If you don’t listen to a lot of guitar music and your awareness of Latino musicians starts and ends with Santana then you may never have heard the name, Yamandu Costa. This needs to change as you don’t know what you’re missing!
A native of Passo Fundo, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, Yamandu (whose name is sometimes spelled Yamandú) began learning to play the guitar when he was only seven years old. He was taught by his father Algacir Costa, a musician himself, who is the band leader of “Os Fronteiriços”. After studying technique and mastering the chords over several years Yamandu became the student of another supremely talented musician from South America. Lúcio Yanel was already famous as a virtuoso performer in his homeland of Argentina. When he relocated to Brazil he took the young Yamandu as his student.
Under the expert guidance of his two teachers, Yamandu’s full talent became apparent. By the time he was 15 he had completely mastered the instrument. He can play all types of guitar but his performances mainly feature the violão de sete cordas which is a Brazilian 7 string guitar. The extra string it has compared to a normal guitar is designed to extend either the bass or treble range of the instrument. Yamandu uses this range to its fullest advantage.
At the age of 15, he became interested in the music of other Brazilian artists Radamés Gnattali, Baden Powell de Aquino, Tom Jobim and Raphael Rabello as well as other types of folk music from Southern Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. The clarity, precision, skill and passion with which he played meant he quickly became well-known and at the age of just 17 played the São Paulo at “Circuito Cultural Banco do Brasil” where he was recognised as one of Brazil’s most talented guitarists. Fans believed he could create renewed interest in Brazilian guitar music and his fame spread.
Simply being an accomplished guitar player was not all that was in store for Yamandu though. He began to compose his own music which is an exciting blend of many types of Latin music such as tango, samba, chorinho, milonga, bossa nova, and chamamé. He fuses them all to create a sound that is uniquely his.
Regardless of your taste in music, it is impossible to listen to his IV Porro da Suite Colombiana, No.2 without finding your fingers clicking and your feet tapping as you’re swept along with the infectious beat. The melody has an innate feeling of fun as well as conjuring images of hot sun, carnivals, and dancing.