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News Feature

Originally published in Compass, July 18, 2013
Annual Brazilian jazz concert comes to Stonington

Claudia Villela

Claudia Villela, Brazilian Jazz performer.

Photo courtesy of Opera House Arts

Opera House Arts will return, by popular demand, Brazilian jazz to its intimate stage on Tuesday, July 23, in what has become an annual classic: “Samba Meets Jazz.” The one night only concert features legendary Brazilian bassist and ensemble leader Nilson Matta with a striking new quintet including vocalist Claudia Villela, percussionist Fernando Saci, pianist Matt King, and saxophonist Harry Allen, according to a news release from OHA.

Matta is a premier Brazilian bassist and composer who has been based in New York City since 1985. He is known for his work with Trio Da Paz, Don Pullen African Brazilian Connection, Joe Henderson, Yo Yo Ma and Nilson Matta’s Brazilian Voyage.

As a child in Rio de Janiero, singer Claudia Villela would fall asleep lulled by the music from a samba school that practiced nightly behind her grandparents’ home. Villela has a five octave range and performs regularly at major jazz festivals and clubs, primarily on the west coast.

Percussionist Fernando Sací’s musical career began at the age of 7 when he learned to play the steel pan and tambourine at a small community center in Campinas, Brazil. Over the past 20 years, he has participated in numerous shows and recordings and has shared the stage with the likes of Gilberto Gil, Dona Ivone Lara, Leci Brandão, Bule-Bule, and Chico Gomes.

For more information on upcoming concerts and to purchase advanced tickets, go to or call the box office at 367-2788.