Mondavi Center

Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista brings exotic sounds to Mondavi cabaret

By From page A11 | May 15, 2012

Percussionist Cyro Baptista and his trio, Banquet of the Spirits, will perform four shows this week at the Vanderhoef Studio Theatre at UC Davis. Courtesy photo

Brazilian-born percussionist Cyro Baptista will visit the Mondavi Center’s Vanderhoef Studio Theatre — configured in the club-like cabaret setting — with his Banquet of the Spirits trio for four shows this week, at 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

Since arriving in the United States in 1980, Baptista’s sonic curiosity and intense rhythmic drive have spurred collaborations with everyone from conductor Michael Tilson Thomas — participating in a festival honoring Brazilian composer Hector Villa-Lobos with the New World Symphony in Miami — to rock guitarist Carlos Santana to innovative musician/producer Brian Eno.

In addition to releasing several of  his own recordings, Baptista is a much sought-after studio musician. He has performed on five Grammy Award-winning albums: Yo-Yo Ma’s “Obrigado Brazil,” Cassandra Wilson’s “Blue Light ‘Til Dawn,” The Chieftains’ “Santiago,” Ivan Lins’ “A Love Affair” and Herbie Hancock’s “Gershwin’s World.”

Baptista’s trio Banquet of the Spirits features two equally adventurous musicians — multi-instrumentalist Shanir Blumenkranz (bass and oud) and fingerpicking guitarist Tim Sparks — mixing far-flung sounds of the Jewish diaspora with Brazilian melodies to create a one-of-a-kind diversity of sounds and colors.

Tickets are $37 general, $17.50 for students, available at www.mondaviarts.org or (530) 754-2787.

Jeff Hudson

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