Today, Praça Onze is marked by a metro station only a block or two from Rio’s Sambadrome. But in 1916 Samba’s very first hit song was composed nearby. An iconic character emerged from that neighborhood: Brazil’s charming rascal, the Malandro.
100 years later, Miguel de Leon has returned to Rio de Janeiro to record a new album celebrating the spirit of the Malandro during Samba’s milestone anniversary.
Charming, roughish and characterized by his trademark white linen suit and stylish matching fedora, the ‘bad boy’ Malandro is woven into the fabric of everyday life in Brazil; mainly through stories told in the lyrics of popular songs throughout Samba’s 100-year history.
The Malandro Project brings these stories to life with a handpicked selection of classic and original songs that will put you in touch with the musical nature and the universal appeal of this sometimes lovable, always sly character.
De Leon’s Mexican/American heritage plus his affinity for Brazil’s music and culture serve him well. The Malandro Project reunites Miguel with Brazilian saxophonist Leo Gandelman and with pianist and keyboardist David Feldman, who will also produce the album. Two versions will be recorded: One in Portuguese and another in Spanish.
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