This past July, School of Music visiting professor Ulisses Rocha traveled to Brazil to participate in the Festival do Vale do Café (Coffee Valley Festival). Rocha (guitar) performed as part of the Brazilian influenced Ulisses Rocha Trio, which also includes musicians Vitor Loureiro (electric bass) and Abner Paul (drums).
The Festival do Vale do Café is an important annual event in country side of Rio de Janeiro state. Centered in Vassouras city, where the classes and workshops take place, the event spreads its activities promoting concerts in historic farms from the 19th century when coffee became Brazil’s most important exportation product.The festival is a big and charming event that gathers the most important Brazilian classical and popular musicians.
Reflecting on his experience, Rocha commented:
"I had a wonderful time teaching and conducting in Vassouras city, and performing in trio with Vitor Loureiro (bass) and Abner Paul (drums) in Ponte Alta farm, a repertory based on Samba style, interpretating composers as Ivan Lins, Milton Nascimento and Baden Powell."
Rocha, considered one of Brazil’s finest guitarists and composers, has over the course of his twenty year career performed and recorded with some of Brazil’s best-known artists, including Gal Costa, Cesar Camargo Mariano and Hermeto Pascoal. He has, also, shared the stage with Egberto Gismonti, Al Di Meola, Eliane Elias, Marco Pereira and Paulo Belinatti. A prolific performer, Rocha has recorded thirteen CD's and participated in numerous other projects. Currently, Rocha is a visiting professor at the University of Florida, where he was a Bacardi Scholar at the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida.