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Renato Braz has roots in all three of Brazil’s cultures: Indian, African, and European. His parents are Guarani Indians from Mato Grosso. His mother remarried, to a Baiano from Bahia in the northeast of Brazil, where the African tradition is still deep; and he has lived many years in São Paulo, where the Portuguese tradition predominates. He is the most complete Brazilian Paul Winter knows. Early in 2004, Paul happened to pick up a CD anthology called Rough Guide to Brazilian Music. It was mostly pop tracks, but there was one beautiful acoustic ballad sung by a voice Paul found stunning. The song was “Anabela” and the singer was Renato Braz, whom he’d never heard of. Renato had a clear, gentle, high tenor that reminded Paul of early Milton Nascimento, and the song seemed very kindred to the bossa nova tradition of the early 1960s. Paul couldn’t imagine how he’d never known about this singer.

Oscar Castro-Neves tracked him down for Paul in São Paulo, through Dori Caymmi, and rang him up. Renato was thrilled that Oscar called him, and although he didn’t know much about Paul, the connection with Oscar was enough. He agreed to come to New York to sing in the Summer Solstice Celebration that June, and from that time on, he has been a member of the Consort family. Renato has been part of several of the solstice events since then, and in 2017 they produced his first album for the U.S. entitled Saudade. Respected Brazilian journalist Luis Nassif hails Renato as “the João Gilberto of the 21st century.” “Desenredo” reproduces the bells of the churches in the state of Minas Gerais, evoking poignant memories of Minas, and the Mantiqueira Mountains. Renato says, “I planned to begin and end this song with the famous theme of ‘O Trenzihno do Caipira’ (The Little Train of the Brazilian Countryman) by Villa-Lobos, and asked Dori to take care of the arrangement. Before giving their approval, the Villa-Lobos family wanted to listen to this interweave of Villa’s ‘Trenzihno’ and Dori’s ‘Desenredo.’ They were delighted with the result.”


from Everybody Under the Sun: Voices of Solstice (The Singers), released December 6, 2019
Renato Braz / voice
Paul Winter / soprano sax
Eugene Friesen / cello
Paul Sullivan / piano
Sizão Machado / bass
Gordon Gottlieb / drums
Bré / percussion

Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble:
Svetlana Dorokhova
Marina Cherkashina
Evgeni Kharlamov
Vladimir Korolev
Mikhail Korzin
Maria Nefedova
Andrei Samsonov
Irina Shishkina
Svetlana Sorokina-Subbotina
Olga Yukecheva


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Paul Winter Litchfield

Paul Winter is a seven-time Grammy-winning saxophonist, whose sextet was the first jazz group to perform at the White House in 1962. His second group, the Paul Winter Consort, interweaves sounds from the natural world with classical and ethnic traditions, and the spontaneous spirit of jazz. Their annual Winter Solstice Celebrations and Earth Mass are among the most popular events in New York. ... more


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