Juvenal de Holanda Vasconcelos was born in Recife. After two decades playing around the world and living in Paris and New York for many years, the influences of his hometown are still very present in everything that he does. A self profesed 'jungle-man' and owner of an intense curiosity, he would go from the classical music of Villa-Lobos to the rock n’ roll of Jimi Hendrix. Nana has mastered almost every percussion instrument, but is know as a specialist in berimbau.
After countless, different musical experiences, Nana Vasconcelos moved to Rio de Janeiro and started to work with Milton Nascimento. In 1970 the Argentinian sax player Gato Barbieri invited the musician to join his group. They have played concerts in New York and across Europe, having as the high point the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, where the percussionist has enchanted the audience and critics. By the end of the tour, Nana settled himself in Paris for five years, where he recorded his first album, “Africadeus” (71). In the next year released his second album, recorded in Brazil “Amazonas” (72). Started then a successful partnership with the pianist and composer Egberto Gismonti that lasted for eight years and resulted in three albums, “Dança das Cabeças”, “Sol do Meio-Dia” and “Duas Vozes”.
Back to New York, formed the band “Codona” with Don Cherry and Colin Walcott, also recording and touring with Pat Metheny’s band. Working with artists from different scenes, Nana Vasconcelos recorded with B.B. King, with French violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and with David Byrne’s American rock band Talking Heads. In 1986, Nana went back to Brazil after ten years abroad and did a tour that was received with enthusiasm by the public. At this point, Nana had already worked in soundtracks for movies like “Desperately Seeking Susan”, directed by Susan Seidelman, starring Rosanna Arquette and Madonna, “Down by Law”, from the cult director Jim Jarmusch and “Amazonas” by Mika Kaurismäki.
Nana’s work always disclosed the amplitude of his talent and in the 80’s, recorded the album “Saudades”, a concert of Berimbau and orchestra. Afterwards, the albums “Bush Dance” and “Rain Dance” came along, bringing to light his experiences with electronic instruments. Since then, Nana has been involved in a more direct way with the Brazilian musical scene by being the artistic director of PercPan (Worldwide Percussive Panorama) in Salvador and the project Musical ABC, besides special appearances in albums of Milton Nascimento, Caetano Veloso, Marisa Monte, Mundo S/A among others.
Nana’s path has crossed with Joe Davis’s Far Out Recordings, when Joe himself rescued and set free the stunning and previously unreleased first part of a trilogy project ‘Visions of Dawn’, an acid-folk album recorded in Paris in 1976 by three Brazilian music legends, Nana Vasconcelos (percussion), Mauricio Maestro (bass, vocals, guitar and producer) and Joyce (vocals). Following this incredible discovery, Joe Davis was determined to bring the rest of the trilogy to life, so 30 years after the recording of ‘Visions of Dawn’, he managed to put together Nana Vasconcelos and Mauricio Maestro with the addition of the sweet voice of Kay Lyra to make ‘Upside Down’, the astonishing sequel to the seminal 1976 record.
In October 2013 Far Out Recordings join forces with the percussion Maestro once more for the release of the endearing ‘4 Elementos’, album in which Nana Vasconcelos translates the spirit and energy of the four elements of nature into his music.