Adriano Adewale: Rhythm en Root

The Brazilian percussionist in search of new rhythms, his African roots, and a route home

Although not fantastically well-known, Adriano Adewale is a name worth keeping an eye on – you’re likely to see it around. This Brazilian musician, half African, almost Londoner yet completely global, arrived here in the capital ten years ago, and these days wins audiences over all around. Full of energy and agility, Adewale fell for music as a child, through is grandfather. As many Brazilians do, he came to London to learn English and discover another culture, but his main motive was to be a touch closer to his roots, in Africa.

Before too long he was finally able to visit the continent, gleaning rhythms and studying new instruments. After his return to do a Masters at SOAS (the School of Oriental and African Studies), performing here and there, he set to work on numerous projects. Sementes (2008), his first CD (meaning ‘seeds’), “was a slow creative process, but ever such a special one”, he reflects. This mixture of jazz, drums, Brazil, Africa and Europe was inspired by the diversity he found in his day to day life. “Here in Europe you meet people from all over the world, different cultures and tastes, it’s very rich in that sense”.

For almost a year, Adewale has been artist in residence at the University of Essex, where, together with the company Segue, he’ll lead the celebration Festival Brasileiro. Beyond this project he’s got various London shows and in September is due to launch his new CD, Raízes (Roots), forming a natural growth from Sementes. He describes how for the audience it’s easy for them to envisage imagery through his music, and has his fingers crossed the new album continues to do envoke this: “I hope this feeling is strong with the song ‘Family Album’, which bears that certain saudade (a fond longing) for Brazil and family”.

And speaking of Brazil, his journey home is already playing on his mind, after all the true Brazilian never loses that love for home. “I want to return but to take with me what I’ve learnt. I dream of creating a cultural centre and working with the community. To me, this is music, a social instrument”.

By Carol Morandini

Keep an eye out for some of Adriano Adewale’s summer shows 2010…

May 15thRiverside Studios
Antonio Forcione Quartet…  an international line-up alongside Antonio, comprising Adriano Adewale, cellist Jenny Adejayan (Nigeria/Grenada/UK) and multi-instrumentalist Nathan Thompson (Australia).

May 21st- 23rd – Festival Brasileiro, The University of Essex.
A vibrant programme of music, theatre, cinema and dance exploring Brasilian traditions of folklore, choro, bossa nova, samba and classical music, highlights being a children’s Bumba Meu Boi workshop and the shows of Adriano and Umpatacum.
For full details visit
June 25th – COLF 2010 (City of London Festival).
As part of the festival, Adriano will lead a procession playing percussion instruments created by children taking part in his workshop.

July 5th – COLF 2010
Adriano will perform with the pianist Joanna Macgregor and Britten Sinfonia.

July 23rd – Milton Keynes International Festival 2010
Adriano is set to play once again alongside Antonio Forcione in The Spiegeltent at IF 2010.

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