The duo of Mishka Adams and Beto Caletti has its musical roots firmly planted in South America’s Afro-Latin rhythmic traditions. The combination of guitar, handheld percussion and intricate vocal harmonies bring an intimate experience of story and song, tradition and innovation, and love across continents – as in their latest album, Mabuhay. They talk about their new release and what else they’ve been doing during lockdown.
What are you listening to right now?
We have been asking friends to recommend new albums, and a few nights a week we spend the evening sitting down and listening to an entire record – something we didn’t often have time to do before lockdown started. We’ve revisited some old favourites like Jobim, Joyce, Caetano Veloso, Wayne Shorter and McCoy Tyner, and some new albums by Esperanza Spalding, Tom Green Septet, Juan Quintero and Carlos Aguirre.
Have you done or watched any livestream gigs since lockdown?
We have played a lot of lockdown gigs, using both Facebook live for open concerts and Zoom for closed “living room concerts”, we’ve done more than ten in total so far and it has been a wonderful way to connect with people and share our music. Zoom gives us the chance to see people’s faces which is nice but either way it has given us the opportunity to keep performing and keep connecting with people from all over the world.
We had one concert with people in Nigeria, New York, London, Paris and Buenos Aires, something that in real life would never be possible, and it has brought us and the listeners a lot of joy. It will never be the same as playing live, which we miss dearly, but we are very grateful that technology has afforded us this option!
Instrument you wish you played?
Mishka: I have always played a little piano but lockdown has given me more practice time and one of my dreams has always been to play the piano well…
Has this time in isolation inspired any new creative ideas?
During the lockdown period we finished our latest album, Mabuhay. It started with us travelling all over the place and ended in lockdown, so we had to be creative with how we finished it! The album cover was designed by Mishka’s cousin in the Philippines, we had recordings sent to us from lots of different countries (as each track has a different guest on it) and we even finished mastering at a distance. We decided to do a digital launch with two concerts on Facebook live – we would have loved to print the album and do a launch concert but with everything the way it is we had to think differently and make the most of the situation!
Tell us some more about the album…
In February 2019 we started dreaming of a project that involved musicians from all over the world. Although we had no idea how it would take shape, we set off on tour through Europe and Asia from May to September, discovering sounds, colours and people. The album features a group of very special guests, one for each track:
Dori Caymmi (Brazil), Nikki Iles (UK), Hugo Fatturuso (Uruguay), Juan Quintero (Argentina), Ben Barritt (Germany/UK), Tusa Montes (Philippines), Matsumonica (Japan), Pablo Fraguela (Argentina), Tiki Cantero (Argentina), Mayumi Urgino (Philippines).
Mabuhay means “welcome” or “be alive” in Filipino and the album is a celebration of the mix of different cultures, genres and musicians that we were lucky enough to meet on our journey. It celebrates the bridges that music builds that connect us. We hope you enjoy the music that has emerged from these meetings!
What are you most looking forward to once this is over?
Playing live, hugs, seeing friends off screen!
LINKS: Discover Mabuhay on Bandcamp