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Transnational Popular Music and Dance of Brazil & Ireland: Rob Curto, Paddy League, and Kate Spanos
September 4 @ 8:00 pm - 9:15 pm
Forró, frevo, reels, jigs, and the button accordion. There are more connections than you know between the popular music and dances of Brazil and Ireland!
Join us for a conversation between ethnomusicologist Paddy League, Ph.D., ethnochoreologist Kate Spanos, Ph.D., and accordion master musician Rob Curto. They will describe their experiences and research in northeastern Brazilian and traditional Irish music and dance. The program will be moderated by Bryan McCann, Ph.D. of Georgetown University. We invite you to join us and ask questions with this distinguished panel.
This is the first in a series of conversations and multidisciplinary productions, and the beginning of an artistic collaboration between these artist/scholars.
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About the guests:
Rob Curto is an accordionist, pianist, and composer based in Philadelphia, and is the bandleader of Fish Harmonics, influenced by decades of music-making around the world. Steeped in American jazz piano standards, Rob discovered the accordion as an adult, and his curiosity led him to Brazil on a Fulbright project–where he ended up living on-and-off for several years in the Northeast, learning and absorbing the music traditions, and especially the piano accordion. Rob was part of establishing the Forro “scene” in the US with Rob Curto’s Forro For All, and toured the world with his “Brazilian Bluegrass” band, Matuto. Curto has developed an interest in Irish button box, adding B/C button accordion to his repertoire. He studies with NEA National Heritage Fellow and multi-All Ireland Champion, Billy McComisky, and occasionally with John Whelan and PJ Hernon. Curto is profoundly interested in the (relatively) recent history of accordion in traditional Irish music.
Panayotis (Paddy) League grew up around traditional Irish and Greek music and dance, and by his teenage years was performing professionally throughout both diasporas on a number of string and percussion instruments. For the last decade he has devoted much of his time and energy to studying the button accordion music of Northeast Brazil, particularly the style developed by the Calixto family of Campina Grande, Paraíba. He is currently Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at Florida State University and Director of the Center for Music of the Americas. He has published widely on the music, dance, and oral poetry traditions of the Aegean Greek islands, and is working on several print and multimedia projects in collaboration with Paraiban button accordionist Luizinho Calixto.
Kate Spanos, Ph.D., is a dancer, educator, scholar, and arts administrator whose work focuses on “dances of resistance” and social change through dance. She is an Irish dancer from Washington, DC and she completed an MA in traditional Irish dance performance at the University of Limerick in 2008. Her doctoral dissertation (University of Maryland) focused on the festivals and masquerade dances of Montserrat, the “Other Emerald Isle” of the Caribbean. She also practices various Brazilian movement forms including capoeira, frevo, and samba. In 2018, she was a postdoctoral Fulbright scholar in Recife, Brazil, where she studied popular dance of Pernambuco, including frevo, cavalo marinho, and maracatu rural. www.thekatespanos.com
Bryan McCann, Ph.D., is the department chair and a professor of Brazilian history in the History Department at Georgetown University. He is the author of the books Hello, Hello Brazil: Popular Music in the Making of Modern Brazil (Duke, 2004) and João Gilberto and Stan Getz’s Getz/Gilberto (Bloomsbury, 2018), as well as numerous articles on Brazilian popular music.