Sergio and Odair Assad: Guitar Brothers

An audience at the Cochran Chapel welcomed Musicians, Sergio, Odair Assad Odair, Clarice Assad, Keita Ogawa and Christiane Karam to perform Brazilian and Lebanese music at a concern this past Friday.

Sergio and Odair Assad took stage first playing “Bandoneón,” a piece by Astor Piazzolla.

The piece was full of discordant sounds, though the two guitarists played a similar melody.

The atmosphere at the Chapel was carefree while the music was modern and jazzy. As the piece progressed, it acquired a more frantic tone. One guitarist used his guitar as a percussion instrument to achieve the desired sound, while also playing traditionally at the same time.

The Assad brothers continued on to play “Epônina” and “Batuque,” two pieces by E. Nazareth, representing their Lebanese heritage.

“Epônin” and “Batuqe” were more peaceful than “Bandoneón,” but, the Assad brother continued using their guitars as percussion instruments, allowing the piece to retain a playful tone.

Next, the brothers played two pieces by T. Jobim, “Amparo” and “Stone Flower.” Assad provided her voice as an emotional addition to the next piece, “Melodia Sentimental” by H. Villa Lobos.

Ogawa, the percussionist, performed “Cajuina” by C. Veloso with Clarice Assad. Here Clarice Assad played the piano and sang.

Ogawa made sounds that transported the listener to a rainforest. Assad’s powerful voice sounded angry, which went well with the piano’s rhythmic part, consisting mostly of low pitches.

In “Baião de 5” by G. Levy, Sergio and Assad performed with Clarice Assad and Ogawa. The voice part unionized with the guitar’s part, with the percussion marking the rhythm.

Later in the piece the vocal part alternated a melismatic melody with the quick syllables of before.

“Mourão” by C. Guerra-Peixe was a more lively piece. Clarice Assad went back to the piano in this instrumental piece in which the beat seemed to invite the listener to dance.

In the middle of the piece Keita Ogawa had a percussion solo which astounded the audience, triggering great applause. An intermission divided the concert into two parts, the second of which was characterized by the strong presence of their Lebanese heritage.

The Assad brothers played “Tahhiyya li Ossoulina” composed by Sergio Assad himself. The piece created a mysterious and mystical atmosphere.

“In Nahna Wel Amar Jiran” by the Rahbani brothers, Lebanese musician Christiane Karam sang a melismatic melody, while the Assad brothers played the guitar. Lamma Bada Yatathanna by Abdel Halim El Masloub was performed by Christiane Karam and Keita Ogawa. The song had an extremely melancholic sound, thanks to the melismatic vocal part.

The piece “Dunya Bir Dolap,” composed by Christiane Karam with lyrics by A. Veysel includedChristiane Karam and Clarice Assad singing together, accompanied by Keita Ogawa on percussion.

They started at the opposite ends of the stage, getting closer as the song continued to finish standing right next to each other, while Christiane Karam sang the melody and Clarice Assad went in unison with the percussion.

The final piece of the program was the Suite “de volta as raizes” of three parts, Tarkeen (Leaving), Yaoum Jdid (Hope) and Haneen (Nostalgia) by Sergio and Clarice Assad and Christiane Karam.

In this Suite one of the Assad brothers played the oud, a typical Lebanese instrument. The first section of the Suite had a strong rhythm, initially making the piece sound impatient, then continuing on to a calmer, oriental tone.

The second section had many accented notes while the percussionist reproduced the sound of rain, thunder and wind, giving a determined character to the piece.

The third section was mysterious and nostalgic, thanks to the use of the oud, and the voice part was recited instead of sung.

Towards the end of the concert, the musicians surprised the audience with another piece. This piece contained greater intensity and was faster and more enrapturing. The rhythm invited the audience to dance.

“It was great to hear the melange of Brazilian and Lebanese beats in the last few repertoires. As a frequent listener of Arabic music, I can say that Christiane Karam’s powerful voice is the epitome of contemporary pop-folk music. Yet, she’s definitely got her own style– jazzy but not completely,” said Oscar Chim ’13.

The audience applauded enthusiastically at the end of the concert, rewarding the performers for their outstanding performance.