11/04/2010 Washington Examiner

Marie Gullard, for the Washington Examiner, writes about the project “Back to Our Roots.” // Marie Gullard, para o jornal Washington Examiner, escreve sobre o projeto “De Volta As Raizes.”

Brazilian guitarists explore more exotic roots at U. of Md.

It has been written about Brazilian guitarists Sergio and Odair Assad that no amount of expectation prepares an audience for their perfectly synchronized style of musical interplay and their innovative compositions, many of which have been written by Sergio’s daughter, pianist and composer Clarice Assad.

The three, along with percussionist Jamey Haddad and vocalist Christiane Karam, will perform Sunday at the Dekelboum Concert Hall at the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.

Audiences tonight will experience a dynamic twist to their Brazilian sound as the group explores the musical traditions of its shared Lebanese ancestry in “De Volta As Raizes (Back to Our Roots).”

“We wanted our music to bring something new to [our] audiences,” Sergio Assad said. “In fact, with our music, we are merging two cultures.”

With their ancestral roots in Lebanon and after the success of Sergio’s brilliant piece “Tahhiya Il Oussilina,” the group members were inspired to explore the rhythmic similarities that tie Middle Eastern music to the music of Brazil. Sergio and Clarice Assad have composed new music for “De Volta As Raizes,” and Christiane Karam has set modern and ancient Lebanese texts to these new works.

“Music became an integral part of our Assad family life, but our training focused on Western music, from traditional Brazilian choros to classical music. Our roots in Arab music were lost with the migration and assimilation of our ancestors,” Sergio Assad continued. “Recently, we decided to explore this vast and unfamiliar world of Arab music from the point of view of new world citizens whose genes may still have some memory of the sounds familiar to our grandparents. We bring a new sound through the revival of our lost Arabic music gene that is perhaps still present in our subconscious.”

The university’s School of Music is proud to make this concert available to the public.

“Sergio and Odair Assad are not only world-class musicians, but also cultural explorers whose artistic expressions have been informed and shaped by both their Brazilian and Lebanese heritage,” said Paul Brohan, director of artistic initiatives. “The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is always proud to present and collaborate with artists of such a stature as the Assads and their partners, artists who commit themselves to explorations like ‘De Volta As Raizes’ with a simple wonder of joy and sharing.”