Natalie Cresman and Ian Faquini shared a collection of Brazilian-influenced compositions on their latest work, Auburn Whisper.
The musical power couple’s second album comes after their 2019 release, Summer rays setting, which they followed live. The new album, on the other hand, was written and recorded in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, so the duo had more time to experiment in the studio, adding layers of harmony and overlapping beats.
Faithful to the heritage of its creators, Auburn Whisper draws heavily from Brazilian musical traditions, combining Natalie Cressman’s trombone and Ian Faquini’s acoustic guitar with each’s sweet, passionate voices in English and Portuguese.
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The two acclaimed musicians met as young children in California at Camp Brazil—a week-long retreat that features masterclasses from the South American country’s top talent. They each unknowingly played their first notes with their future partner the same year Faquini immigrated to the United States from Brazil when he was eight and she was seven.
Years later, the couple reunited at Brazil Camp as adults after each forging successful careers in opposite parts of the country – Faquini in California, where they joined the faculty at Berkeley. California Conservatory of Jazz and established herself as one of the region’s foremost guitarists and authorities on Brazilian music, and Cressman in New York, where she became an accomplished trombonist and vocalist, recording a variety of solo projects, performing performing in Broadway pit orchestras and creating a following in the jam, funk and jazz circuits with artists like the Trey Anastasio’s group, Pierre Apfelbaum, Big Giganticand McGee of Umphrey.
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The title track off Auburn Whisper talks about their beginnings together in the forests of Northern California and offers a nod to the Brazilian guitarist Guingawhich inspired Faquini to focus on Brazilian music and also predicted the couple’s relationship.
“The magic and beauty of redwoods is a perfect match for those feelings of being open to someone, musically and romantically,” Cressman explained.
The couple released their debut album, Summer rays setting, in 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic prevented them from filming as planned. Instead, they channeled their frustration, desire, and love into new materials that became Auburn Whisper.
“[It] was very organic,” Cressman said of the process. “Without any commitment or constraint, we were able to take the time necessary to make these songs and bring them to life.”
Auburn Whisper by Natalie Cressman and Ian Faquini is now available on all streaming platforms. Watch the video of “Afoxé Pra Oxum”, with lyrics by Iara Ferreirabelow.
Natalie Cressman, Ian Faquini – “Afoxé Pra Oxum” (Official Video)
Natalie Cressman, Ian Faquini– Auburn Whisper