27 April 2013


California, synonymous of sun and sea, glamour and wealth, the ladies of Beverly Hills to the Latins from Costa Mesa, the house of movies, art and music. There is no doubt that here is the guitar land.
I settled in this side of the Pacific for a few months due to some work proposals, but also with my heart open to whatever come. Already on my flight without any doubt that this is the land of guitar, I found in the departure area, the master of the masters of Country guitar: Albert Lee. I studied just a little of that style in my life, through his video classes and methods. The Country fans know who I'm talking about. I just noticed I was in your presence when I heard the call to the airline: "Mr. Lee". Then I saw that gentleman with gray hair and two (!?) Nokia phones in hand (the old ones that do not break and the battery lasts more than a day), doing his check-in. Awesome! I realized that I was going to the right place... 
Despite having fallen much down the road in this life, to travel to staying for some time in another place has always a different meaning. My identity as a musician and artist and my relationship with music is set in motion. A new environment always brings alternative, expectations, dreams and, of course, doubt and intimidation. It puts to the test my relationship with the music and everything that was done previously. Check your limit - what you can change or not. There is no predetermined or image and expectations that others have. It is the talent and your position as a professional, and nothing else that will be the base for your success, forgetting my own limitations and expanding the image I have of myself. It is the free energy of the beginning and almost as freedom of the nickname, that has much been used by Japanese painters of past centuries, Fernando Pessoa and journalists at the time of Military rule. 
Whatever it is the new environment - a country, a college, a city – it will put to the test, reevaluate your relationship with art, your strengths and weaknesses. After all, we can’t live our lives playing the same games otherwise it becomes amorphous and bland. It's funny and exciting at the same time, to have as neighbors some of my teenage idols and discover that we are all in the same boat – to go out for a chat or meet someone at the gas station.
Tomorrow I’ll go for a recording in the land of Burbank studios, next to Hollywood, for a track in a project with Billy Sheehan and Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater), registered by the legend of production Tom Fletcher (Bon Jovi, Toto, among others).

We have always to believe in the essence of ourselves, in the best we have to keep our personality, and know what is flexible in ourselves to adapt to the different realities that we propose through our lives. What will be your next step?

12 January 2013

Diana Krall & The Importance Of Branding

Diana Krall & The Importance Of Branding

Not everyone likes thinking about art in technical terms. For many artists, 'branding', 'marketing' and 'advertising' are corporate words that have no place in the creative sphere. But the music industry is changing, and without a proper understanding of these concepts, artists can get left behind. In fact, the success of every single business in the world - whether it's a corporate giant like Coca-Cola or an unknown rock band gigging the club circuit - depends enormously on developing an understanding of the importance of brand.

Branding has been playing on my mind ever since I came across the cover of jazz singer Diana Krall's new album in a high-end department store recently. I hadn't heard the music, and I knew little about the record, but I got this unshakeable feeling when I saw the album cover. The advert was clearly just one element of a larger marketing campaign but, studying it closely, I couldn't help but feel that the branding wasn't right for the artist. She was being presented as a pop star, it seemed to me, and her true spirit - that of a serious jazz singer - appeared to have been lost somewhere along the way.

Now I'm far from an expert on this subject (and I'm probably simplifying the issue) but, as my grandmother used to say, "Advertising is the core of a business". And it's truer now than it ever has been. When you start out as an artist you have to remember that, on top being your own brand, you need to have some kind of strategy for building that brand, for nurturing and developing the ways in which fans see you, feel you and connect with you. It's this magical process - the intangible way in which people develop a connection with an artist - that leads to fan loyalty, and ultimately to record sales. The image you project is a delicate combination of who you think you are and who others think you are, and this can be very difficult to get right.

Once you do get it right, however, you can feed it into everything - your image, your logo, your attitude, your way of speaking, writing and performing, and much more besides. It'll also inform the way you present yourself on the web, and as a result strengthens the relationship you build with your audience. Essentially, branding is the way in which you convey who you are to your fans. It's as simple as that.

