Julia Bomfim Trio – Reencontro – EP Review
There’s a note attached with the Julia Bomfim Trio’s new EP Reencontro that sold me on the sincerity of this band before I even had the chance to press play. Right at the end of all the details about the album, Julia wrote: “This EP was recorded with gratitude and joy. If you suddenly feel like smiling or dancing while listening to it, I will be happy – my main goal will have been achieved!” – and signed it with love to the world awaiting. You’ve gotta love a combination of sentiment & ambition like that – that’s sweet.
She just so happens to be a fantastic musician as well – AND…she plays with a couple more too…that’s how a trio works, of course. Julia and her violin skills are joined by the sublime talents of Eduardo Mercuri on guitar, and Ken Yanabe on the pandeiro; together as the Julia Bomfim Trio, they are making absolutely instrumental magic happen in their music and have one seriously fantastic EP on their hands.
And as far as that smile goes…you know, the one Julia was hoping we’d have on our faces when we’re listening to Reencontro – that one?
Well…Julia my friend…I have great news for you…I’m all smiles over here – I love this record!
If you love great musicianship & instrumentation, I don’t know how you couldn’t love this EP! I’m very impressed by these fine players, loving the passion, beauty, & unity they bring to their music, and I’m also digging the blend of cultural influence & classical sound they’ve got goin’ on. From what I’ve read, these songs from Reencontro have Julia reaching back to her roots, Brazilian music & songs she’d grown up with, some of which are even “among my earliest childhood memories” as she explains in the liner-notes. Though I’m not nearly as familiar with the songs, or one-fraction as skilled as any of these three fantastic players – I can certainly vouch for the fact they’re immaculately proficient, they play with genuine passion, and that the Julia Bomfim Trio has definitely picked a selection of songs that suits them very well. Everyone plays a role, every player brings strengths – and together, they achieve real balance.
You’ll hear the beauty they’re capable of right from the very beginnings of “Asa Branca / Voa Ilza” – it doesn’t take long at all before all three players are involved, instantly sending you into a really clever fusion of sound, style, and stunning musicianship. Listening to moments like around the first ninety-seconds where the guitar from Eduardo and violin from Julia really start to flex their interaction together really hits the spot – and hearing moments like around the two-fifteen mark where you can also hear how Ken’s pandeiro gets super involved along with them, stopping & starting & playing with the pace & space surrounding these ace-talents…I mean c’mon people, this is totally cool to listen to! LISTEN to the way “Asa Branca / Voa Ilza” opens up & expands will ya? It’s like a brand-new day where the sun is just starting to peek in through your window and the world is full of possibilities. Right off the bat, the Julia Bomfim Trio displays each individual’s set of skills in their own moments in the spotlight, and especially together as one. Julia gets exceptional tone & expression into her violin work and definitely fuels the heart of the main melody & theatrics that come along with this first tune, but if you’re paying close attention, you’ll hear Eduardo nearly mimicking her every move – and together, it’s absolutely remarkable to experience & listen to. Everything is so complex & quick, yet so tight & together when it comes to what they bring to “Asa Branca / Voa Ilza” – and Ken gets the chance to be a bit more creative & avant-garde with his performance as a result. All-in-all, every bit as interesting as it is enticing to hear.
“Rosa” is pretty much all-out gorgeous from beginning to end. I have the feeling given the namesake of the band and the exquisite way that Julia plays violin, that a ton of people out there will definitely keep their focus on what she brings to this trio – and no one could blame anyone for that, she’s a fantastic player. All I’m saying is, both Eduardo & Ken also give her the space & reliability she needs to stand out as well – so recognize that, even though the band bears her name, her supporting cast of cohorts are absolutely there for her in every way when it comes to songs like “Rosa” & the rest of the Reencontro EP. Love the sparkle in the guitar tone on the way in, love the percussion & how it plays such a massive role in the rhythm, love the innately beautiful & fluid way that Julia plays her violin – “Rosa” comes out with a genuine combination of grace and melody leading the way. Together they weave themselves a wonderful tapestry of sound that’s endearing, charismatic, and moving in that Choro-esque style of songwriting that’s beloved around the globe. “Rosa” makes its transformations subtly, shifting the melody a degree this way or that way as the trio delivers on an adventurously sweet instrumental.
