Tahoe Music Alive bring world-class musicians to Tahoe: High culture in the mountains

Duo Violão Plus One is a choro trio featuring, from left, Edinho Gerber, Ami Molinelli and Rogério Souza. | Sharo Garner

“Tahoe Music Alive believes in the superpower of music to bring people together,” sayspresident and founder Martha Russell. We are presenting worldclass musical artists in intimate and friendly settings. Our goal is to provide exceptional listening experiences.”

Since its founding in 2021, Tahoe Music Alive has become one of the premier promoters of small music ensembles in the North Tahoe area. Through live concerts and community outreach, the nonprofit seeks to inspire, educate and celebrate excellence in diverse musical expression and interpretation.

One of the wonderful things about music is its ability to allow oneself to be immersed in soul-stirring melodies, and through that to let your mind travel,” says Russell. Music speaks in the language of emotions, thoughts and actions. It tells stories that encode cultural and historical information. It becomes a means of communication between the artist and the listener.”

Tahoe Music Alive joins other regional organizations such as Lake Tahoe Dance Collective, Valhalla Tahoe and Classical Tahoe whose mission is to elevate arts and culture in a place long known for its outdoor, athletic opportunities.

For years, Russell has performed in amateur chamber ensembles on flute and piano. She is an emerita at Stanford University where she led mediaX, an institute focused on the intersection of human interests and information technology. She moved to Truckee in 2021when her daughter’s family relocated to Olympic Valley.

My favorite thing about living in Tahoe is the wonderful people I’ve met you far,” she says.It’s because of this community that we are able to make Tahoe Music Alive come to life.

World music in the Sierra
In collaboration with Musica Sierra, a nonprofit that bring music to schools in Sierra County, Tahoe Music Alive will present Duo Violão Plus One at Fox Cultural Center in Kings Beach on May 4 at 2 p.m.

This Brazilian group from Rio de Janeiro started with two guitarists, Rogério Souza and Edinho Gerber. Violão is Portuguese for guitar.

During their first visit to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2015, the two met percussionist Ami Molinelli of Grupo Falso Baiano. Together, the trio navigates 20th Century Brazilian popular music with a focus on a genre called choro.

“Choro is Brazil’s first national music,” says Molinelli. “It melds European melodies with African and indigenous rhythms. It was born in Rio and dates to 19th Century. What’s unique about our trio is we span over 150 years of music. You’ll hear in our repertoire the traditional seeds of the music and how that music has evolved into modern times.”

Souza (who is a Brazilian choro legend) grew up in Niterói , a city of half a million across Guanabara Bay from Rio de Janeiro. His family were some of the first musicians to play choro novo, a new style of the traditional music mixed with influences of samba and bossa nova. He plays a seven-string guitar with an extra bass string and is wellknown from his time with choro novo icons No Em Pinga D’Agua.

In an interview with Tahoe Guide, Molinelli translated Souza’s comments from Portuguese into English.

The important thing about choro music is that is evolved together in parallel with Black slaves from Africa and the Portuguese colonists,” says Souza. Unlike some other places, slaves were allowed to play instruments. There was drumming and the cavaquinho (a Portuguese predecessor to the ukulele) along with flute, trumpet and trombone. It’s not that different than American jazz in the way it evolved uniquely from the sources available at the time.”

It’s sure to be an intimate evening that will transport listeners to the magical land of Carnival.

I’ve played all over the world andno matter the placethe thing that is universal is the swing, the balance, the warm, tropical feel,” says Souza. It wins over even the most formal of audiences. What I see from beginning to the end is happiness. | tahoemusicalive.org

Tahoe Music Alive

  • May 4 | Duo Violão Plus One | Fox Cultural Hall, Kings Beach
  • July 6 |  Carol Wincenc, Ráyo Furuta and Alexandria Le | Olympic Valley Chapel
  • Aug. 4 | George Cables | Olympic Valley Chapel
  • Sept. 7 | Telegraph Quartet | North Tahoe Hebrew Congregation, Tahoe Vista
  • Nov. 9 | Tim Woolsey | TBD