Projeto Arcomusical to play at UT

The founder of Arcomusical discusses how the ensemble and the berimbau have impacted him before their performance on Oct. 28.

Projeto Arcomusical, a sextet, will be performing their works from the Arcomusical repertoire on Oct. 28 at Sandra G. Powell Recital Hall.

Arcomusical is a non-profit organization that performs music focused on the use of the berimbau.

The berimbau is an instrument that looks like a longbow with a gourd on the side. It is played with the gourd toward your chest and is typically involved in capoeira performances.

Capoeira stems from the Afro-Brazilian culture and is a mix of martial arts and dancing.

Gregory Beyer is the founder of Arcomusical and the co-founder of Projeto Arcomusical. He has been playing the berimbau for almost two decades.

“The voice of the instrument is the gourd, and the gourd doesn’t face out to the audience but rather inward to the stomach of the player. The body of the person playing it literally connects to the instrument,” Beyer said. “It’s that connection with the vibration of the sound that makes the instrument so joyful to play. The body literally becomes part of the instrument.”

The berimbau is in the musical bow family. These are well-known instruments in South Africa and Portuguese speaking countries.

“It’s become very apparent in the past six years since the current ensemble began in 2013 that we are building something,” Beyer said. “It’s something that’s unique in its voice and palpable in its joy.”

Arcomusical Brasil is a sextet based in Belo Horizonte that is the sister ensemble to Projeto Arcomusical. Beyer selected a group of members to perform Arcomusical’s chamber music in Africa when he was a visiting professor in Brazil.

Due to this experience, a separate Brazilian ensemble formed and has performed in places like Belo Horizonte and Ouro Preto.

“There is a lot of forward momentum here and abroad just focused on creating and expanding a repertoire for musical bows that didn’t exist prior,” Beyer said. “It fulfills the mission of bringing joy to people through this special voice of this musical instrument and the way we are playing it.”

Projeto Arcomusical has performed at many different places and events including festivals, conventions and universities.

Additionally, Projeto Arcomusical will invite the audience to play the berimbau after their performance.

“Sometimes we have a performance that is an hour and a half, for example, we will be on stage afterward for an extra half an hour or an hour just hanging out, and that is a really joyful part of our mission because we are sharing what we do directly,” Beyer said.

Projeto Arcomusical’s performance will being at 8 p.m.

Edited by Ciera Noe and Grace Goodacre

Featured image courtesy of the Projeto Arcomusical webpage.