Matuto November 16th show at Appalachian Brewing in Harrisburg will be part Brazilian, part American

With an honest love for roots music, genuine imgallery-Matuto_Quintet_1 styles, and improvisational experimentation, Matuto brings its unique and inspired sound from the heart of New York City’s diverse musical culture to Harrisburg on Sunday, November 16, 2014, for a 4 p.m. matinee concert sponsored by Susquehanna Folk Music Society at the Appalachian Brewing Company Abbey Bar, 50 N. Cameron Street, Harrisburg.

Concert tickets are $22 General Admission, $18 for SFMS members and $10 for students ages 3-22. Advance tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets online at or toll-free (800) 838-3006. For more information, visit the Susquehanna Folk Music Society Web site at

Below is an exclusive story written by Sarah Chain for FlipSide. It was posted on 11/06/2014


How do you combine the Latin flavor of Brazilian roots music with the folk traditions of the American South? For New York City-based Matuto, it’s all about the rhythm.

Led by Clay Ross on guitar and vocals and Rob Curto on accordion and vocals, Matuto — Brazilian slang for “country boy” — formed in 2009 to explore how roots in folkloric music could connect with the international music scene.

The freedom to explore different musical styles was a boon for Ross, a native of South Carolina who began his musical career in jazz but found himself in Recife, Brazil, in the mid-2000s where he fell in love with the region’s folkloric music. When Ross connected with Curto, a renowned accordionist celebrated for bringing forro — accordion-driven country roots music out of northeastern Brazil — to the U.S., the rest fell into place.

They added a bassist, a drummer and another percussionist with experience in several Brazilian percussion instruments: the cavaquinho (a Brazilian ukelele), the zabumba (a large bass drum), the pandeiro (a Brazilian tambourine), the triangle and the agogô (a pair of small, pitched metal bells).

“It’s an unlikely combination on paper, but not in person,” said Ross. “On the dance floor, it just feels right.”

Their unique style has taken them on a busy touring schedule — more than 150 shows a year for the past two years.

“We’ve been very fortunate to tour several times as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. State Department,” Ross said, where the band is there specifically to spread awareness of the nuances of American culture and provide a chance to collaborate with local musicians in each city.

They’ve learned to pull these international influences into their new music, as well. Their most recent release, an EP titled “Africa Suite,” arose from a challenge to pull the name of a country from a hat and compose a piece of music about it. The process provided an opportunity for the group to pay tribute to the people and cultures they interact with during their tours, Ross said.

On Sunday, Nov. 16, Matuto swings into Harrisburg for a concert at the Appalachian Brewing Company, sponsored by the Susquehanna Folk Music Society. The group will play a mix of music from its latest three albums, inspired by band members’ many different backgrounds and influences, from bebop piano and American swing music to jazz and blues.

“They’re a wonderful, high-energy group,” said Jess Hayden, executive director with Susquehanna Folk Music Society.

Meet the band

Members: Clay Ross, guitar and vocals; Rob Curto, accordion and vocals; Michael Loren Lavalle, bass and vocals; Aynsley Powell, drums; Ze Mauricio, percussion

Formed: February 2009

Online: Find them online at , on Facebook at and on Twitter at


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