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Brazilian Toninho Ferragutti lulls us with his soothing rhythms on his World/Latin album, O Sorriso Da Manu, which translates in Portuguese to The Smile of Manu, in honor of Ferragutti’s youngest daughter. In his quartet, Ferragutti trills his accordion with his piano, clarinet, bass and percussion partners, perfecting an instrumental album that's sure to keep dancers waltzing.
From the Brazilian culture, Ferragutti intertwines music from flamenco and choro dancing that transports listeners to the elegance of a promenade setting, making them feel as if they are dancing to the sway of his accordion under a starry night.
Ferragutti developed his experience from performing with dance groups such as flamenco, choro (meaning “cry” or “lament” in Portuguese) and gaúchos from South Brazil. Track 5, “Flamenta,” for instance, carries that flamenco flair with the clicking castanets.
This album was recorded live in São Paulo. According to Ferragutti, the quartet has been used to performing live, when every instrumentalist feels the sway of the moment.
“It was easier to record live,” he said to StoryAmp. “And live, the sound is totally different to a studio. It’s much warmer and there’s real interplay between everyone.”
Ferragutti’s musical education from the Gomes Cardin Musical Conservatory, in Campinas, São Paulo, helped him refine his abilities as a composer. He performed with several symphony orchestra concerts, such as the OSESP (State Symphony Orchestra of São Paulo) and the Chamber Orchestra of the University of Paraíba, and has worked with conductors such as Cláudio Cruz, Isaac Karabichevsky and João Maurício Galindo.
Ferragutti’s other albums Nem Sol Nem Lua and Sanfonemas won recognition. Nem Sol Nem Lua was nominated among the top 10 instrumental CDs in 2006 and Sanfonemas was nominated for the Latin Grammy Award in 2000 as Best Brazilian Roots album.
Among my favorites of this album are "Circuleta" and "Nova." Each of these carries a rhythm that reminds me of a Latin cafe. As I listen to the swaying violins and sexy accordion, I imagine myself waltzing in a silk dress or pirouetting as the rhythm quickens. Every time Ferragutti surprises me with a sudden quick beat or an interjection from the piano, I’m always pleased with the music’s elegance. I highly recommend this album for dancers and Latin lovers.
Listen to Ferragutti's opening song “Circuleta”: