Nu Deco Ensemble: Inspiration in Every Note

September 28, 2015admin



Let’s be real: I’m not going to try to hunker down and deliver another one of my long-winded show recaps peppered with praise and metaphors (okay, there will be a few metaphors and maybe some puns) about Nu Deco Ensemble‘s launch of Season One with their Concert One performance at Miami Light Project this past weekend. Not because I don’t want to, but because I physically can’t find the right words to do it even a shred of justice. But I can try.

First of all, co-founders, Sam Hyken and Jacomo Rafael Bairos are easily some of the kindest, most heart-warming people you’ll meet in the music scene…of any city…in any era. Their passion is more than just genuine, it’s stitched into the fiber of their very being. And we all know that when projects are bred out of passion, that drive, that truthful enjoyment can’t help but be manifested in every crescendo, on every line. That was the intensity of the room on Saturday night, each of the 150 members of the audience craning so close to the ensemble they could smell the sweat on their brows. “Intimate” is an understatement.

When you’re that close to the music, especially something as profound and gargantuan as a 20+ person classical ensemble, every sense is heightened. From watching the lead percussionist, Elizabeth Galvan, prancing like a rhythmic fox to catch her cue in perfect time, to enjoying the trustful glances between musicians, these secret glances speak volumes in performance. Nothing can compare to the amount of fun each and every musician was basking in when time came to play the modern orchestration of LCD Soundsystem’s music. Smiles, laughs, a childish bounce was infused in every flick of a finger or bow. At the end of the day, musical performances should be enjoyed by both audience and artist, no matter the genre or stage.

But let’s talk about the music. Oh, the music. The night started with performances of modern pieces that have absorbed the rhythms and personalities of new cultures and grittier musical genres. The richness in sound filled every void and turned even silence into an instrument, even something as simple as a whistle or a clap amplified every piece, showcasing the depth of Nu Deco’s creativity. Exactly what you’d expect a modern-age symphony to do. Nu Deco Ensemble is a club of masters, each one more personable than the last, creating a fragile and powerful sound simultaneously.

Then Brika took the stage. Looking back on her dreamily mature stage presence and addictive vocal texture, it’s hard to believe she’s only 20 years old. What an incredible thing that Sam and Jacomo have done to her music, produced by the GRAMMY-winning, Julio Reyes Copello, who was flirting the keys on stage as well. From perfectly capturing the xylophone in “Gold”, to breathing new life into the cheekiness of “Expectations”. The crowd’s unanimous gasp to her power became an added instrument to the piece. Being the music junkies that we are, we can’t believe we got to see this performance in person, before the star became a supernova.

It’s a true testament to the way Sam Hyken’s brain works that he can listen to an entirely opposing genre of music and imagine how he can translate it to the world of classical sound so effortlessly. I’m speaking of his gorgeous ode to James Murphy’s LCD Soundsystem that topped off the night. They played the favorites: “Dance Yrself Clean” and “Someone Great”, bringing these beloved songs to a whole new height, striking a chord with die-hard fans like never before…pun intended. The entire night was a work of art that connected the masses, breaking down the barriers that classical music has built and making the entire genre accessible for generations to come.

The celebration of musical inspiration ended with Hyken’s classical orchestration of Daft Punk’s “Around the World” that had audience members levitating off their seats for what would probably be one of the first (and most innovative) classical parties. There’s a reason why people say they want to follow them like The Grateful Dead…true words.

Want to experience the music yourself? Check out the rest of Season One and become a member here.

Photo by: Southern Land FilmsMonica McGivern Photography