Bau Duo no. 1

  • Gregory Beyer (b.1973)
  • Duo
  • 2011

This duo, originally entitled, “Berimbau 2U”, is based upon the very first improvisation I made by recording myself with one instrument playing over a recording of another instrument at a different tuning. I had just recently made the discovery of playing melodically on the berimbau in 2004 and was very keen to continue exploring this potential. This improvisation happened around that time. However, I never wrote it out and I never did much with it until I was approached by two students at NIU, Chris Mrofcza and Dan Eastwood, who created a duo called Project Two. In the spring of 2010 they asked if I would compose for them a berimbau duo. Dan was already playing in the NIU Bau-House berimbau sextet at that time and in fact is responsible for the amazing Piet Mondrian inspired paintings that we have on many of our berimbau gourds at NIU. That summer I took the recording of Berimbau 2U as an inspiration and, sitting at the piano in the very small NYC apartment of my friend, Akemi Naito, flushed out the rest of the duo in one afternoon. It was an amazing day of musical inspiration and I still think that this duo is one of the most straightforward and musically satisfying of the collection. It is “folk-like” in its simplicity and the timbre of the two berimbaus played together fulfills that extramusical notion quite well. – Gregory Beyer

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