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SERPETANGO jazz and Brazilian music- featuring Laura Volpintesta

Here is a link to one of my Brazilian duo songs: My mother is a singer of art songs, and I can't remember when I wasn't singing through my life (or whistling, or dancing) since the beginning ( like so many of us).  My parents are Italian and Irish Americans who gave birth to my brother and I while my father studied in Mexico City for almost six years.

My father always collected records from all over the world, of pop, classical, and folk musics.   ( he and my mother are artists, too, and so am I , but that's another story and another business-- although my formation in Fashion Design results in some really amazing stage outfits!!)

They had some Mexican mariachi albums that affected me profoundly.  Seemingly hundreds of violins and trumpets, sobbing and ecstatic vocals and the most lilting rhythms, heart wrenching harmonies that I would sit on the steps and just listen, aware that in that music I heard and felt a range and intensity of emotion that was completely out of the scop of my quiet New England life.  I longed to touch it, to feel it, to connect with this other world. It moved me to tears again and again.  The beauty of it and the life it ignited in me was overwhelming and I treasured it.

Fast forward-  Parsons School of Design, studying fashion design and fine arts in NYC, connected to the Jazz School.  A Billie Holiday Disc and an Ella Fitzgerald disc formed the soundtrack for that year, I learned the songs, walked the streets whistling and singing, and started to sit in with groups around school.   I had the incredible luck to join an Afro American Gospel choir that I stayed with for 5years, and a Cuban salsa band (and later a Charanga band) , and saw a lot of big and small jazz performances.

In these musical experiences I connected with the movements and emotions that encompassed the range of being alive in that amazing city.  The next year in Paris, France, I connected with the African Music, learned French, then returned to New York and continued to follow jazz, African music, then found Brazilian music (and the Brazilian husband to go with it.... that didin't last very long, but I have three amazing kids now, half brazilian! :0)

I continued to sing here and there, our gospel choir won the McDonalds Gospelfest in 1995 at Carnegie hall and I started to obsess about and learn zillions of Brazilian songs.  I became fluent in Brazilian Portuguese, learned samba and folkloric dances and songs, especially of the African traditions in Brazil. The mix of cultures and races in Brazil felt healing and rich.

From 2001-2008 I started performing exclusively brazilan music in duos and larger dance bands, from the jazziest poetic songs and choros, bossa nova, to danced up Forro pe de serra, sambas, and axe music with all of the guitarists and percussionists that were on that scene in NY and CT (until the birth of my third child in 2009).  I schooled myself in those ensembles, experienced amazing joy to play the poetry, rhythms and harmonies that I love so much, and danced, danced danced.

I want to share this healing, moving, soothing, joyful and sad music and history and poetry with the world.  I want the work to be pretty local (nY NY CT and Boston) because my family comes first and I"m a single mom.

I am totally done with playing for 50 dollars at restaurants.  This is not sustainable for the quality of music that I want to provide. I have my PA system and a roster of NYC musicians who I love to work with .  What I don't currently have is local musicians who I want to work with who are organized and talented.

What I also struggle with is that I have a wide reaching repertoire and love of music, I can play many different kinds of styles and repertoires beautifullly.  So at times it can be difficult to narrow down when I know Ican do jazz or R&B just as well and wonder do I have to restrain it? I can do different styles for different occasions, right?

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