the project

Song of the Leopard captures SÚrgio's experiences in South Africa—the feeling of emerging freedom, the purity of nature and contact with one of the world's oldest civilizations. SÚrgio's seamless merging of his Brazilian roots with the sounds of South Africa is symbolic in Southern Cross—the skies bridging both countries where as when SÚrgio in Brazil and someone in South Africa raise their eyes to the skies, at that same moment they are as one. The recording opens with Shosholoza from South Africa's folklore, considered an anthem by many natives. Following is Praise the Lord, a traditional South African gospel song sung by the Chris Faya Gospel singers accompanied by only piano and the pipe organ. Yacomah mixes Zulu and west African voices with ethnic percussion and digital effects—a bit of magic! A Thousand Hills, slows down the pace with a love song from SÚrgio to South Africa, followed by Rain, a personal celebration of his own spiritual awareness and connection from childhood. Soweto, Tennessee is on the light side with a jazzy country swing, about an African man seeking freedom and the American dream in the United States.

Although some lyrics are sung in the Zulu language, that won't keep anyone from singing along and merging with the emotion of the music and singers. This blend of Brazilian jazz and African music is a unique introduction of world music to the younger generation enthralled in pop, rock and country music. To world music connoisseurs, this recording offers a light and lively new multi-cultural sound feeding both traditional and contemporary essences.

the artist

SÚrgio Dias

Brazilian born SÚrgio Dias is a virtuoso guitar player and singer, and co-founder of the Brazilian band Os Mutantes, an innovative group in the Brazilian pop scene during the late sixties/early seventies, whose influences are still felt and recognized today. The trio is also largely responsible for the controversial and highly acclaimed blending of electronic instruments and international musical language, with traditional Brazilian forms of music.

SÚrgio has recorded with violinist L. Shankar; played with Odyssey and Jeremy Steig, with Tony Smith, T.M. Stevens, and Peter Valentine. He has co-produced and recorded numerous albums including Mato Grosso (15010-2) with Phil Manzanera, composed film scores and recorded a solo album sound track.

SÚrgio has received every prestigious Brazilian music award, and is the recipient of the 1966 Best Movie Score at the Cannes Film Festival, the 1973 and 1974 Best Brazilian Guitarist awards from Rolling Stone Magazine, and the 1993 Guitar Hero Award by O Globo, a Brazilian newspaper.

SÚrgio's musical spectrum encompasses such diverse styles as traditional Brazilian, rock, bebop, avant-garde, Eastern, new age and a wide range of world music. As a dedicated musician, his life revolves around his quest to incorporate versatility and technical expertise to the raw emotion of his Brazilian soul. Joining SÚrgio on this recording are: Dan Chirboli, percussion; Concord Nkabinde, bass, percussion and vocals; The Chris Faya Gospel Singers, vocals; Neil Gonclaves and Joe Delew, Steinway Grand Piano; Marcio Miranda, accordion; Vince Pavett and Kadu Menezes, drums and Brazilian percussion; Bruce Henry, upright bass; Alex Braga and David Tarr, violin; and Gamaku, balafon, djembe and vocals.

tracklist

1 Shosholoza 4'15"
2 Praise the Lord 4'05"
3 One Blood, One Spirit 4'15"
4 Sixty Leaves 3'33"
5 Southern Cross 4'47"
6 Yacomah 4'33"
7 A Thousand Hills 4'03"
8 Rain 4'09"
9 Soweto, Tennessee 4'57"
10 Siddartha 4'49"
  Total Time: 43'57"