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Sonhando em Salvador

Brazilian percussion ensemble for 12 or more players
Composer: Julie Hill
Publisher: Innovative Percussion, Inc.
Instrumentation: Timbau, Repique, Tarol (Snare Drum), Small Surdo, Medium Surdo, Large Surdo

Program Notes:
Sonhando em Salvador (Dreaming of Salvador) is based on the Samba Reggae rhythms performed throughout the Pelourinho District of Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. Samba reggae, developed in the 1970’s, is a result of the fusion between Brazilian samba and the music of reggae artists such as Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff, and is evidenced by the inherent swing in the style. Salvador da Bahia has the largest black population in Brazil (eighty percent), and the development of samba reggae is just one of the ways in which the local culture has embraced black awareness. The rhythms in Sonhando em Salvador are derived from the composer’s experience with Escola Didá, a fine arts academy in the Pelourinho District of Salvador dedicated to social reform for “at-risk” women and children through percussion. The founder of Escola Didá, Neguinho do Samba, is the former maestro of Olodum. Neguinho do Samba has developed his own style of samba reggae, including innovations in the surdo patterns and the introduction of the timbau drum into the percussion ensemble instrumentation. These adaptations create an infectious groove and are the “trade marks” of the Escola Didá style. Sonhando em Salvador is a tribute to Escola Didá, celebrating the music of samba reggae and their social contributions to the women and children of Brazil. It is common practice for Brazilian percussion ensembles to be choreographed. Performers commonly add dance steps, stick twirls and other visual motions. Sonhando em Salvador should begin with the performers off stage. The solo timbau player walks out alone and begins to play. His solo drumming serves to call the other performers to the stage. In the spirit of this festive music, performers should interact with the audience and each other as they enter the performance area and continue until their cue to begin playing. Singing in Sonhando em Salvador should be rhythmically accurate, but is not restricted to exact pitches, but rather, should fall in a comfortable range of each performer.

Review:
Those who attended the University of Kentucky’s Showcase Concert at PASIC 2004 heard the world premiere of Julie Hill’s “Sonhando em Salvador” (“Dreaming of Salvador”) for a Brazilian percussion ensemble of six percussionists playing timbau, repique, tarol (snare drum), small surdo, medium surdo and large surdo. The music, Hill explains, “is based on the samba reggae rhythms performed throughout the Pelourinho District of Salvador da Bahia, Brazil.” Thanks to Hill’s interest and expertise in Brazilian percussion, her extensive and informative program notes will greatly benefit all performances of the work, and her attention to detail should ensure a rendition that approaches the authenticity of performances by an indigenous ensemble. Program notes cover the opening of the work (all performers begin off stage), the entrance of the timbau player, who walks out alone and begins a solo, the entrances of the other performers, who “interact with the audience and each other,” the addition of “dance steps, stick twirls and other visual motions,” and the proper manner to handle the singing required in all except the timbau player’s part. And, in a final, generous gesture, Hill includes her e-mail address so “questions regarding performance practice can be directed to the composer.” This publication provides a unique showcase for the exciting and infectious music that serves as a tribute to Escola Didá, which is a fine arts academy in the Pelourinho District of Salvador and is also the name given to a particular style of samba reggae, here celebrated. Students not only get a hands-on experience performing this music, but also become knowledgeable about its history, current status, and authentic performance practices. - John R. Raush Percussive Notes, April 2006

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Julie Hill Julie Hill
University of Tennessee at Martin and Caixa Trio
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