“Lição #2: Dorival”

Like so many of Brazil’s best groups, Quartabê seamlessly collide many disparate traditions in their music, creating something both spiritual and danceable. The group, which includes Cologne-based drummer Mariá Portugal, performs their transformative adaptations of songs by the great Dorival Caymmi.

Quartabê members Mariá Portugal, Joana Queiroz, Maria Beraldo and Chicão stand at the water’s edge by the sea


© Ilana Bar

Past Dates

Quartabê: “Lição #2: Dorival”


Quartabê is a freewheeling, adventurous quartet from São Paulo who represented their city as part of the remote programme at last year’s pandemic edition of Jazzfest Berlin. Some of its members first worked together in the band led by Brazilian oddball Arrigo Barnabé and their earliest music explored the work of composer and arranger Moacir Santos. The band includes drummer Mariá Portugal, the 2020 improviser-in-residence at the Moers Festival who presented her “Erosão” project at last year’s Jazzfest, conjuring and arranging tender songs from abstract improvisations. In Quartabê she does the opposite. Portugal and her superb bandmates – reedists Joana Queiroz and Maria Beraldo, and keyboardist Chicão – take songs by one of Brazil’s greatest composers, Dorival Caymmi and remake them within seductive creativity. On a samba classic like “Canto de Nanã” they hold close to the melody, but recontextualize it as a minimalist chant, while elsewhere the combo reharmonizes and recontextualizes familiar tunes with throbbing beats, twinned chamber-like clarinet lines, gentle vocal chants and extended stretches of spaced-out ambience. Each musician possesses a natural fluency in various traditions – Beraldo is a dynamic pop singer when she’s not working in this group – and that allows them to use Caymmi’s tunes as blueprints and spare parts, all borrowed and reimagined with sincere ardor.


Mariá Portugal drums
Joana Queiroz clarinet, bass clarinet
Maria Beraldo clarinet, bass clarinet
Chicão keys