De ouvido e coração

Musical project that recreates the work of José Afonso

‘De ouvido e coração’ is a musical project by composer and pianist Amílcar Vasques-Dias in partnership with Luís Pacheco Cunha, which recreates and reinvents the work of José Afonso, moving in a universe between classical music, jazz and flamenco, but remaining faithful to its original matrix.

Amílcar Vasques-Dias met and accompanied José Afonso in 1978, in the Netherlands, and since then has dedicated himself to the study and recreation of his music, which came to fruition in the project ‘De ear and heart’, created in partnership with the violinist Luís Pacheco Cunha, for which he has had the collaboration of the Spanish singer Esther Merino, and the lyrical singers Carlos Guilherme and Natasa Sibalic, in concerts in Portugal, Spain, and Holland.

For those who haven’t had the opportunity to attend these shows live, and for all those who would like to relive them, ‘De ouvido e coração’ was released on March 31, 2023, on CD and digital version, including interpretations of twelve themes by José Afonso, such as the emblematic ““Que amor não me engana”, “Venham mais cinco”, “Vejam bem”, “Traz outro amigo também”, “Cantigas do Maio”, ou “Eu fui ver a minha amada”, and other compositions, such as “A mulher da erva”, “Balada do Outono” or “Cantar Alentejano (Catarina Eufémia)”.

In addition to the aforementioned artists, this album also features the singer Ricardo Ribeiro.

In the words of Rui Mota, from the José Afonso Association: “To see and hear By ear and heart today continues to be a unique experience, because unrepeatable in its harmonic and melodic richness, only within reach of exceptional performers. The recreation of the great music of José Afonso knows, in this way, the dimension that has always been underlying it, but to which we had not, until now, had access”.

Amílcar Vasques-Dias was born in Badim, Monção. He studied Composition and Piano at the Conservatories of Music in Porto and Braga. He received a scholarship from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the Secretary of State for Culture for the Masters in Instrumental and Electroacoustic Composition at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, in the Netherlands. He has worked with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the Netherlands, with Iannis Xenakis in France, and with Cândido Lima in Portugal. In 1989, he met Fernando Lopes-Graça, and started to pay more attention to traditional Portuguese music, noting his influence in some of his works. In Holland, he developed artistic and pedagogical activity as a composer and pianist for 14 years.

As a composer, his music has been played in Portugal and in other countries in Europe, America, and Japan, especially in contemporary music festivals. Many of these works are recorded on CDs, such as “Doze Nocturnos em Teu Nome”, by pianist Álvaro Teixeira Lopes; “Canções de Évora” by pianist João Vale and soprano Cláudia Pereira Pinto; “Lume de Chão – the fabric of memories and affections”, in “Viagens na Minha Terra”, by the pianist Joana Gama.

As a pianist, he interprets his own music, having performed in Portugal, Spain, Holland, Germany, Belgium, France, Russia, Canada, and the United States of America.

On librettos by Helena da Nóbrega, he wrote the operas “Soror Mariana Alcoforado” (2017), and “Geraldo e Samira – uma opera para Évora” (2019).

As a pianist-composer, he carried out projects of fusion of classical piano with jazz, having recorded the CD “Desnudo” with the singer Joana Machado, and with traditional music, namely with the “cante alentejano”, which resulted in the CD “ In sing – music from Alentejo” and also with flamenco music.

Since his return from Holland in 1988, he has been a professor at the Superior Schools of Music in Lisbon and Porto, at the University of Aveiro, and at the University of Évora. He was the mentor and artistic director of the “Encontro do Alentejo de Música do Séc. XX.I”, from 1998 to 2009.

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