Q&A with Portuguese Folk/Blues musician Tercio Freire aka Nanook, an one-man band with influences from Fado

"Fado and Blues have the same mood and a way of expressing the soul."

Tercio Nanook: Suricata Crossroads

Born in the Azores Portugal, Tercio Freire aka Nanook is a Folk/Blues singer songwriter that started playing in Bars in all Algarve (South Portugal), an achieved in few years the status of one of the best Folk/Blues players in South Portugal (Report magazine, Algarve 2008). Nanook describes his music as based in the Blues roots and also influenced by traditional folk. The music he plays is a mixture of reggae, blues and folk without losing the roots of the Portuguese traditional music Fado (Bateria total magazine, Barcelona 2008). Since then, as Nanook, he's been playing alone “one man band” format and also with band in some of the most important south Portugal festivals. In the blues scenario he is vocalist, guitarist and harmonica player of The Fried Fanekas Blues Band and with his longtime friend, Pedro Gil they form Suricata, an instrumental project that crosses Fado with Blues.                                           (Tercio Freire aka Nanook / Photo by Carlos Pinto)

He is also producer, composer and director of singer Teresa Aleixo and Musical director of the poetic performance “A gaveta da pedra” Rogério Cão. Over the years Nanook toured across Europe and played with many musicians like Vitor Bacalhau (PT), Fast Eddie Nelson (PT), Zé Eduardo (PT), Robert Jukic (SLV), Marco Quarantotto (IT), Nirankar Galhasa (ES), Gines Peregrin (ES), Paul Stoker (USA), Dilana (SA), Danny del Toro (ES), Marco Cinelli (IT), Troy Namhuko (CA),Danny Kanne (USA) among many others.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has Blues and Rock Counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you've taken?

Well, if you study and listen to music, you get to know the origins, the history and the socio culture of the time. Of course, it influences the way you see the world nowadays. At the same time, you travel to a lot of countries and always find some connection with the Blues. Normally it's a way to connect with the past, enjoying in the present and contributing to the future of the Blues.

How do you describe your sound and songbook? What were the reasons you started a one-man band research?

I describe my sound as a mixture of music styles, it goes from Folk to Blues, but with influences from Fado [traditional Portuguese], Jazz, rock, reggae, boss nova and pop. My song book has a wide spectrum, I maintain my first love for the old Blues, 60's / 70's music from Dylan to Cohen or Creedence Clearwater Revival to The Doors. Tom Waits is also a big influence for me.

My one-man band shows, evolved as a financial necessity, it is cheaper for the Venues to pay for one musician. During this period, I was playing with guitar and harmonica, but felt I needed to become more dynamic, so I added a kick drum, snare and tambourine. Then I had to practice and practice, but I think it came out alright!!!

"Originality, mistakes, sound production, the sharing, the raw sound of the era 30's to 60's. This is all lost in today's recording studios. Today’s audiences seem less and less interested in old and original live music especially in small venues." (Photo: The Fried Fanekas; Pedro Gil, Nannook, Luís Henrique & João Melro)

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open sets and studio sessions which you like to share with us?

There are so many!! Fortunately, I have had the honor of playing and recording with a lot of European musicians, either as an invited guest or participating in jamming sessions. So of course, there's a lot of stories I could tell. One of the funniest, I remember when I was playing as a support bassist for Marco Cinelli and Danny del Toro and we had not rehearsed. Suddenly in the middle of the show Danny [harmonica player] picks up a fire extinguisher and Marco get his guitar and uses the fire extinguisher as a slide to carry on playing. I just thought, what have I got into...these guys are crazier than me!!!

What do you miss nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

Originality, mistakes, sound production, the sharing, the raw sound of the era 30's to 60's. This is all lost in today's recording studios. Today’s audiences seem less and less interested in old and original live music especially in small venues.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it became a reality, what would that be?

Everything as its own path, but the financially driven music industry should give more respect for creative / gifted musicians who pay their wages.!!!!!

Make an account of the case of the Blues in Portugal. Which is the most interesting period in local scene?

I think the Blues in Portugal is better than ever. It was more festivals and associations than before. I am part of a committee for the Blues a Sul Association [South Portugal Algarve] and together with the Portugal Blues Association we promote a Blues concert every month in the excellent Clube Farense venue in Faro. We also have masterclasses and workshops as often as possible. But, the best period for us in the Algarve, is when we promote, in conjunction with the city hall, who support us for a three-day Faro Blues Festival, normally during April or May time.

"I describe my sound as a mixture of music styles, it goes from Folk to Blues, but with influences from Fado [traditional Portuguese], Jazz, rock, reggae, boss nova and pop. My song book has a wide spectrum, I maintain my first love for the old Blues, 60's / 70's music from Dylan to Cohen or Creedence Clearwater Revival to The Doors. Tom Waits is also a big influence for me. My one-man band shows, evolved as a financial necessity, it is cheaper for the Venues to pay for one musician. During this period, I was playing with guitar and harmonica, but felt I needed to become more dynamic, so I added a kick drum, snare and tambourine. Then I had to practice and practice, but I think it came out alright!!!

Are there any similarities between the Blues and the local Portuguese Folk, roots or traditional music?

I think there is. Fado and Blues have the same mood and a way of expressing the soul. I have recently released an EP, titled “Suricata” (2020) with my great friend, Pedro Gil and we try to cross the Blues with the instrumental Fado influences.

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?

The Language of music is timeless, it is in our daily life, affecting our emotions and our relationships.

Lets take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

I would book a night in the Chelsea Hotel and go to the WOODSTOCK festival. LOL.

Nanook - Home

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