Renato Andrade

Renato Andrade devoted himself to the viola caipira (a ten-stringed instrument similar to a guitar) but surpassed all technical standards of it, becoming a virtuoso. Always enchanted by classical music (leftover from 34 years playing the classical violin) he is renowned for his Bach interpretations on the unusual instrument. He is also acknowledged for taking the viola to the concert hall and creating awareness of the instrument. In the '70s, he tried to establish himself in Rio de Janeiro, where he approached important composers like Radamés Gnattali and Guerra Peixe, and played concerts of their works on the viola, but the city wasn't prepared for him. His first album, A Fantástica Viola de Renato Andrade na Música Armorial Mineira, presented by Guerra Peixe, brought several originals and won him the prestigious Villa-Lobos trophy. The captivating musicality of the upcountry of Brazil made many youngsters, like Almir Sater, put away urban rhythms and embrace the viola. He played many recitals at universities, including abroad in the U.S., where Andrade went to represent Brazil by invitation of the Itamarati (the Brazilian diplomatic service). In 1983, he released the LP O Violeiro e o Grande Sertão: A Viola Que Vi e Ouvi, a tribute to the great writer João Guimarães Rosa. The album included Wagner Tiso playing accordion on the track "Noite de São João" and enthusiastic praise from Milton Nascimento in the liner notes. ~ Alvaro Neder

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