By Fiona Hurrell, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Music has always been a prominent fixture in the city of Rio where the lively sounds of samba and bossa nova can be heard in many of the local bars and clubs. This infectious and diverse environment has prompted expatriate musician Alan Pratt to add his own unique blend of sounds to the mix playing with his two very different bands Bootleg, and Beeliv.
Arriving in Rio in 1982, Pratt fell in love with the city and has called it home ever since. Although he doesn’t perform traditional samba, he feels inspired by the sounds of Brazil, explaining “The influences are irresistible and they all wind up affecting my song writing and production in some way.”
Pratt’s first band, Bootleg, includes his five sons Eric, Mike, Dave, Brandt and Abner who range between 27 to 32 years of age, and his long term musical collaborator Keith Yocum. Their music has a distinct sound which Pratt describes as “Classic R&B, blues and rock with a bit of country.” The band are currently producing their second album and preparing for an upcoming tour around the U.S., Europe and Argentina.
Describing his second band, which consists of his two daughters, 27 year old Liv and 24 year old Bee, Pratt says “Beeliv is a whole different concept. My two girls provide the vocals and I play a six string acoustic to accompany them.”
Explaining the musical style of the group Pratt confesses “Our repertoire includes songs I would not normally do, not because I don’t like it, it’s simply music of another generation and culture.”
However he enjoys the diversity it brings to his music style as well as a new and varied fan base. “Our fans are surf people, people who like the beach therefore our songs are a mix of that plus some other popular songs thrown in.”
The band’s popularity among the beach and surf scene even prompted Brazilian clothes brand Bintang to invite the trio to help launch their new store on August 13th at Rio Design in Barra.
Beeliv, who are currently producing their first album, will be performing at Melt in Leblon on Friday 19th August. Pratt says “Melt is a great place to play and the crowd is fantastic. They are always a lot of fun to play for and get really in to it.”
The show itself promises to be different from previous performances because the band will be joined by two of Pratt’s sons, Brandt and Eric who will add to the sound by playing the guitar and drums. He explains “Since we’ve been playing at some bigger venues we needed to beef up the sound a little, it’s hard to fill up a large outdoor area with an acoustic trio”.
Pratt went on to confirm that the material on Beeliv’s upcoming album will be performed by the same family quintet, “Our CD will have the same personnel as at the gig but the vibe and feel will remain the same as the acoustic trio, just punchier.”
2011 has certainly been a busy year for Alan Pratt who is also getting ready for a solo gig at Rock Street which will be featured during the Rock in Rio music festival this September. Speaking of his anticipation of the event, Alan says “I can get back to my roots with this gig because it’ll be me singing with my guitar and harp on a rack. There will be some blues and folk and well as some of my own songs. I’ll probably sing up every song I ever knew.”