When: Sept. 19 & 20
Location: National Hispanic Cultural Center
Featuring wistful vocals and lyrical guitar work, Rio offers intimate interpretations of Bossa Nova and Jazz. With Julia Yates at the mic and Tim Drackert on guitar, the quartet coaxes resonate stories from these great American and Brazilian songs. "Bossa is so minimal and unaffected," says Yates. "It was originally music sung for a few friends in tiny Rio de Janeiro apartments. It's complex and tricky, but it sounds as easy and natural as humans whispering to one another. The syrup you hear in some recordings— the reverb, the orchestra— was added by record producers. But as long as you leave the string section at home, there's no schmaltz in Bossa Nova. It's fresh— timeless."
Rio plays mostly as a duo, but will bring the full quartet to El Farol. "The quartet is a riot," says Yates, "You have all the intimacy of the vocal-guitar interplay, but then you get this dynamic lift from the bass and drums— it's like the wind picks up." Yates says the duo has been looking forward to playing with drummer Cal Haines and bassist Asher Barreras. "We've literally been admiring Cal's work for years, since first saw him with the Andy Kingston Trio on our first visit to Santa Fe. And Asher Barreras — he plays these amazingly lyrical bowed solos. It's like suddenly you have a cello. Very cool."
In 2011, Rio's quartet was featured on Montana PBS's Emmy-award winning series, 11th and Grant, which can be viewed online at Rio's website, riobossanova.com. Their self-titled CD is available on iTunes and Amazon. Rio's sound has been compared to Sade and Suzanne Vega, and appeals to fans of Norah Jones, João Gilberto, Billie Holiday, and Pat Metheny. The common thread, according to guitarist Tim Drackert, is "the communion between audience and performer. We live in a hyped up world‚ we're over stimulated, measured out in sound bites and ringtones. It's the information age and we're swallowed up by this stuff. But is there any real communication going on, is there any intimacy? That's kind of what we're about."