Now and again, a well-branded artist builds the momentum to achieve a market crossover, conquering different genres and attracting new followers. This is wonderful when it happens organically, but if the artist themselves isn't satisfied with the success they've achieved, their true spirit can get lost and this can upset their original fanbase. Ultimately we'll have to wait and see if Diana turns up at the Grammys again in her (in my opinion) somewhat unconvincing pop guise - or whether we're more likely to see her prancing around the stage like Beyoncé in a sold-out stadium. Only time will tell…!

12 November 2012

Sounds Of Innocence - Release

Liner notes by Kiko Loureiro

Track List:
1  Awakening Prelude
2  Gray Stone Gateway
3  Conflicted
4  Reflective
5  El Guajiro
6  Ray of Life
7  The Hymn
8  Mãe D'Água  
9  Twisted Horizon
10 A Perfect Rhyme   

Here it is Sounds of Innocence,  my fourth solo album. 
Sounds of Innocence is my inner voice, whispering constantly, sounds and melodies, textures and harmonies. 
Life shouldn't feel like a limited state of being, but rather be an open horizon to explore and in which to experiment. Innocence is a place where one can surrender with tranquility. A place where everything is possible and nobody is superior over another. Composing is for me this natural state in which to let out all emotions, strengths and weaknesses. Learning  that the more we master our skills the more we realize how deep and wide we can go. A constant  intermittence  between  innocence and experience is brought to the surface of our awareness. Innocence is one of the most important substances to cherish in our hearts and lives. Innocence means expecting good things to happen or expecting the best from people. Innocence keeps one open to the world without the need of having to protect or hide oneself. Negative things may happen everywhere and anytime but innocence is still a choice one can make every day. Losing innocence results in cynicism, not trusting people, not trusting in life and  in the end not trusting yourself. Keeping  innocence fuels the feeling of being alive and enables evolving as a human being. Innocence is the essence and foundation for creativity and freedom. It  allows  openness to the simplest of ideas and access to one's innermost feelings and continuous flow of musical images. From this derives the ability to play, compose, improvise  constantly discovering the music inside me. All the reflective moments during the past year of my life are somehow represented in the ten songs from Sounds of Innocence. These compositions depict my experiences in perfect form. They combine my past to what I am now - remembering the innocent times of a distant past but simultaneously being humble enough to keep innocence as an important value at present. It keeps me learning, exploring, developing and sharing. I love what I do, and this involves a unique feeling that music is something that unites us universally. Music doesn't belong to me nor anyone. The more I create, the more innocent and free I feel to present and share my music.  Please enjoy my sounds. 
1 Awakening Prelude
Classical guitar is my main companion when writing songs and for this reason it is very natural to have the Awakening Prelude as an opening track. It represents my everyday life. A peaceful intro to start the day off with the classical guitar. The melody, introduced in this Prelude, anticipates what will happen in the following song.

2 Gray Stone Gateway
During the period of the composition of Sounds of Innocence, I have been living in Finland. The landscape, the nature, the scenery of the capital city has been something completely new for me. A feature that really struck me in Helsinki are the gray stone buildings, walls and churches. I pursue the perfect combination of heavy guitars with a syncopated melody which expresses my identity as a Brazilian artist. It is present in all of my compositions and this song is no different. My passion for harmony, chords and complex progression  derives from listening to Brazilian music and It led me to jazz and the fusion which is also presented here. The Gray Stone Gateway welcomes the listener to the album with an intricate opening phrase. This song is a very direct, heavy tune where the main melody is totally based on the latin clave. The clave counterpoints with the heavy riff ,fast guitar phrasing and the fusion progression in the interlude. It is the dichotomy of the simple and complex, experience and innocence.

3 Conflicted
With the electric guitar in my hands, everything I play will have a touch of the 80's bands and guitar heroes. These were very significant in building my identity as a guitar player. Evidently I am proud to let this flow fluid and natural. The atmospheric intro creates an expectation to what is to happen. The attitude and energy is enormously intense in this song, delivered by the fast picking riffs and drumming as well as odd bars and broken grooves.  The conflict and the contradictory is musically represented with the interlude's calm, clean guitar passage preparing for the collision of heavy sounds and odd time signatures to follow.

