The Kennedy Center

Percussivo Mundo Novo



Biography

Rising from the proposition that in mixing traditional instrumentation with technological innovation one can reinvent the way we play percussion and popular music, Percussivo Mundo Novo (“New World Percussion”) or PMN (pronounced "Pay May Nay") combines custom designed instruments with a unique style of playing, dubbed, "Digital Percussion". PMN is a collaborative project led by multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Mikael Mutti together with some of Bahia’s best and most creative percussionists, offering an inspired and entertaining twist on contemporary music from Brazil, meshing influences like samba, jazz, rap, rock, electronica, hip-hop, and samba-reggae, while maintaining throughout a deep respect and affection for the traditional styles and heritage that is at its roots.

Percussivo Mundo Novo is composed of Brazilian musicians from Bahia’s artistic new generation, that believe that through the expression of their music and art, they can build a new world of rhythm and percussion, without losing track of the roots from where it came. PMN exalts the elements of the musical culture of Bahia, joining together the modern with the traditional, presenting to its audience a new and distinctive musical experience. Featuring a distinct live aesthetic, and a vibe that flows between cyberpunk and ceremony, the players rock and leap with a spark that belies the group’s astounding precision. The sheer energy will get even the most staid audience dancing.

PMN’s instruments are designed and built by the band, creating new forms of playing and adapting traditional instruments -- mounting them on the musician’s body making them more mobile. Visually striking and acoustically distinctive, these instruments played together with their more modern digital and electronic counterparts, create the unique sound and musical concept of the band.

Over the last couple of years the band has had the opportunity to participate in several “intercambio” projects with international artists visiting Bahia to further push the boundaries of their musical innovation. Encontros Percussivos first materialized in 2009 a visiting ten-piece Caribbean Steel pan ensemble from Florida Memorial University in Miami, with whom PMN developed and performed a musical collaboration in Bahia’s historical Pelourinho district. The project took on a new dimension in for Bahia Carnaval 2010, with PMN hosting the Trio Eletrico with guest artists Earthrise Soundsystem and Davi Vieira from New York, DJ Static Revenger from Los Angeles, and DJ Daniel Venezuela from Caracas. In November of 2009, the band performed in the festival Musica Mestiço, the first Brazilian edition of the renowned Musique Mestizes.

2011 will be a breakout year for PMN. This July and August they launch their debut North American tour highlighted by participation in the Lincoln Center Outdoor Festival as part of the La Casita project with shows in Manhattan and the Bronx. Back home in Salvador they will headline the project Encontros Percussivos (Percussion Encounters), which between May and September will see them traveling throughout the state of Bahia conducting workshops and creating collaborations with local artists as well as master percussionists like Marcos Suzano, Babilak Bah, Mauricio Tizumba and Wilson das Neves, in addition to French electronic musician/digital artist Cyrille Brissot. The project will also have them performing on the stages of the ground-breaking multi-faceted Conexaõ Vivo festivals in Salvador and throughout the state.

With Mutti and the Percussivo Mundo Novo, the first of the cyber-Mohicans hits the stage, shredding like rock stars on touch-screen tablets melded with Guitar Hero controllers in laser-sharp app solos, PMN’s sound sparkles with and with a resounding pulse coaxed out of re-imagined Northeastern Brazilian drums. With a three-foot tall Mohawk and the blessing of the spirits, there are hints of Herbie Hancock at his funkiest, of prog rock panache, but he and his crew invent new instruments for ancient roots: the rumbling joys of Afro-Brazilian beats, the rolling pulse of samba, and the deep presence of candomble.

With a vast and varied resume of performance, production and touring that belies his youth, Mikael Mutti has drawn from the experience in developing the Percussivo Mundo Novo project. Considered by many one of the top producers and arrangers in Bahia, he has for the last ten years been working by the side of Brazilian percussion master and super-star Carlinhos Brown as keyboardist, arranger and musical director. Along with Brown and Sergio Mendes he is one of the key collaborators on the soundtrack for the newly released animated feature film Rio, directed by Carlos Saldanha and received a Latin Grammy for his work on Sergio Mendes Bom Tempo album released in 2010. He has worked closely with other important Brazilian and international artists including the Heavy Metal band Scorpions (incorporating Brazilian percussion with their “acoustic” project), Carlos Santana, Daniela Mercury, Claudia Leite and Timbalada, amongst others. Combining his many years of training with traditional percussion with a sensibility derived from growing up in the age of the computer video game, Mikael uses computer keyboards, video game controllers, “Guitar Hero” devices, laser motion sensors, iPads, custom instruments built from metal and PVC with electronic sensors, samplers and digital sequences to reproduce with fidelity the most varied percussion instruments: Djembe, Berimbau, Pandeiro, Drums, Timbau, Surdo, Congas or even a complete escola de samba.

Eduardo Varjão (“Dudamen”) – Percussion; Dudamen is without doubt one of the top percussionists currently working in Salvador. An active participant in the principal percussion movements in Bahia, Duda accompanied the creation of samba reggae with Mestre Neguinho do Samba and Olodum and then subsequently the birth of Timbalada with Carlinhos Brown. Duda has performed with Daniela Mercury, Os Novos Baianos, Carla Visi, Neto Bala, Armandinho and Amanda Santiago.

Valfredo Ferreira (“Gato Preto”) – Percussion; Percussionist since the age of 13, Gato Preto is from the musical neighborhood of Candeal, where he accompanied as both student and partner, the musical development of Carlinhos Brown. He participated in all of the important musical projects that were born of that noted “barrio”. He is a noted expert in Capoeira Angola and has toured both the U.S. and Europe as a percussionist and capoeira master. Gato Preto has performed with Timbalada, Vai Quem Vem e Carlinhos Brown (European Tour 2004/2005).

Sydney Argolo – Percussion; Expert in Afro-Brazilian rhythms and community leader in neighborhood of Bairro da Paz, where he has developed the Project Grupo Etnia. Sidney also had his musical beginnings in Candeal alongside Carlinhos Brown. A performing musician since he was eight years old, he has become a master percussionist who has made several international tours with Brown. Experience includes Timbalada, Amanda Santiago and Carlinhos Brown (with whom he collaborated on the soundtrack recording of Speed 2).

Caíque Vidal – Vocals and Percussion; Caíque is a percussionist, singer and composer who has also dedicated many years to the study and performance of African and modern dance – he can truly be described as a complete artist. He possesses a powerful voice and a dynamic stage presence. His experience includes Orquestra Vozes Reveladas (with maestro Sérgio Souto, with whom he toured Venezuela, Colombia, the UK and the US), Tonelada, Marcia Freire and Balé Folclorico da Bahia.
Percussivo Mundo Novo