Matuto is Brazilian slang for ‘country bumpkin’, and is also the name of a wonderful bluesy band based in New York City who I saw perform in quite a different setting than their usual outdoor festival.
Club Passim is quite intimate and not set up for dancing; the band made the best of that and delivered a lively performance that had every head bobbing, every toe tapping, and – for the last number – every person standing and dancing (after pushing tables aside).
Matuto is quite unique. They call themselves a blues band but there is a strong influence of forro, a style of music that originated in northeastern Brazil. Rob Curto spent time there absorbing the music, eventually returning to the US and forming Matuto with Clay Ross.
The configuration of the band for this show was Curto on accordion, Ross on guitar, Jordan Morton on bass, and Aynsley Powell on percussion. Most of the songs performed featured the accordion during some portion of them. For a couple of numbers, cellist Mike Block joined the band.
There are many influences in this music, from African to Brazilian to American. They have melded those influences into their own style. I was immediately drawn into it; for now, I can only imagine how much fun they are when playing at a festival (a friend – who was also in the audience this night – saw them at the Clearwater Festival and said I need to see tham at a festival).
Still, even if this wasn’t the perfect venue for Matuto, they played their hearts out and had the small but appreciative audience in their grip. I cannot wait to see them again.
More photos of this show appear on Suze Reviews the Blues. Click here to view them.