flows like a cool stream of crystalline water in front of an always crisp rhythm section, augmented by the lush harmonics of a string section.


The mix is perfectly done. Romero Lubambo, on guitar, counterpoints the clean seamless flow, adding an almost bluesy bite on his solo on “Diaspora Brasileira,” while Paulo Braga—who is especially adept at the cymbal work—drops splashes of color into the mix; and pianist Rebecca Cline sprinkles delicate raindrops against the surface tension on “Outro Outono.”


The finale, “Erika,” a song of joyous love, showcase Holz's vocal talents with just Lumbambo's accoustic guitar on a sensuous uptempo duet that I'd love to have seen them perform—such energy there.


The arrangemnts, by Zeca Barros, are superb, the use of strings done judiciously, whispering in at just the right momement before fading off to let the rhythm team and vocalist carry the show. A flawless production of the Brazilian jazz-pop sound.

~ Dan McClenaghan
Fernando Holz: Minh' Alma Nua
Latin Beat Magazine, August, 2004 by Luis Tamargo


FERNANDO HOLZ Minh' Alma Nua (FHW)

Producido independientemente, el debut discográfico del cantautor/compositor/arreglista/fotógrafo brasileño Fernando Holz (oriundo de Rio Grande do Sul y residente de New England a partir del 1990) se caracteriza par la sensibilidad de sus letras, el carácter estimulante de sus melodías y la aplicación esmerada de sus armonías, en conjunción con el dominio timbrico manifestado par el susodicho líder gaúcho-bostoniano y el acompanamiento eficaz de una sección de ritmo que incluye aun par da impresionantes invitades (el guitarrista actústico y eléctrico Romero Lubambo y el baterista y percusionista Paulo Braga) en indispensable alianza con un contingente refinado de cuerdas (media docena de violines, una viola y un violonchelo). Los resultantes colores y textures evocan hermosamente la influyente perspectiva artística de Tom Jobim, evidente ídolo del artista con el alma desnuda. (LT)
Luis Taramago - Latin Beat Magazine (Aug 2, 2005)
Minh' Alma Nua
Fernando Holz | Independent Records
By Jerry D'Souza



Brazilian music has created a welcome niche in jazz, the bossa and the samba giving the music a uniquely sensuous and vibrant rhythm. The beat goes on with Fernando Holz, and though he is more attuned to pop, he works the genre with a convincing passion.


Holz is a singer who delves into yearning and pain, into joy and love with a simple directness. Even when a dollop of strings unveil a velvet curtain, he does not let the moment get syrupy. He uses strings judiciously, and with the other musicians showing a controlled sensibility, the songs pack a quiet wallop.


Holz sings in Portuguese but the booklet has the lyrics in English, which helps the unfamiliar understand the emotion of each song. His voice has a nice yearning quality and when he sings of “Segredos De Latitia” (”Laetitia’s Secrets”), the pain of a lost love is amply evident. The harmonic structure of “Érica” gives him the room to open out, his singing a spirited joyousness that even has him scatting for a while with Romero Lubambo’s guitar, creating a supple tension. One of the most beautiful tunes comes in the form of “Estação” (”Station”), which dwells on life passing by. The strings add to the atmosphere, and so do Lubambo's guitar and Paulo Braga's drums.


Holz sets up a welcome presence.