4 Reflective
A peaceful, contemplative and reflective song to play.  Simple harmonies, innocent melodies and spaces. While composing and playing this song I am transposed to another dimension, experiencing the free fall,  the “no gravity”  feeling. It is the ultimate flow experience of losing awareness of space and time and simultaneously having this sense of being a part of something great and universal.

5 El Guajiro
'El Guajiro'  translates into the peasant, the country man, a name used in Cuba to describe the native people of the Caribbean.  Since my album Universo Inverso, I have increasingly been experimenting with the Cuban music. Cuba has many historical musical similarities with Brazil but the outcome has been surprisingly different.  In El Guajiro I let myself go totally latin without the heavy metal boundaries oppressing me. The percussion, claves and congas have a very important role in the arrangement of the song, which is uncommon in heavy tunes. Music is normally referred to as a representation of tension and release by the  harmony and melody.   Rhythmic patterns can serve this duty as well. Syncopations can create the momentum of anticipation and tension as well as release.  During the entire song the main focus is the groove and the superimposed rhythmic patterns.

6 Ray of Life
Ray of Life is a very introspective song, where the major key melodies and constant pulse absorb me into an indescribable sense of a heart full of life. With a bluesy touch and naïve melodies, this song has me looking at the bright side of life. Composing this song I found myself easily following the three given rules of a good writing process. Spontaneity, the greatest abbreviation of the passage from an idea to its written form; fluidity, uninterrupted writing; and, being open, unprejudiced, maintaining a quality of writing that does not know where it is going. The key turns to minor in the interlude, and together with the Brazilian samba called Partido Alto, brings along a melancholic moment. The final culmination in the end of the solo marks the transition back to happiness and enlightened feeling. 

7 The Hymn
I believe this song is quite different from all the other songs I have written on my albums. I was never a big fan of grunge rock, but was always amazed by the interesting yet unpretentious harmonies. The intro as well as the chorus follow the concept of being loose, bluesy, organic and rough. To balance this, the rest of the song is very hectic and precise. I visualize it as the digital against analog, or the eletronic counterbalances rock

8 Mãe D'Água
Mãe D'Água means in portuguese the Mother of Water and it symbolizes the Amazon river mermaid. The  natives  call her Iara.  And according to the legend, she sings an irresistible melody that draws the men into the river and make them blind if they look at her. The melody of this song has been beautifully disturbing my mind for days and explains the choice of the song title.  Despite the fact that the legend of Iara comes from Amazon, the musical elements in the song are mixed. The berimbau, a very characteristic instrument from Brazil, starts the tune. The guitar  repeats  the notes and the same “toque” , an original African groove called the Ijexá.  All the percussion including the constant mantra-like berimbau patterns create the atmosphere of the song until the song reaches the main melody.  I kept my playing very minimal, not exceeding too many notes - even with many parts of the song having no guitar solos. These spaces create the sonic landscape. Picture the Amazon river with the mermaid Iara and on the other side the Brazilian berimbau and Afro-roots.

9 Twisted Horizon
This song was the first song composed for the album.  It was written during my initial moments in Finland as I realized I was on the other side of the world. Not only the horizon was upside down, but everything around me was so new. The melody of the song is very positive and headstrong, looking forward to a beautiful future. At the same time, over the major key melody, the bass and drums create a complex rhythmic pattern depicting a certain instability and uncertainty somewhere deep inside. By the time the chorus comes along, everything is back to steady and completely positive. I believe melodically this is the most uplifting song in the album. The melancholic mid section, à la Piazolla, reflects the melancholic side in the heart of every latin person (and Finn).

10 A Perfect Rhyme
The album was completed, all demos ready but I knew it would be very important to write a song that would represent the birth of my child and the realization of a family life.  I sat next to the piano with this thought in mind and the song flowed out in its whole entity. I kept the song exactly how it was initially created even though it could have made a nice intro for a heavy song or an idea for a beautiful singing ballad. However, this would have meant changing the original purpose of the song. A Perfect Rhyme - the guitar and piano are complimented with a nice orchestral arrangement to close the journey of the album. It's complete in itself.

