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Brazilian musician Milton Nascimento comes to Memorial Hall

Milton Nascimento, the influential Brazilian singer-songwriter known for fusing Africanized jazz with Latin-American folk, performed at Memorial Hall on Saturday night.

Milton Nascimento, the influential Brazilian singer-songwriter known for fusing Africanized jazz with Latin-American folk, performed at Memorial Hall on Saturday night.

Saturday night, Memorial Hall was filled with the musical stylings of Brazilian artist Nascimento and his five-man band. According to Andy Kleindienst, director of the Charanga Carolina ensemble at UNC, Nascimento is the most famous Brazilian musician of the past 50 years. He said that his style was born out of a communication between 1970s American jazz and Brazilian bossa nova and samba .

“There were a lot of musicians in the 1970s like Milton who were influenced by jazz, and jazz was influenced by Brazil,” said Kleindienst. “Milton reflects a collaboration with jazz and Brazil that still exists today.”

Kleindienst stressed that Nascimento is not solely a jazz musician or a traditional Brazilian musician, but incorporates nearly 50 years of music history into his work.

Mark Nelson, a spokesman for Carolina Performing Arts, said he was delighted to book Nascimento because he completed the trifecta of Brazilian superstars.

“Caetano Veloso was here back in ‘07-’08 and Gilberto Gil was back in ‘12-’13 — the third corner of the triangle, Milton, really was the final piece,” Nelson said.

Nelson said he enjoys introducing people to global superstars, like Nascimento, and tries to book people who will leave a big wake where they go. His choice proved successful, as Nascimento received not a standing ovation, but a dancing ovation.

Nelson expected a large audience and was pleased that nearly half of the audience members were students.

“One of the things that we feel is really important is when a student leaves Carolina that they have utilized this as a resource to learn about different music and broaden their cultural fabric,” he said.

One of Carolina Performing Arts’ taglines is “The World Comes Here,” so Nelson anticipated a global audience at the performance.

“We did tremendous outreach to the local Brazilian community,” he said. “We always want to have an audience that reflects those who are onstage. We want people here who truly appreciate how important this guy is to Brazil.”

Freshman Kristen Lee said she was in a dreamland after Nascimento’s performance.

“It was very comforting and calming, and very healing and rejuvenating,” Lee said. “I feel refreshed and ready for life.”

The 19-year-old spent eight months in Brazil this year and is part of a music culture class that visits Carolina Performing Arts regularly.

“We weren’t meant to come to this one, but I’m looking at the schedule every day, so I knew he was coming,” Lee said.

Nascimento generated huge applause when telling the story of his mother. Not only did he play an accordion that his mother gave to him when he was 6 years old, but he also announced a wordless song dedicated to his mother.

“Wordless because no words can describe my mother,” Nascimento said.

Although some audience members waited to talk with Nascimento after the performance, he was already traveling back to his hotel within two minutes of the concert ending.

“Milton seems very old, but he’s still here performing and that’s powerful,” said Lee.

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