The CD is the culmination of a project three years in the making. The goal of the project was to bring to the public the works of Jose Gomes da Graca - violinist, composer, poet and singer of Cabo Verde. Much thanks to my brother Laurindo, Ivo Pires, Tazinho, Danny, Nho Lilinho, and Nazario Lopes, for their great contributions to the project. On the CD - HOMENAGEM A DJEDJINHO - my father, Djedjinho, is playing in at least 8 songs and is singing on one track, track 10. It was hard to incorporate new sounds into the home recordings but the task was successful. This project, though paying tribute to a great talent from Brava, involves the influences of at least four other of the Cape Verde islands.
Tazinho brings the influence of Boavista with his fine guitar style; Nazario Lopes plays a very romantic piano and keyboard with a style of S. Nicolau; Danny Lamas, who was a very important part of this production, plays base and the twelve string guitar from a beautiful background gathered from S. Vicente and Brava; Ivo, Laurindo, Nho Lilinho and I, of course, are extremely influenced by the Brava sound left behind by the greats such as Djedjinho who plays a violin unlike other violins. By the way, Ivo plays the violin the voice tracks where I am singing. Laurindo did a fine job as co-producer, arranger, music director and performer of the traditional "viola" and guitar. Lilinho played the Cavaquinho, with the same passion and enthusiasm that has been associated with his smile and cavaquinho tucked under his chin and guarded by his arms close to his chest and shoulders. I did the singing, played cavaquinho and guitar. Djosinha of WJFD-FM(97.3 FM) calls this work "an outstanding work of Cape Verdean Traditional Music". The reaction has been great with very positive feed-back from the public.
The music is traditionally Cape Verdean in which Mornas, Coladeiras, Mazurca and Samba are selected to create a feeling of romance and nostalgia.
Jose Gomes da Graca was born on November 29, 1912 on the Island of Brava, Cape Verde. His quest for music would come soon thereafter. His father played a viola (a twelve-string instrument) and throughout Brava mornas, mazurcas, coladeiras and other forms of Cape Verdean music were played by bands made up of a violin, violas, and a cavaquinho. During this time, Jose would be influenced by the great composer, Eugenio Tavares, and the great violinist, "Nho Lim."
By the age of 9, Jose would fall in love with violin music and a few years later would play dances throughout Brava. Because he was small in stature, compared to other folks attending the dances, people began to call this child prodigy "Djedjinho," meaning Little Jose. To this day, throughout Cape Verdean communities, the name Djedjinho is associated with the man called "Mestre" because of his mastery of the violin. He left his mark in Cape Verdean music as a violinist, singer, composer, and creator of a new style in Cape Verdean violin music.
Djedjinho emigrated from Cape Verde to the United States in 1963. He first played in California and later moved to New England, where he resided until his death at the age of 81 in 1994.
Hilights of his life in the United States.
Al da Graca
53 Porter St., Taunton, MA 02786
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