By Tony Maiella, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In late September and early October, Rock in Rio will bring a massive music festival back Rio de Janeiro, chock-full of international superstar performers. But there’s more to it than acts like Stevie Wonder and Red Hot Chili Peppers, this year’s Rock in Rio introduces an innovation to the festival called Rock Street, and among other attractions, will feature several favorite local Rio expat performers.
Bruce Henri, an expatriate himself from New York State and Producer of Rock Street, is also contributing to the entertainment directly with his jazz flavored group, Bruce Henri Quarteto. Henri came to know the other expats playing Rock Street through his own work as a double bass player in the city, and by chance.
The new addition of Rock Street will be a New Orleans-themed strip filled with stores, bars, restaurants and buskers. Although some of the performers are from Brazil or being imported from the U.S., Henri has also worked to bring in local expat performers he has followed during his time here.
“Years ago I was riding my bike and ran into Mark Lambert playing at the bar Garota de Ipanema,” claims Henri. “I also was introduced to Scott Feiner during a gig I was doing at the Copacabana Palace. During the intermission the DJ put on some music that blew me away. It was Scott.”
Peter Warner, another friend of Henri’s from The River Country Trio comments, “We are really looking forward to it. We´ll be playing all days of Rock in Rio … For us it will by a week vacation playing music and meeting other talented musicians playing Rock Street.”
The River Country Trio, formed by Steve Yolen (banjo, guitar, vocals), Peter Warner (guitar, vocals) and Tony Lupidi (vocals, guitar, banjo) presents bluegrass, country and gospel music with a focus on vocal harmonies making it an enjoyable American roots music experience.
“I´m really curious as to how we’ll be received there … [and also] excited because I’m playing with some of Brazil’s best jazz musicians,” says Expat New Yorker Scott Feiner from Scott Feiner Pandiero Jazz. Feiner and his band perform original compositions with a jazz attitude, integrating the pandeiro into the music so that it takes the place of the drum set.
Mark Lambert, also a former New York City musician, runs the gambit with American music from the thirties all the way through the sixties with his group Mark Lambert e Orquestra Rádio Swing playing jump swing, rhythm and blues, and funk.
But Rock Street is “more than just music” in the words of Bruce Henri. He continues, “Rock Street is a cauldron of different attractions and artistic manifestations. It’s an open environment, fun and relaxing, a true plethora of artists oozing talent throughout more than one-hundred meters of street and on the sidewalks and on the small stages and central stage.”
Rock Street is bound to be a great opportunity for all the performers involved and perhaps a welcome escape from the frenzy surrounding the main stages. With all the talented expatriate musicians, one can also expect some authentic American music, and possibly some spur of the moment jam sessions fit for the best of North American summer music festivals.
For more information visit: rockinrio.com.br.