International hybrid sound hits Berryville

Central Matuto members Clay Ross, left, and Rob Curto , third from right, will be performing in a quartet at the Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville on Saturday. Courtesy photo

Audiences of the Matuto concert at the Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville on Saturday will be able to jam along to some Brazilian rhythms with American folk flair.

The hybrid Brazilian and bluegrass band will be starting the last leg of its North American tour at the indoor venue. Central members Clay Ross, who plays guitar, and Rob Curto, who plays accordion, will perform as a quartet with percussionist Adam Snow and bassist Kevin Hamilton.

Ross and Curto began blending their sounds with other artists of diverse musical backgrounds centered in New York City after a show in Recife, Brazil, in 2009. The group fuses American roots with Curto’s Brazilian forró style, influences from blues, jazz and many other genres – all driven by a catchy beat. Curto said that vibe is what really draws new listeners in and gets them asking how an accordion could make those sounds.

“There are all sorts of influences from the Americas … specifically Brazilian elements, which is very important to us,” he said. “We bring those different elements together in our music and in our writing – the show is a pretty high energy show.”

Curto said the group explored even deeper roots when Matuto toured five countries in western Africa in 2013 and created the “Africa Suite” EP from time spent there.

“That trip definitely influenced the band and influenced our sounds,” he said. “We each chose a country and wrote a piece of music based on our experiences in that country and based on traditional music. That’s definitely been something that’s enriched our experiences … we’re sort of going back to the source.”

The tours across the U.S. and away through programs like American Music Abroad have helped develop and shape the group’s sound with new inspiration – Curto described a two-day break in the Rockies where the group put together three new songs.

“We’re in the process of trying out new material and trying to keep the music fresh and alive for ourselves and the audience,” he said. “I think that there’s sort of the original influences of music that we were interested in and started the band with, and it’s just kind of this organic thing through traveling together … it’s definitely grown and gotten richer.”

Curto said audiences can expect to hear some Matuto original songs along with traditional Brazilian tunes at the show. After their North American tour ends later this month, Curto said the members will spend time away from the rest of the group, developing and honing their own individual sound. They then share through informal recordings over the Internet, but Curto said they’ll be returning to the studio soon enough.

Barns of Rose Hill Executive Director Kelli Hart said that, having listened to the group, she knew their hybrid sound would be popular with audiences in the area.

“It’s fascinating and I love the diversity of the Brazilian part of their music and the interesting factor of the Brazilian mixed with Appalachian,” she said. “It just sounded like something people in this area would be interested in.”

Other international performances that the nonprofit venue has hosted included artists from Tuva, Ireland, Mali and Russia. Hart said the venue is looking into hosting more international musicians than its average one per month in the future.

“We are aiming in 2016 for more world music … we are definitely going to try to get as much diversification in the music,” she said.

• 8 p.m. Saturday (doors open at 7:30) at Barns of Rose Hill, 95 Chalmers Court in Berryville.
• Tickets are $20 in advance until 3 p.m. Saturday at http://barnsofrosehill.org/ or $25 at the door.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com