Sentir Portugal! is the first concert in a whole series of concerts at the beautiful Teatro Munganga hosted by Quintessences.
The string quartet, known for their trespassing of diverse styles, invites the Portuguese singer Melissa Oliveira and the Portuguese guitar player Rafael Fraga for an evening full of Portuguese music!
The music of Zeca Afonso, Madredeus, Amalia Rodrigues, Carlos Paredes, Sergio Godinho and many more will shine in a new splendor under the guidance of this promising ensemble.
The Amsterdam based string quartet “Quintessences” is an international formation consisting of the finest players who have the common goal to build bridges between a vast variety of musical stiles like jazz, classical, pop, rock, funk and soul, folklore, latin and countless other styles.
During their short time of existence since 2012 they have already been playing with a long list of great artists such as Chis Kok, Julia Oschewsky, Chistian Pabst, Laura Polence – Breno Vericimo Duo, Ten-Hut, Rigby Deband, Ray Klaassen, Andy and many more.
The strongest asset of the formation in the collaboration with different kind of artist allowing their music to shine in a different light, giving new perspectives and cleaning up once and for all with the prejudice that classical formation such as a string quartet cannot rock!
The hidden force of this group is Michael Becker, an accomplished arranger and conductor who specialized in big ensemble and string writing.
The collaboration between Michael and the string quartet has produced a beautiful repertoire of string music, which is true to the classical idea and demands of the string quartet whilst always pushing the group and it’s musical concepts beyond conventional borders.
Melissa Oliveira was born in Australia and at the age of thirteen went to Portugal. She began her musical studies when she was a teenager at a conservatory of classical music but later on she decided to submerge herself in the world of jazz.
In 2007 she was accepted at ESMAE – a College of Music in Porto, Portugal – in jazz (voice). In 2009 she was awarded a scholarship to study at the Berklee College of Music. After studying the art of jazz and scat singing by transcribing the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Kurt Elling, Bobby McFerrin, she ventured on composing her own songs and arranging her favorite tunes by Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver and Keith Jarrett and soon discovered her passion for writing lyrics and vocalese. While in Boston she recorded her debut CD “In my garden” with special guests Greg Osby and Jason Palmer. In 2011 she was accepted at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague to pursue a master’s degree in jazz performance and completed it in 2013. Since recording her debut album she has been touring regularly in countries such as Australia, France, Luxemburg, Portugal and the Netherlands.
Rafael was born in Lisbon and lived in the Azores (Portugal) most of his childhood. He started playing the guitar at the age of 13 and after concluding a BA in Biology he dedicated himself entirely to music and writing.
He studied jazz guitar for a short period and then pursued studies in classical composition, completing a BA at the Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa in 2008 and a MA at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam in 2010.
His main musical influences are Bossanova, Portuguese folk music, Jazz and classical-contemporary music. His work as composer and arranger reflects a need to blend these diverse musical contexts and perspectives in a balanced way.
He has worked as a guitarist, composer and orchestrator in many projects. Some of his most relevant collaborations include leading fado singers such as Carlos do Carmo and Ana Moura, poet Nuno Júdice, pianist João Paulo Esteves da Silva or the editor Nelson de Matos (Portugal), the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble, Quatro Ventos, Daisy Correia (Netherlands), along with many other artists and ensembles.
Besides music, he writes prose and poetry, with sparse publications. He has released and participated in several music albums and edited two songbooks, with Augusto Macedo as co-author. Rafael is currently based in Amsterdam.