João Tostes talks about his love & passion for music and ukulele
Today on our Hot Seat we have a talented and inspiring music artist Joao Tostes with us. Let’s have a chat with him.
Twist Online : What first got you into music?
Joao Tostes : I was a kid when my grandpa (Francisco) and uncle (Tião) used to play the acoustic guitar almost every day. Just by watching them I remember the feeling, how I wanted to start playing.
Years later I bought a used acoustic guitar and everything starts since then. The ukulele was more than a decade after, I just started playing it in 2010.
Twist Online : How would you describe the music that you typically create?
Joao Tostes : A mix of things, a heavy load of everything I hear and have heard throughout my life. Some call it as World Music, some may say it’s Experimental Music. I often feel like I’m on the borders, talking and interacting with everything that are on both sides, from Brazilian Popular Music to Rock ‘n Blues, from Classical to Jazz. It’s all about feelings and imagination: when I think about a specific sound, I prefer not to label it, I just create and play it.
Twist Online : Tell us about your recent release ?
Joao Tostes : Since I lost my footage from the live shows in Czech Republic in 2017, I’m trying to save by myself as many audio and video as I can. I was already doing it but without worrying too much. During the producing time of my last album (Live in Italy), my wife Carol Campos told me that I should take care of the unreleased recordings because there were too much material to work. So we started to work on “Live Ukulele Here, There & Everywhere”.
Some of the recordings weren’t made in a professional way, but it was my chance to share those memories with fans and ukulele community. So here are my memories, the results of a passionate and dedicated life to the ukulele.
This particular album is a milestone in my life and career. You can find recordings from almost all the countries I played in the last 4 years. It also celebrates the 100k YouTube followers. A great compilation of important moments, each song and place has its own story with relevant meaning. It includes cover and original songs – a total of 20, live recorded in 4 countries and 8 cities, divided into 2 volumes.
Twist Online : Where have you performed? What are your favourite and least favourite venues?
Joao Tostes : In Brazil I have a special one, home of many great artists all over the years (like Belchior, Paulinho Pedra Azul and Renato Teixeira among many others), that is a Italian house called Gino’s Il Candelabro, located in Barbacena where I feel very confidend and comfortable while playing. I also had the opportunity to play in special places like Poděbrady and Únětice, in Czech Republic, Astra Theater in Italy and two marvelous places in Seoul, South Korea, which are my best experiences ever: the Sindorim Opera House (신도림 오페라하우스) and Guro Art Valley Theater (구로아트밸리 예술극장). In Canada I had the pleasure to play in the Fresh Garden Room of Radisson Hotel Vancouver Airport, in Richmond, a nice crowd full of ukulele teachers from all over North America and also from Asia.
I don’t have a “least favourite” venue, I just prefer the ones where people are there to listen to music and they respect the artist and the ones that are there to pay attention to the show. It’s bad when you hear more chatting then your own ukulele.
Twist Online : What’s the best part of being a music artist?
Joao Tostes : In the past I worked with computers, IT in general. But I don’t see me being anything but an artist and music educator. The best part of it is that I can be myself, and I can play, listen and work with music and ukulele every minute of my life, I can be authentic and express my personality the way I am.
But it’s also very good to travel to play for people from different cultures and meet new people during the ukulele workshops.
Twist Online : How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?
Joao Tostes : Internet has changed everything. I remember a story when a Brazilian artist, Leoni, prepared and launched a handbook for other artists, teaching them many ways to survive in the new digital era. That time, many musicians were starting to be out of the main circuits because they even didn’t know what was happening. Of course it was one of the efforts that took place in the country among many others, and it was the same worldwide.
The internet brought us closer and broke barriers and borders. The ukulele is an instrument that is being played in too many countries nowadays also because of the power of the internet and it is fantastic.
Twist Online : Are you working on any new project?
Joao Tostes : Yes! I’m going to release a new studio album this year. I’m working on it since I relased “naturæ”, my first ukulele album (2018). There are some different sounds – experimental ones, with effects and unique sounds, showing new ways to play the ukulele. Of course there’ll be acoustic and solo songs as well.
I’m also writing new ukulele books (there’s already one in English and two in Portuguese). The first one was released in 2018, a songbook with tabs and standard notation of all naturæ album songs. It was published in both English and Portuguese worldwide by Amazon. This year (2020) I just published a comprehensive and experience-based chord dictionary for ukulele. It’s not like an app you ask for a chord and it shows one randomly to you. It has chords that I use every day to play, record, make arrangements and so on, so they have real meaning. I’m not telling that app chords are wrong – I’m saying that the chords I’m showing in the book are used in real music, they aren’t just images. I’m finishing the English translation and soon it will also be available on Amazon. I’m planning to write a couple of books in some years.
Another news is a project with an amazing Brazilian musician that is still a secret – but as soon as possible I’ll tell my fans what’s coming.
You can find music here