“Um A Zero” has the trio at their most proficient & playful at the very same time – they do an absolutely magnificent job on this song and put in a truly breathtaking & inspired performance. What a LIVELY tune! Absolutely amazing movement in “Um A Zero” and an incredible combination of bold instrumentation and creative melody thriving all throughout this third song from the Reencontro EP. I know it’s always tough to pin down instrumentals or classically-inclined music for what the ‘single’ might be, or the best tune to put out there to pull the people in to listen – but in the case of this particular record, I’d have to say it’s probably hands-down this song. And don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that it necessarily makes it the ‘best’ tune on the entire record, just the most likely accessible in terms of what’ll spark the people’s interest. “Um A Zero” has that zest & creativity you’re looking for – it’s even got a pandeiro solo in the mix for ya, in addition to that signature aspect of the Julia Bomfim Trio’s Eduardo and Julia linking up their own instruments in tandem for some supremely wild, innovative, and entirely challenging moments in this tune. Like everything else you’ve heard on this EP, they pull it all off like it’s no big deal at all…like they could do this all day, every day – and I’m sure if they have the opportunity, they probably do! Songs like “Um A Zero” are a perfect reflection of just how invested each player is, how giving they are to each moment, and how each part stacks up into something more. But c’mon y’all – this is not only entirely charming to listen to, it’s astonishingly well-played, energetic, enthusiastic…the pure joy of music emanates from every pore of “Um A Zero” – and what an ending!
The final song, “Naquele Tempo / Por Una Cabeza” is a hybrid medley that aims to reveal “the contrast between two musically very strong cities: Rio De Janeiro and Buenos Aires” according to the notes online. I haven’t been to either of those places, but it sure sounds like I’d want to go! “Naquele Tempo / Por Una Cabeza” taps into brilliant doses of character in the notes & tones of the violin & guitar, leading to true sweetness in the melody all-around. A fusion that includes a Tango-inspired sound to go with their signature Choro style & approach, the multiple access points in the appealing & alluring music made by the Julia Bomfim Trio on “Naquele Tempo / Por Una Cabeza” proves their multi-dimensional style could potentially reach a very wide audience. It’s just that refreshing to listen to – you can completely hear how much fun THEY are having – and as a result, we’re equally engaged as listeners. Brilliant musicianship – a real highlight for Julia’s violin on this record, but once again, all-around, you couldn’t find any serious faults in what Eduardo or Ken bring to these songs either. There’s quite a bit of depth in this last song…a couple more minutes in length compared to the other tunes as well – “Naquele Tempo / Por Una Cabeza” might get more time to make an impact, but it’s how they use that time so well that makes it all as effective & interesting as it truly is. Whether they’re playing the main bulk of the melody, breaking it down, bringing it back, or going on a quick solo adventure from the rest of the players – the Julia Bomfim Trio is consistently & constantly moving in a sincere effort to entertain ya. There are several switches in the direction of sound on this last song, with the most major being the one that occurs around the 3:50 mark is an incredible moment that stands-out for all the right reasons – you find yourself in the thick of the drama & theatrics and surging into its most Tango-esque influence. They deconstruct the ending, then bring it right back with remarkable & noteworthy precision for a final burst of energy & memorable last highlight on a versatile & ambitious instrumental that’s sure to satisfy – “Naquele Tempo / Por Una Cabeza” concludes the EP with one last brilliant flash of the style, talent, & creativity that’s kept us engaged the whole way through the stunning songs on this EP. You’ll hear no complaints from me – these three players sound excellent together and they bring us right into the wonder, magic, fun, passion, and pure joy of music on the Reencontro EP like we’re right there to enjoy it all with’em.
Find out more about the Julia Bomfim Trio & their music at the official pages below!
Reencontro EP at Bandcamp: https://juliabomfim.bandcamp.com/album/ep-reencontro
Official Website: www.juliabomfim.com