Poster Plinio Fernandes
Afro-Brazilian guitarist Plínio Fernandes talks about his new album, 'Bacheando.'
New Classical Tracks®

Guitarist Plinio Fernandes combines Bach and Brazilian music on 'Bacheando'

New Classical Tracks (Extended Interview) - October 18, 2023
New Classical Tracks - Plinio Fernandes (radio edit)
New Classical Tracks - October 18, 2023

Plinio Fernandes - Bacheando (Decca)

“For me, playing the guitar gives me a sense of identity, because it's something that I have been doing since I was very, very young,” guitarist Plinio Fernandes says. “I don't really remember my life that well before I was 6 or 7, which is when I started to play. Like brushing my teeth, drinking water, showering and breathing, I just have to play a couple of notes and feel like that grounds me.”

Fernandes is a Brazilian guitarist who grew up surrounded by music. As his father’s guitar rested on the sofa, Fernandes would pluck a few strings. Before he knew it, he was headed to London to study at the Royal Academy of Music. That’s where he met his roommate, friend and musical colleague, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason. Fernandes and Kanneh-Mason recently completed a tour in support of Fernandes’ second recording, Bacheando.

Fernandes says the album’s name is just a made-up word inspired by the title of Heitor Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras and as an homage to the great German master Johannes Sebastian Bach.

How does the music of Bach and the rich culture of Brazil come together on this recording?

“Villa-Lobos, our greatest composer of all time, who really reshaped Brazilian culture, was massively influenced by Bach. His contemporaries were massively influenced by that connection between Villa-Lobos and Baroque music. In addition to taking the pieces that already existed, Sergio Assad was one of the arrangers and composer on the album. He wrote a piece inspired by that concept to pair with the Prelude, Fugue and Vivace.”

One of your favorite pieces by Bach, the Prelude, Fugue and Allegro, is at the heart of this recording. Why is this one of your favorite pieces?

“Very simply, it’s one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve ever heard. And I grew up listening to it. The three movements represent to me what perfection is.”

How did the piece that Assad created for you come about?

“I came to him and we were discussing the repertoire for the album and said, ‘Sergio, I would love to have you writing something specifically for that.’ And then he was very keen on doing something that he first wrote, the Prelude and Fugues. It's the first fugue that he has ever written, which is quite something and a privilege to have that. And then it just kept on growing until it became this little suite of three movements.”

Can you talk about what it means when you're describing colors in playing the guitar?

“I was basically trying to use everything that the instrument has to offer. I think it is a very specific thing to the guitar. One can talk about the colors that you create with the piano, but with the guitar … you use both of your fingertips to produce the sound, so it's a very personal thing. Depending on the size of your fingers or the length of the nails, each person will have a very particular and unique sound.”

To hear the rest of my conversation, click on the extended interview above, or download the extended podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.


Plinio Fernandes - Bacheando (Amazon)

Plinio Fernandes - Bacheando (Decca)

Plinio Fernandes (official site)

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