Every album is the result of hard work and commitment and is therefore a huge achievement. However, this album was one with more than usual significance and importance to me.   Sounds of Innocence  represents  Kiko nowadays, all my musical sides, wishes and desires. 
Thanks a lot, always.

10 November 2011

Kiko Loureiro in Manila by Francis Brew Reyes

Kiko Loureiro of Angra recently did a guitar workshop for Laney amps and JB Music Philippines. To say that people were blown away is an understatement… while he is known for being a metal guitar hero, this is a guy who can, and did, play many styles of music during the two hour showcase. Sweeped arpeggios, two-handed playing, precision-picking, hybrid picking… you name it, he nails it. high speed metal runs? sure! then… he launches into long complex jazz lines, Joe Pass-style solo chordal guitar… and there is a percussiveness to his playing that reveals his Brazilian heritage. even when he plays legato, every note just pops out. to be frank, i got sick of shred guitar years ago… and then this guy comes along and proves that you can shred and be tasteful… and really musical. He makes everything look easy. his playing sure lit a fire that will be good for my own playing :)

Scary guitarist… and i was to join him and the JB Music peeps for dinner. I was anxious. He looked tired after the workshop (he also came from Indonesia, Taiwan, and Singapore) and might not be in the best of moods, although he was always congenial. he did seem nice enough while answering questions during the workshop but what if he snaps?
On the way to dinner, he asked socio-cultural questions; he noticed that most of us have Spanish surnames. He is genuinely curious about cultural stuff and Niña and I briefed him on Philippine history… and how unfortunate that what he was looking for (indigenous music) was difficult to find at that hour. “I guess it’s the same anywhere in the world, ” he lamented, “You have to go to a ‘tourist place’ to experience it. Not in the major cities…” He wasn’t much interested in hitting the bars or anything of that nature… he wanted to experience local culture. (We ended up watching a midget oil wrestling match in P. Burgos after dinner albeit reluctantly… ;p)

We had dinner at Casa Armas in Podium and there was little talk about guitar or music. The topics revolved around geography and it’s effect on the human psyche. i pointed this out and he said, “Ahh, talking about guitar…so boring!” He smiled and said, “It’s more interesting talking about other things… what’s the population in the Philippines? is it 94 million?” We talked about the symbolism of the 7 billionth baby… Niña asked him about a city in Finland (he is based there) and he elaborated on living in Europe compared to Brazil. when he did talk about music, he mentioned meeting Allan Holdsworth and explained, “My wife, she doesn’t know much the music of Allan, so i had her listen to his stuff. And she said ‘His harmonies are European.’ You know, like ECM? but he is based in California, you know it’s a different environment…and Allan said that Joe Zawinul, you know, from Weather Report? (i nod) said the same thing.” After dinner, Mr Joel Fernando of JB Music took us to Martini’s for a couple drinks, watching Joniver Robles. Niña and Loureiro talked about photography between songs.

Kris and MJ from JB Music promised him a tour in Intramuros before heading for the airport; they also promised to get him a souvenir… the man in a barrel with a spring-mounted penis. He respectfully declined and said, “No, no, it’s okay… we also have that in Brazil.” Fortunately within Intramuros, there is a Mindanao-styled house and a bahay kubo: proper examples of Philippine culture and architecture. (i made some dick jokes during the workshop; and between that and the man-in-the-barrel, that was culturally redeeming LOL) Between stops, he noticed something. “I like the uniforms of the guards” he said, referring to the Intramuros guards. Smiling, he continued “You know, Brazil was also briefly under the Spanish, and these uniforms… it’s strange to know i am in a very different part of the world but i see something familiar. similarities…”

The kalesa driver, Boyet (with his horse Rambo), was our tour guide; he pointed out the DOLE office. the door was ajar, and we saw a guy taking a nap on a monobloc. Loureiro commented, “Department of Labor… that guy is sleeping! that is not good.” We all laughed. We also rode a jeepney that took us near Lagusnilad and got another one back to Intramuros. He got a real kick out of that, happy to have experienced something truly Filipino :) We were about to enter Fort Santiago, but, conscious of the time and hungry, we opted to have a late lunch. Nevertheless, he asked about the significance of the place, and i briefly told him about Jose Rizal. We had lunch at the Aristocrat near Malate Church; a waiter named Joel recognized me, and after getting our orders, asked me if perchance i knew any Malmsteen licks. He didn’t know Kiko or Angra, so i explained who the guitar legend who just ordered grilled squid from him is. we gave him an autographed Kiko Loureiro cd which i’m sure, by now, he’s enjoying immensely. And hopefully, he’s now checking out more than Malmsteen licks… :)

