The University of Illinois Brazilian Armorial Ensemble (Nação Terra do Milho) is designed to study traditional Brazilian string-band, accordion, and flute music. The group primarily performs music of Brazil’s northeast region, focusing on its traditional instruments, such as rabecas, pífanos, and zabumbas, and regional genres, dance rhythms, and vocal practices including, but not limited to, maracatu, coco, baião, xote, and benditos, as well as music from the Movimento Armorial. In addition to learning to perform the music, students also gain insight into local performance contexts and cultural significance. Students participate in instrument-making workshops and residencies with Brazilian musicians who are experts in the styles we study. Students in the course learn much of the music by ear and we play a mixture of composed and arranged works as well as collective improvisation.
Contact ensemble director Mike Silvers for more information.