SummaryBrazilian greats Mauricio Maestro and Nana Vasconcelos finally reconnect on the second part of their four decade psychedelic folk trilogy. Following on from Visions of Dawn - the 1976 acid-folk lost classic - Upside Down stirs up a time when people dared to make remarkable liberated records like this. Nana and guest vocalist Kay Lyra - who completes the present day folk trio - combine floating harmonies and delicate string-led psychedelia. Maestro's moving compositions melt together hypnotising strings with his own darting acoustic guitar and wonderfully languid vocals. The master of percussion Nana Vasconcelos brings an endless concoction of exotic instrumentation to stirring life as mind-bending vocals move in and out of focus. Nana and Mauricio reunite on this modern acoustic masterwork full of simple pleasures.
Together at the center of the underground '60s tropicalia and darker afro-samba jazz movements, that rose against the repressive Brazilian military regime, to the free '70s Brazilian acid-folk that flourished in North America and Europe - as the musicians were forced in to international exile - Maestro and Vasconcelos have created eleven tracks that stir up this time, but in the backdrop of a liberated, prosperous Brazil. Recorded in late-2009 the pair combined Maestro's classic and new compositions with modern folk ideas to create a record that outshines many current impressionists. This irresistible inventive folk should exceed even the quiet craze that met Far Out's discovery of Maestro, Vasconcelos, and Joyce's 1976 Paris sessions 'Visions of Dawn'. Inspired by the success Joe Davis encouraged Maestro to return to the studio to put his delicate genius to work on the long-time coming follow up. With Vasconcelos also coaxed back the joy the pair felt at once again having the freedom to create their own original music radiates from each track on this blissful recording session.
Mauricio Maestro began his career in vocal quartet Momentoquatro in the late sixties, before he and Nana Vasconcelos became friends as members of the great Luiz Eça's thirteen member band Sagrada Familia. The pair also formed part of Milton Nascimento's Clube De Esquina scene along with Joyce and Marcos Valle on his legendary 'Clube De Esquina' album series. Having arranged for Brazil's top artists from an early age Mauricio Maestro lent his masterful bass playing to Joyce's classic early albums, The Holy Family, played on and produced 'Visions of Dawn' and founded Boca Livre in 1979 - one of the most successful groups ever to emerge from Brazil. Nana Vasconcelos has released more than thirty albums over an epic forty year career that took in spell playing with legendary folk-prog band A Tribo. Vasconcelos is a vocalist and berimbau player of immense quality and displays his percussion skills that saw him named best drummer in the world for eight straight years by US magazine Downbeat.
In parallel to these works, Maestro has been developing a personal career as musician, arranger, and also composer and interpreter, but the greatest of his compositions rested unreleased until now. 'Upside Down' is an irresistibly mellow collection of soulful Brazilian acoustic music that thrills with understated, dreamlike glory: "On Visions of Dawn I could record for the first time some instrumental and vocal compositions that are a little sample of my production. Now, I'm very proud in having my first solo album released by Far Out. In this new release I have once more the pleasure to work with that Brasilian genius of percussion Naná Vasconcelos. He gives colourful rhythm to my compositions. Kay Lyra, one brilliant singer with a wonderful crystal voice, gave the female touch that I needed to sweeten the sound besides a ten strong string orchestra. The songs are all my originals except the lyrics of "Todos os Santos", written by Joyce the year following 'Visions of Dawn', and the extract of classic "Canto do Pajé". I composed each at different moments of my career beginning in 1969 ('Jungle Bells'), 1971 ('Ancient Truth' and 'Horizonte'), 1977 ('Todos os Santos' & 'Ciclo da Vida'), until 'Agua Clara' and 'Upside Down' written for this album. I had a wonderful time recording at Tenda da Raposa studios in Rio with the great engineer David Brinkworth."
The third record 'Broken Bridge' will draw to a mesmerizing conclusion this remarkable five-decade Brazilian-folk trilogy following on from 'Upside Down'. Drawing upon forty years of song-writing, experimenting, revolution, travel, friendship and a strong Brazilian heart this record is something only these two Brazilian masters could dream up.