P ulled by the gravity of love, I was half a world away sitting on the warm sands of Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro at sunset.
As the sun was just barely kissing the horizon, a sound washed over me, wafting up and down the beach like a murmuration of gentle seagulls – ebbing and returning. Magical.
It was the sound of applause.
That’s what the people of Rio de Janeiro do – they are so in the moment, so present and alive — that they applaud the setting sun.
In that moment, in these five-seconds of bliss, I knew what it meant to be here.
The busy sound of the city behind us faded out, allowing me to be completely present and free from all worrying and wishing.
It was the sound of gratitude for God’s magical work.
Needing nothing else on top of this sensation.
Smelling and sensing more.
Breathing deeper – and free – like when we were children.
This musical project has been all about trying to humbly express the essence of that five-second moment in time – a moment in time that continues to haunt me and tease me and challenge me.
“5 Years to express 5 seconds of Living….”
READY TO SHIP ! The physical CD is an experience in and of itself. We have spared no expense to print a stunning photograph from the Favela side of Rio (taken by marchello74 – would love to find his real name to give him appropriate credit) from side to side – no break between the panels – and in stunning matte design.
The warm and inviting sunset colors on the face of the CD were captured by the talented photographer Vitor Gabriel In Rio de Janeiro with a simple flip-phone !
He saw the people waiting on the rock of Arpoador ready to applaud the sunset and knew he had to take the picture no matter what the equipment.
May this CD, as you hold it in your hand, transmit to you what I felt as I saw my first sunset – and heard, for the first time, people “Applauding The Sunset” !!
We are working to have CD Baby distribute the CD in the very near future, but for now we are shipping directly from the headquarters of HeartBeat Brazil in Pasadena CA – on a moment’s notice!
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FULL CIRCLE PRODUCTIONS, Inc.
163 El Nido Ave
PASADENA CA 91107
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Explore how the album was created. Video tutorials, composer credits, studio info etc. below
SONG LIST AND COMPOSER CREDITS:
“O Pantanal” Stephan Oberhoff
“Alta Vista” Robert Kyle and Stephan Oberhoff
“Lembra De Mim” Ivan Lins
“Foray Into Forro” Michele Brouman and Stephan Oberhoff
“Spring Knows It’s Way Back Home” Stephan Oberhoff and Sharon Vaughn
“Back To The Favela” Stephan Oberhoff
“Thorns Have Roses” Stephan Oberhoff
“Comecar De Novo” Ivan Lins
“Spirit Of The Maracatu” Stephan Oberhoff
“Brasilia Sky” Stephan Oberhoff
“Senhorinha” (short version) Guinga
“I Wish You Well” Stephan Oberhoff
Stephan Oberhoff; piano, keyboards, vocals, percussion, electric and acoustic guitars
Robert Kyle: flutes, soprano sax, percussion
Katisse Buckingham: flute and vocals
Walter Rodrigues and Simon Carroll: percussion
Rob Trow background vocals
Marquinho Ribeiro: Violoncello
String section conductor: Michele Brourman
All arrangements by Stephan Oberhoff, expect “Senhorinha”
Vocal arrangement of”Senhorinha” by Pedro Iacovini
Recorded by Stephan Oberhoff at:
Full Circle Studios, Pasadena CA,
Beck Studios, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and
ClearLake Audio, Burbank, CA
Edited and mixed at Full Circle Studios by Stephan Oberhoff
Mastered by Bernie Grundman at Bernie Grundman Mastering, Hollywood, CA
The Making of SPIRIT OF THE MARACATU
There is a magical wetland in the center of Brazil called the Pantanal.
It gets flooded many months of each year and is incredibly rich in plant and wildlife. Seeing the images below always wants my soul to have wings and fly across these lakes, ponds and streams.
Aguas De Olho – “Eyes Of Water” is what some of them are called by natives.
One day I will take the Trans-Pantanal-Highway all the way across this unspeakably beautiful land and fly a camera drone to capture some footage of a few parts of the earth no man has ever seen close-up und personal!
Take flight and enjoy the magical PANTANAL !
The first time I went to Rio de Janeiro, not being able to speak even a word of Portuguese (not even Obrigado = Thank You) I set foot on the Avenida Vieira Souto, which runs along Ipanema Beach and right outside my little hotel in Arpoador.
Without intention, I ended up standing right next to a little peaceful demonstration of a group of teachers who were protesting their inadequate pay.
They carried their message by the means of a group of 12 musicians who began to play the initial call for a Batucada, (which is part of the traditional Samba rhythms) and launched into the astonishing power of this earthshaking rhythm.
I was glad that I had my sunglasses on as tears started streaming down my face and I began to sob.
I had no clue why that was happening, yet there I was, in the middle of a Bateria group, at Ipanema Beach and the deeply African rhythm swept me away and carried me along for several hundred yards, although I could have easily stayed inside of it forever. I guess in some way, I did !
My soul had come home and my tears confirmed this.
The chants over the rhythm spoke of these people’s plight and taught me a completely different way of speaking to people about issues that move us – and to do it with music !
Let me assure you that no recording medium known to us today will be able to capture the visceral power and warm intensity of this life-changing experience.
“Remember, you ARE THIS” is what I heard through the music.
Today I urge you, when this cry comes, follow it with all your heart.
The song come to life when I was playing with two delayed sounds, one an electric synth sound and the other was an acoustic piano sound with a delay of 500 ms. When I played an arpeggiated chord on the synth sound, the piano echoed it – and I was mesmerized – something new was born.
I found it’s bittersweet melody shortly after that and began to orchestrate and record the rhythm after the chords and melody were completed. The big percussion layers were (greatly) enhanced by my good friend Cassio Duarte who added several layers at his home studio in Houston TX)
Most of us have lived, loved – and lost plenty in this lifetime.
This song was fueled by the intense emotion around a very important relationship I had experienced – one that two Lovers tearfully surrendered to the Angels.
No breaking up, just plain surrender. We gave up our relationship in Love and Prayer.
It was the most wholesome way I ever parted way with an amazing person who was not destined to be mine forever.
The bittersweet melody cradles not only this feeling but also the hearts of parents who have to let children go their own way and feel the wind beneath their wings.
Much like one Amoeba changes shape to connect with another, the shape of their children’s hearts have imprinted them.
It’s time to reclaim our own shape. That’s what this song is about.
I love writing about Love, especially when I am falling in Love – or when a Love Story ends. This is one of those stories.
This melody came to me when trying out a Flamenco guitar of my good friend Brent (M.) who had it sitting in a case in his living room. The first time I touched it, this melody fell out of my hands – or the guitar. Thank God I had the presence of mind to quickly grab my smart phone and record it.
Like many compositions of the great Ivan Lins, I love the fact that this song has a mantra melody in the intro and then the real core melody starts at the top of Verse 1
Something tells me that there could be lyrics for it one day…what do you think?