Collective Listening Project

Composer Clarice Assad Selects

Playlist No. 37

About the Playlist

December 3, 2020
Podcast Cover Image

Having been recommended by the Takács Quartet as part of our Play It Forward initiative, where we ask musicians to “play it forward” by nominating someone who they would like to hear a playlist from, this week’s Collective Listening Project playlist comes to us courtesy of composer, pianist, and vocalist Clarice Assad.

A powerful communicator renowned for her musical scope and versatility, Brazilian American Clarice Assad is a significant artistic voice in the classical, world music, pop, and jazz genres. A Grammy-nominated composer, celebrated pianist, inventive vocalist, and educator, she is renowned for her evocative colors, rich textures, and diverse stylistic range. As an innovator, her award-winning education program, Voxploration, has been presented throughout the United States, Brazil, Europe and Qatar. With her talent sought-after by artists and organizations worldwide, the multi-talented musician continues to attract new audiences both onstage and off.

During these challenging times, I found comfort in revisiting music from my past, mostly songs and vocal music. But I also discovered a few artists recently that I am genuinely excited about. This list begins with my latest musical interests and ends on my first musical love-at-first-hearing category over twenty years ago.

Antoine Boyer and Samuelito, guitars and percussions 

A wonderful audio-visual experience. I was very impressed by these young artists Antoine Boyer and Samuelito and their musical playfulness, especially their attention to detail. A lot of fun to watch such creativity flowing freely out of their minds. [Watch the video on YouTube]

ALDIR BLANC and JOÃO BOSCO Incompatibilidade de Gênios (Incompatible Temperaments)
Varijashree Venugopal, singer with João Bosco and Hamilton De Holanda, guitars

Scat singing on steroids. This headline describes Varijashree Venugopal in a nutshell. It also happens to be the title of episode #1 of my freshly released podcast Voxploration (something I put together during the social distancing period). I had the pleasure of interviewing this magical, young singer, flutist, and composer from India.

THIAGO AMUD A Marcha dos Desacontecimentos (The March of Unhappenings)
Thiago Amud, singer

I love everything about this song by Brazilian composer and lyricist Thiago Amud. From the brilliant, politicized lyrics to his reinvention of an underused Brazilian rhythmic construction called marcha-rancho. His melodic and harmonic choices are exceptionally assembled; nothing seems to be ever arbitrary. Amud is a mighty presence in the Brazilian music scene, comprised of songwriters of the highest quality. A deep thinker with a complex personality, his musical palette can be innocent, bittersweet, and unholy in equal measure. [Watch the video on YouTube]

AZIZA MUSTAFA ZADEH Bana Bana Gel (Come to Me)
Aziza Mustafa Zadeh, singer

In 1997, I heard Aziza Mustafa Zadeh, and my life changed forever. Her singing, piano playing, and distinctive compositional voice were strikingly different than anything I had experienced at that point. Aziza grew up surrounded by music. She was born in Azerbaijan to parents who were both musicians. Her father, Vagif, was a pianist and composer who died too young but lived a rich and productive life, creating the mugam-jazz fusion, which his daughter developed later on. Her mother Elza is a classically trained singer who taught Aziza solid vocal practices from a young age. What a powerful combination. Over twenty years later, since Aziza’s debut, her music still sounds remarkably unique.

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