Duo Maia, formed by brothers Thadeu and Raphael Maia, evolves their versatility and virtuosity in their second album, “Danças, Sonatas e Paisagens”. The release continues the success of their previous work, “Recortes”, which took them to renowned stages and established their unique identity in the Brazilian instrumental music circuit.
The second album presents a multiple repertoire. His music ranges from Béla Bartók’s “Romanian Dances” to sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti, as well as works by Spanish composers such as Fernando Sor, Isaac Albéniz, Enrique Granados and Manuel de Falla. This new work pays homage to the master and luthier Sérgio Abreu, who was a significant influence on Duo Maia. The album’s release took place in three stages, with the themed EPs “Danças”, “Sonatas” and “Paisagens” being revealed throughout the months of July and August, culminating in the full release.
The title of the new album, “Danças, Sonatas e Paisagens”, reflects Duo Maia’s intention to evoke feelings and memories through music. The choice of repertoire demonstrates the brothers’ dedication to seeking new paths in one of the most widespread musical instruments: the guitar. The album’s production took place at the Lontra Music studio, with co-production by Maria Haro, sound engineering by João Ferraz and graphic art by Patrícia Abreu.
With “Danças, Sonatas e Paisagens”, Duo Maia reinforces its place in the national guitar scene, honoring the legacy of nearby masters, such as Sérgio Abreu, and timeless references and references from other cultures. His refined technique and sensitive interpretation continue to guide work dedicated to bridging the gap between instrumental music and the general public.
“Dances, Sonatas and Landscapes” presents a variety of musical styles, from Romanian Dances to works by Spanish composers. How did you choose the repertoire for this album and what inspired you to explore these different musical influences?
We chose a repertoire that represented our earliest and deepest influences. When we met Sérgio Abreu for the first time, they gave us the arrangements of these three sonatas by D. Scarlatti. So we decided to record in honor of our master. The Spanish repertoire has always been one of our passions, we have a special connection with this type of repertoire. The innovation came through our arrangement of B. Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances. We create an atmosphere of popular dances with a gypsy influence. This really shows how versatile the guitar can be on a record.
How did Duo Maia evolve their versatility and virtuosity in the second album “Danças, Sonatas e Paisagens” in comparison to their previous work, “Recortes”?
The term “virtuous” is associated with the number of notes played. We think that this term is actually much more comprehensive and complex. We think that our evolution comes through the sound we manage to create in this recording. We only had 2 months of rehearsal and we dedicated ourselves every day to pre-recording at home so we could understand the atmosphere we could create. Dances, Sonatas and Landscapes, brings a more crystal clear sound from the guitar. We made a more “transparent” Mix compared to the previous album.
The album title suggests the intention to evoke feelings and memories through music. Can you tell us about a specific piece on the album that has special meaning for you and why it evokes those feelings?
Maybe it’s unfair to choose just one song. But let’s go. Evocacion by I. Albeniz, manages to translate all these feelings of memories of special places and people.
The album pays homage to master and luthier Sérgio Abreu. How is Abreu’s influence manifested in your music and in the process of creating the album?
Sérgio Abreu, was a great friend and our biggest influence on the guitar. Every time we met we tried to understand a little about the way he thought about music and the guitar. He always had a direct approach to musical thinking. He helped us think about how to equally distribute the arrangements for two guitars. He helped us try to play as if two guitars were just one. He will always be present in our hearts and thoughts. He was and always will be our greatest idol. Before Sérgio left, we took a pre-recording for him to listen to while still in the hospital. He listened, opened his eyes and smiled approvingly. That was the biggest approval we’ve ever had.
The album was released in three stages with the themed EPs “Danças”, “Sonatas” and “Paisagens”. Could you explain the reasoning behind this tiered approach?
The idea of releasing the albums in different stages was an attempt to adapt to the current scenario. Where people release singles, EPs, etc…. We separated the releases leaving it up to listeners to choose whether to listen to Dances, Sonatas and Spanish Landscapes, as if it were a playlist. Sometimes it can be tiring for a person to concentrate to listen to an entire album. So, this separation can help when listening.
What was the album production process like at Lontra Music studio? Are there specific elements that you would highlight in the collaboration with Maria Haro and João Ferraz?
Recording at Lontra Music is a wonderful experience for anyone looking for a studio with natural acoustics for 100% acoustic instruments. João Ferraz thought of a place that aims to extract the best natural sound from instruments. In addition to being a high-level professional, he is a person who is willing to do the best work possible at all times. He and Maria Haro helped us find the sound of our first album and I think we managed with this second work to create an even better sound identity for the Duo, where we basically didn’t use resources to create ambiences, leaving the sound as natural as possible.
The album’s graphic art, created by Patrícia Abreu, appears to be a significant part of the project. Could you share more details about how it relates to music?
Maybe Patrícia Abreu would be the best person to talk about this, but come on! Patrícia is responsible for our entire visual identity, including artistic photos, some videos and our two albums. She can translate our entire conception into art. We are from the time of vinyl, then CD where the booklet was part of the work as a whole and that is what we are trying to rescue with our work. In the case of this new album, we had several meetings to talk about the concept of popular dances and landscapes from Spain. Patrícia had taken a trip to Spain and as soon as we started talking about the tracks she basically already had everything! All the images are from photos she took and created layers, transparencies, among other techniques from these images. There is a set of symbols that appear on the cover, passing through the booklet and developing to the back cover. Patrícia Abreu is a phenomenal artist who has wonderful work and it is a great gift for us to be able to count on her work adding to ours.
How do you see Duo Maia’s role in the national guitar scene and how do you hope this album contributes to this perspective?
We see ourselves as ordinary workers, who get up every day to perform their duties. Brazil has a great tradition when it comes to guitar duos. The biggest duos are from here and we hope to be able to contribute to that in some way. This second album shows our references to the great masters, mainly in the Spanish part and also shows us as arrangers, as the idea is also to be able to further expand the repertoire for duos.
In addition to the refined technique, Duo Maia mentions a sensitive interpretation. How do you seek to translate emotions and stories through instrumental music?
In addition to studying a lot, you need to be close to what you want to play. To play any style you need to “live” the musical style. Listen, read and learn about the history of the period. Letting time do its work is also part of the process. Each song has something to tell and we as musicians need to tell every detail as best as possible. Furthermore, we need to rely on our imagination and at these times, returning to childhood is a good idea. Any child has a better imagination than an adult, we just need to always remember that.
As you continue to evolve as musicians and artists, what are your next projects and goals? Is there a specific collaboration or project you are looking to explore?
10- We are registered in some notices, as this is the only way we have so far to carry out new work. We are 100% independent artists and carry out all pre- and post-production. Two new albums, a DVD, a documentary, a book and a new course are in the plans, (in addition to the plan to dominate the world, lol.) Let’s see what comes out first.
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