On the way to the airport, we finally talked about music. i mentioned that i love Pat Metheny and he said, “In Brazil in the seventies, there was a movement, a club…i forget the name… but it had Milton Nascimento, Toninho Horta, all these guys, and they influenced Pat. If you like Pat, you’ll hear better where he’s coming from.” (i wiki’d it and he’s referring to Clube Da Esquina) i mentioned how i have a photo with Metheny that, unfortunately, was out-of-focus. he then said excitedly, “Oh, but Photoshop now has this thing where you can recover the focus!”

We drop him off at NAIA 2 and he pulls out his passport. I inquired about his ticket and he said, “Oh i didn’t print it out. we’re trying to save paper, the environment, and we get our tickets on email and what do we do? we print it out. on paper.”

i suppose i was expecting this metal guitar hero to have the predictable rockstar behavior, looking for the predictable rockstar indulgences. Instead, we met an genuinely intelligent, open-minded and conscientious dude… who just happens to be a fantastic musician :)

19 February 2010



(West Haven, CT., January 29, 2010) – Rock House, the leader in music instruction, announced today the release of a new 2-set instructional DVD Creative Fusion, Beyond Pentatonics & Power Chord featuring Brazilian guitar virtuoso Kiko Loureiro. Kiko is the driving force behind the band Angra who has sold millions of CDs and toured the world several times over. Kiko is often voted by magazines and fans as one of the most talented guitar players worldwide. Young Guitar Magazine quotes “His guitar playing is top notch and can be compared to the masters like Vai, Satch and Petrucci. Kiko is a versatile guitar player with a deep knowledge of Rock 'n' Roll, Heavy Metal and Jazz which you can hear in his solos, riffs and melodies.”

In this new 2 DVD set, Kiko helps students open up their musical universe by showing how to apply fusion techniques to Rock playing. Kiko shows students a method for using arpeggios to craft amazing leads and melodies. He starts with major and minor arpeggios and triad voicings and builds them into progressions. Then expands on this concept with major arpeggio extensions adding the 7th and 9th and shows how to complete the mission by delivering full dominant and diminished arpeggios in single and cross string technique. Kiko explains and demonstrates how these all relate as tools for creating a unique musical style. Students learn modal arpeggios and how to apply them over full band backing tracks so they can start creating their own masterpieces!

Creative Fusion, Beyond Pentatonics & Power Chord is a 2-DVD set with more than 2 hours of lessons with Kiko and extras like behind the scenes photo, a personal interview, iPod ready video, performances and bonus lessons. This Rock House DVD is available around the world for $24.99. The DVD also comes with a FREE lesson booklet and membership to Rock House’s lesson support site at www.RockHouseMethod.com. This feature, exclusive to Rock House and its partners, offers students supplementary support for the lessons featured on the DVD. Once registered, students can interact with the community, utilize the additional learning tools and access the special features.

Rock House products are exclusive distributed by Hal Leonard Corp. To carry this and other Rock House products in your music store, please contact your Hal Leonard Representative at 1-800-524-4425.

Rock House has developed an accelerated yet easy-to-use system of learning that utilizes the functionality of DVD and Print, integrated with the accessibility of the Internet. Aspiring musicians who have a product produced by Rock House receive free membership to www.rockhousemethod.com for 24-7 lesson support. Students use this fully interactive lesson site along with their product to enhance learning, expand their knowledge, link with instructors, and connect with a community of people around the world who are learning to play music using The Rock House Method®.

For more information contact:
Joe Palombo John Jacobs
Rock House Hal Leonard Corp.
914-686-1903 1-800-524-4425
jp@rockhousemethod.com jjacobs@halleonard.com