Slideshow: Students Perform with Brazilian Guitar Legend Toninho Horta
The Signature Series at Berklee recently presented a musical celebration of Toninho Horta, a founding pillar of música popular brasileira (MPB), featuring Berklee students, faculty, and Horta himself. Horta has been making music for more than 50 years, with early work on Joyce Moreno's 1968 debut album, Joyce, and Milton Nascimento’s '16H self-titled debut album in 1969. In 1972, Horta contributed to Nascimento and Lô Borges’ Clube de Esquina, which is among Rolling Stone’s top ten greatest Brazilian albums of all time. The album’s namesake comes from the influential Brazilian artists’ collective of which Horta was a member in his hometown of Belo Horizonte.
Horta performed six of the 12 songs showcased, including popular songs such as “Aqui, Oh!,” “Francisca,” and “Waiting for Angela.” The performance was produced by Oscar Stagnaro, the multi-Grammy-winning bassist, Berklee professor, and executive director of Berklee Latino, Berklee’s Spanish-language program. The student and faculty performers brought the culture of Brazil to life before the Berklee Performance Center audience.
Gilson Schachnik, associate professor of ear training, introduced the concert with some words of praise in Portuguese, and Massachusetts' House of Representatives offered a written statement congratulating Horta for his life's work in "promotion of Brazilian culture through music and the arts."
Horta has released more than two dozen albums and has been nominated for Latin Grammys for Best MPB Album for his 2005 album Com O Pé No Forró, which he released on his own Minas label, and for his 2010 release, Toninho Horta: Harmonia & Vozes. Over the course of his career, he has performed with top Brazilian artists such as Antônio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim, Sérgio Mendes, Luciana Souza B.M. '88, Elis Regina, Gal Costa, and Chico Buarque, among many more. In addition, he has crossed musical borders with jazz legends such as Herbie Hancock ‘86H, Pat Metheny ‘96H, Brad Mehldau, George Duke, and Keith Jarrett.
Recognized as one of the world’s top guitarists, in 1986 Horta organized the Seminário de Música Instrumental in Ouro Prêto, Brazil, to advance the exchange of instrumental creativity among Brazilian music and musicians, and he has performed all over the world, including at Brazil’s Planeta Terra ("Planet Earth") concert. He is the subject of filmmaker Fernando Libânio’s documentary A Música Audaz de Toninho Horta.