ABOUT ADRIANO ADEWALE
Brazilian percussionist/composer Adriano Adewale is a versatile musician and performer, known for his unconventional and exploratory approach to music, and for his ability to create magical soundscapes from the seemingly banal.
Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, he was for many years known as Adriano Pinto, a colonial name he received at birth. It was after his visit to Africa (Nigeria and Benin Republic) searching for his roots that he changed his name to Adriano Adewale Itauna, respectively from the Yoruba-Nigeria and Tupi Guarani-Brazil. Adewale means royal child who come back home and Itauna means black rock.
Music has always been part of Adriano’s life. His father, an amateur percussionist, used to play drums for carnival times, and drumming was also a big feature of family gatherings. Adriano’s maternal grandfather used to play Clarinet, his uncle accordion and every weekend they would meet and play ‘Chorinho music’, a style also known as Brazilian Jazz. Two uncles played a great influence on Adriano’s career; Claudio Silva, who was a virtuoso ‘Pandeiro’ player, and Joao Nicanor, a singer song writer, guitarist and actor.
Whilst working as an actor Adriano took piano and percussion lessons, followed by a a
degree/BA in classical music-percussion at the University of Sao Paulo State. In April 2000, Adriano moved to the UK, quickly establishing himself as a respected percussionist, composer, educator and band leader.
In 2002 Adriano was introduced to Italian guitarist Antonio Forcione and soon became part of the Antonio Forcione Quartet which has gone on to perform the world over. In 2004 Adriano went to Africa (Nigeria-Benin) in search for his roots and also to study music with great master percussion players. The trip deeply changed Adriano’s playing and understanding of his own culture in many aspects. Upon his return he went on to study further, this time a Masters course in Music/Performance at SOAS – School of Oriental and African Studies in London. His first UK band, Sambura, released the album: Cru in 2006.
In 2008 Adriano released his first solo album, the critically acclaimed Sementes (Segue records) produced by Gilad Atmov. It featured the ‘Adriano Adewale Group’, an international flutist and saxophonist Marcelo Andrade. line up of musicians, including Australian born double bass player Nathan Riki Thomson, Senegalese Kora player Kadially Kouyate and Brazilian
In 2012 he released The Vortex Sessions, a collaboration with the foremost Brazilian piano player Benjamin Taubkin. This was followed by Raizes (Caboclos records) in 2014, his second solo album with the ‘Adriano Adewale Group’, produced by the great Chris Kimsin (Rolling Stones, Jimmy Cliff). Adewale is also the mentor behind Catapluf’s Musical Journey, a concert which introduces young audiences to Jazz, commissioned by the EFG London Jazz Festival. With one CD released Catapluf’s Musical Journey has toured many parts of Europe including Norway, Sweden, France and Scotland.
Adriano’s distinctive sounds come from organic materials, connected to nature. They are made out of wood, clay, metal, skins and the philosophy behind it is the connection with the four classic elements: water, earth, air and fire. Playing percussion is about making music. Drums are very powerful, however they do not have to be loud. The idea of percussion has changed dramatically with the great late percussionist Nana Vasconcelos, who is Adriano’s percussion master and inspiration. Adriano has many effect instruments, through which he creates mesmerising atmospheres and soundscapes; he paints with sounds, telling stories through music.
Over the years Adriano has worked as a curator and artistic director. From 2009-2010 Adriano was an artist in residence at the Lakeside Theatre, Colchester. He also curated ‘Festival Brasileiro’, which involved theatre, dance, music and fine arts from Brazil, and challenged presiding conceptions of Brazilian culture. As part of the festival, he arranged for and conducted the Essex Youth Jazz Ensembles. Adriano is currently an artist in Residence at the EFDSS - English Folk Dance and Song Society, where he developed ‘Within the Waves’, a project for massed voices and percussion performing sea songs and sea shanties from Brazil and England.
As a composer, Adriano has been commissioned by Bath Music Festival to write a new music piece for the opening of 2011 and 2012’s Bath festivals. He was also a composer/music director of dance-theatre piece Ballroom of Joys and Sorrows, a collaboration with Kate Flatt (original choreographer of Les Miserables). He has composed for dance companies, including Phoenix dance company 2016, with whom he wrote the score for ‘Undivided lovers’, a dance piece based on and celebrating shakespeare’s 400 anniversary.
Education is part of Adriano’s life. He is often writing new music to collaborate with primary school pupils both singing and playing instruments. As part of City of London Festival, Adriano developed a project with children who collected recycling material from the City of London, which was transformed into drums. The children went on to form a procession, playing the instruments with a grand finale with the Umpatacum band, performing in front of St Pauls Cathedral. He also travels worldwide to teach, and recently has been teaching master students from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.
"When Adriano selects his instruments it’s with the surety of knowing the exact sound required"
"Adewale combines his Brazilian and African roots brilliantly in a captivating synthesis."
“Adriano Adewale boasts an imposing collection of firepower yet deploys it with rare restraint.”
“London-based Brazilian percussionist Adriano Adewale has lately been proving he’s a priceless asset“
JOHN FORDHAM, THE GUARDIAN
“A whole percussion orchestra by himself”
BRITISH THEATRE GUIDE