I cannot imagine living without music,” says one of Vancouver’s most versatile guitarists, Celso Machado, who will be performing at this year’s MusicFest Vancouver. He says that “if there is no music, there is the sound of nature.”
Machado believes that birds and animals have something to say, if you just take the time to listen to them. After talking with him, it is easy to notice that nature is his source of inspiration. “I try to contribute what I can, and I like when I’m able to make people happy with my music,” he says.
Machado grew up in Brazil in a family full of music. His older brother was the one who taught Machado to play guitar, just like he taught his little brother a couple of years later. After leaving Brazil, Machado lived in several European countries before he was captivated by Vancouver’s uniqueness. He moved here in the late 1980s.
“Vancouver isn’t the same as it was then, with small original cafés, bars and live music,” tells Machado. But he still enjoys living in Vancouver, surrounded by family, friends and nature.
His music represents his roots, but also reminds him of Canada and all the places he has lived in. “It [my music] has Brazilian roots, even if I compose the songs in Canada and every time I play the song, it reminds me of Canada,” he says. “Of course I miss Brazil, but I have also lived in Italy and France. I would say it is more music of the world, not world music.”
Machado feels that he is creating his own musical culture. “We all bring something to the culture we live in. We carry our background with us and we give a little bit of it to the people we work with,” he explains.
A similar thought arises in discussion with Jayme Stone. Stone is another representative of the world music genre at this year’s MusicFest and a virtuoso banjoist. “I try to get my own stamp and spirit [onto] the culture. Following my own impulse, listening and putting down my own sounds, I try to make [a] little world of it,” he says.
Stone is known for having a wide repertoire of songs from different cultures. He has travelled to the roots of banjo music in Africa, as well as to other countries to explore folk song traditions. “Something in the songs and lyrics appeals to me. I like the idea that the sound captures the feeling even with minimalistic lyrics,” he explains.
Stone was 16 years old when he got his first banjo. “I heard the sound of banjo and there was something in it that spoke to me. When I got one, my world was turned upside down,” he says about his choice of instrument.
Jayme Stone will perform two different concerts at MusicFest Vancouver. One set, according to Matthew Baird, the festival’s program director, is what banjo music is expected to be. The other is of a more classical style, and even includes music by the composer Johann Sebastian Bach.
The festival offers a vast selection of genres and concerts. Baird says that there are 40 jewels included in the program this year. “Those are all some things that we really want people to see,” he says.
“We want the music-loving audience to have a chance to concentrate on the music and performances without disruptions.”
MusicFest Vancouver takes place August 10–19. For more information visit: www.musicfestvancouver.ca
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