Basso3 – double-bass trio

For over a year I’m teaming up with fellow bass players Alvaro Rosso and José Miguel Pereira in a double-bass trio format – Basso3 (facebook page)

Since around 2009 I have started to experiment with other musicians from the improvisation field, in particular participating on the MIA encounters and more recently at the MEIA festival in Aveiro. It was precisely on the opening edition of this event that the concert now registered in the shape of an album took place, in a brilliant effort by the Pássaro Vago label.

The album is on free streaming but the CD may also be purchased at Pássaro Vago’s bancamp page.

I hope these new sounds will capture your imagination!

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Photon tutorial / bass lesson

This is my first attempt to make a bass tutorial/lesson. I took from my latest video “Be The One” and made this video all dedicated to Chris work on the Photon bass.

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Be The One

“Be The One” was a song mostly composed on Chris’ Photon “piccolo” bass – or so I believe. The reason that makes me lean towards this is the specific tuning used on the Photon – D, B flat, D, G (bottom to top), which makes the opening harmonics. This was a very challenging song to study and it just makes one appreciate even more the creative genius of Chris Squire, always re-inventing his own way of composing, and by that, re-inventing the instrument itself.

I remember an interview of Chris’ by saying that these sessions were very much all recorded live with very little or no overdubbing. I had the same feeling when playing for my recording sessions, especially the middle rocking sections.

Thank you, Chris!

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Lucky Seven

In the Loving Memory of Christopher Russell Edward Squire

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Interview at Bulgarian National Television

This morning I was interviewed by Bulgarian National Television about my interest for Bulgarian Folklore, along with my Gadulka teacher Angel Dobrev.

bntWe played a duet consisting of a study in the format Paydushko Horo, a traditional Bulgarian dance in 5/8.

You can watch the video at https://www.bnt.bg/bg/a/migel-falkao-portugaletsa-t-kojto-sviri-na-ga-dulka

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Ensemble “Trakia” 40th anniversary concert with Stela Petrova on bass

Last Sunday I had the privilege of attending a session with Stela Petrova, bassist at the Ensemble “Trakia”. Later, on that unforgettable day, I watched Ensemble “Trakia” on their 40th anniversary concert, at the Ancient roman Theatre, in the historical city of Plovdiv. I carefully chose my place at the first row to watch Stela playing up close. The ensemble is composed by dancers, a choir and an orchestra, where Stela plays the double bass, the only non-traditional instrument in the group. Stela’s role is exclusively to provide orchestral support and probably the only element which will never take a solo spot in any presentation, yet Stela provides the bottom end during the whole performance which totally drives the whole show, essential for the rhythm section, and consequently setting the pace for the extraordinary dancers to perform intricate choreographies, defining harmony for the choir and orchestra, and allowing soloists to shine.

Hopefully, the footage I have gathered will show, despite of the audio quality of my recording, the often disregarded role of the double-bass in a Bulgarian folk ensemble, which is in reality vital. Stela also told me that many of the songs, by the great composer Stefan Mutafchiev, do not have bass scores originally, so Stela actually composed many basslines, for Stefan Mutafchiev gave the freedom for the bass player to develop them. Stela also has shown me different versions of songs, where she was playing different basslines of the same song, such as “Oi, Shope, Shope” which closes the first part of the footage.

The second part ends with the great finale, where many of the 4ooo attendants join the ensemble to dance onstage, bringing the celebration to a spectacular apotheosis.

Although I opted to film mostly Stela and his orchestra mates, the show is much more a dance and vocal show for the majority of the audience, so I add below and excerpt from the show, as broadcasted live by the Bulgarian National Television and I encourage you to look for more audience recordings of this and other shows of Ensemble “Trakia” to complement your perspective of the beautiful show of colour and movement provided by one of the most relevant artistic institutions of Bulgaria.

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Bulgarian Bass session with Stela Petrova

A session in Bulgarian Music with bass star Stela Petrova. During this two-hour session, Stela taught me how to play 3 songs. One, in a very tricky (for me) form of 9/8, from her band Diva Reka, is named “Happy Nine” and composed by one of the great kaval (Bulgarian flute) players of Bulgaria, band mate Kostadin Genchev. Two others, in 7/8, from the highly prestiged Ensemble Trakia, by great Bulgarian Composer Stefan Mutafchiev. Later, Stela would kindly demonstrate on video excerpts of “Happy Nine” and “Oi, Shope, Shope”. Hoping one day I will make my own versions of these and more wonderful Bulgarian Music.

Here’s Stela with Diva Reka playing “Vesela Devyatka” (Happy Nine)

As for  “Oi, Shope, Shope”, Stela pointed out that the actual meter is 13/16, but it’s simplified to 7/8 for music sheet, meaning that the actual duration of the first and last beats are not exactly equal, as in 7/8 (2+2+1+2).

Here’s the Trakia Ensemble orchestra and choir, performing “Oi, Shope, Shope”, joined by the “Cosmic Voices” choir.

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Bulgarian Folk Music session with Angel Dobrev and Petar Milanov

Dear Friends, I am again now in Bulgaria, for a second year of learning more about the wonderful Bulgarian traditional music. Last year I started to learn Gadulka, the Bulgarian fiddle, with Professor Angel Dobrev, Gadulka extraordinaire of the Folk Orchestra of Bulgarian National Radio and Gadulka luthier, who made my own gadulka.

The gadulka standard tuning is A E A , but besides the 3 main strings there are 11 resonant strings with the chromatic scale (except A, maybe because there’s already two As) which makes the gadulka sound so unique.

On this very special session, I had the immense pleasure of playing with one of my favourite musicians – Petar Milanov, guitarrist of the National Ensemble Filip Kutev Ensemble.

I was given the role of playing the main melody, a Daychovo Horo – a dance in 9/8 meter, while Angel and Petar provided harmony, which was totally improvised over the melody. We recorded two takes, meaning two completely different arrangements.

I believe that you will like the richness of Bulgarian Folk Music, and hopefully this will catch your interest to discover more of it. There is a lot to choose from, from melody, harmony, to time signatures and the virtuosity of the players, singers and choirs. Not forgetting the uniqueness of the Bulgarian instruments such as the Tambura, Kaval, Gaida and, of course, Gadulka.

I think in general Bulgarian folk has many elements that can attract Yesfans!

Chris lives on

Dear Friends,

I would like to thank you all those who have sent messages, comments or emails in the last weeks. Like many of you, I have been reading the massive flow of manifestations of grief, support and tribute to Chris, eventually finding some comfort in knowing that these feelings were shared by so many.

At the same time I was also handling daily routines, work and travelling, Chris was always present in my thoughts. Your messages were all read. I couldn’t reply to all of you and that’s why I am writing now.

So thank you very much for your support, for all the care and the positive energies that you have sent me, which I took and redirected in thoughts to Chris’ family and close friends, who have gone through the most difficult times.

We’ll continue to remember Chris and celebrate his music and person.

Thanks again!

Onward!

Miguel

Our Chris has left us

Dear Chris,

Thank you for the infinite amount of happiness that you have brought into my life. Be sure that you will remain brightly in our hearts. By leaving us today, you also gave me the consolation of knowing that when my day arrives, I will know who to look for.

As a great friend of mine told me – you lived productively and victoriously – you deserve paradise.

My deepest condolences to Chris’ family and friends.

I Love You

Miguel