Interview with Pamela Driggs

Pamela Driggs talks to 441 about the making of ItacuruÁŠ

How did ItacuruÁŠ come about?
"Aosis Records in Japan gave me the opportunity to record a second CD for them, once again working with the fantastic producer, Atsushi "Sushi" Kosugi. Knowing that Romero and I enjoy working together as a duo, Sushi suggested we record some of our favorite pieces as a duo, in addition to some standards and original songs done with a rhythm section.

Romero and I love to mix Brazilian and American, old and new, and this project allowed us to do that in many different ways musically.Ē

Any memorable aspects?
"Recording in December in Rio de Janeiro right near a beautiful beach with some of the best musicians in the world for this type of music to help us create the sound, the feeling, the swing we were looking for.

Stopping on the way to the studio to get "caipirinhas" (Brazil's lime cocktail) and "bolinhos de bacalhau" (fried codfish balls--maybe there's a better translation!) to go.

The fun of being in a Brazilian recording studio (laid back) with a Japanese producer (all work, very quick) and an American engineer, Roy Hendrickson (quick and all work and laid back) communicating in many different styles of Portuguese, Japanese and English with each other and everybody else."

How did you meet everyone involved with the project?
"The musicians were already friends, in addition to being great talents and extremely in demand for recording and performing. We were fortunate they were available when we needed them.

"Romero Lubambo (guitar, arrangements, shaker, vocals) and I met when he played on my first CD, River Wide, with the group Brasilia. We just wanted the best guitarist for the music.

"Paulo Calasans (piano and Fender Rhodes) recorded with me on my first Aosis CD, prior to that I had admired him from the many recordings he has been involved with.

"Marcelo Mariano (electric bass) I met while Romero was recording his "Love Dance" CD. We were recording the song "By the Brook" in a beautiful studio in Connecticut with lots of family around, including his.

"Nilson Matta (acoustic bass) and Duduka Da Fonseca (drums) are close family friends and partners with Romero in Trio da Paz. We took advantage of them vacationing in Rio (they live in New York) to add their special sound to some tunes.

"Teo Lima (drums and percussion)is another musician I have admired for a long time, both on recordings and in live performance. We met several times at Ivan Lins shows (he is Ivan's drummer) and I was so happy to have him in the studio with us.

"All of those great musicians in the studio were so relaxed, happy, fun, professional, willing and giving.

"Philippe Saisse (strings arrangement and keyboard) I didn't meet until after the recording, but I knew of his work as well through his CDs. I appreciate his skill and taste in adding all the beautiful touches."

Give us your thoughts on the U.S. market as it pertains to your new album.
"This CD appeals to Brazilian music fans as well as those that like vocalists, jazz, standards, a guitar-voice duo, as well as new original compositions. The US music market is a mystery to me when it comes to getting music heard and placing it where people who would like to buy it could actually find it."

Was this title available in other counties?
"Yes, this was released in Japan in October, 2002."

How was your experience recording at Avatar Studios?
"I have worked with Sushi at Avatar on other projects. The studio is friendly, beautiful and equipped to help create a wonderful sound. Sushi is really demanding, Avatar has what he needs."

Is there anything new on the market that has been influencing you these days?
"There is not one project in particular, but I am lately more and more drawn to very acoustic, live, bare sounds with interesting rhythmic components, as usual mixing Brazilian with American rhythms and melodies."

Who are your biggest influences?
"I am probably influenced a lot by the music I heard as a child. Not the Monkies, but the good stuff like lots of Ella Fitzgerald, Jonie Mitchell, Jobim. Later I discovered favorites Elis Regina and Ivan Lins.

"Flora Purim also comes to mind, as through her music I was introduced to Hermeto Pascoal and other incredible musicians that she has recorded with. Great arrangements, great musicians, for many years."

Is there a song that you have yet to record that you have always wanted to recreate or that may hold special meaning for you?
"There are many."

Are you planning a tour for the U.S.?
"Working on it!"

How did you get started in the music business?
"I could play a little bit of guitar and sing the blues, so I would for fun with friends at parties. One day one of my friends needed a lead singer for his band, so I signed up"

What future recording projects would be the most interesting and exciting for you to work on?
"I would like to work on a project with simple, soft, rhythmic music with some of my wild musical idols."

Other Fun Facts

Birth Place: Fresno, CA

Personal Hobbies: Gardening, anything outside in beautiful weather, canoeing, swimming

Education: B.A. and M.A. in Spanish Literature from the University of Nevada - Reno; doctoral studios (all but dissertation) at Arizon State University - Tempe

Favorite Artist: Romero Lubambo