Franco Galvão is a musician who works in different fields of work. Guitarist, arranger, composer and music producer, Franco’s career has been marked by the creation of projects of great conceptual density, from a musical, historical, social and aesthetic point of view.

I have a different music career than the conventional one, which has given me a distinct set of experiences than expected for a musician.

After studying Drums when I was a teenager, I imagined that my life would follow other directions, especially when I entered the Economic Sciences course at the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), for which I have graduated with a bachelor’s and master’s degree.

During university, I ended up getting in touch with ways of thinking about the Brazilian reality and realized how the culture works as a beacon for the development of society. Then I went deeper into this theme and produced the monograph “American pattern of development in Celso Furtado and cultural domination” and the dissertation “The impacts of public policies on the labor market in the cultural area in the beginning of the 21st century in Brazil”.

Simultaneously with formal studies, the university experience gave me the opportunity to participate in artistic groups whose objective is to research and learn about Brazilian cultural manifestations.

Conducting the Bateria Alcalina at Concha Acústica, in Campinas, 2011.

For five years, I was a rhythmist and conductor of the “Bateria Alcalina”, a percussion group that researches and plays Afro-Brazilian rhythms, such as samba, ijexá, samba reggae, ilê, etc; and that is part of União Altaneira, a carnival cultural group founded in 2007. Through this experience, I have played three times for the “Bateria of Nenê de Vila Matilde”, in the parade of the São Paulo Carnival.

For four years, I played zabumba at “Flautins Matuá”, a group that investigates the fife in its various musical languages, in its scenic presence and in its interaction with the public. With the group, I participated in the “Saci Festival” in São Luís do Paraitinga (SP); the “Gathering of Traditional Cultures of Chapada dos Veadeiros” (GO); the “Spirit Brum Festival”, in England; and the “Samba Al Pais Festival”, in France.

Playing Zabumba with Flautins Matuá, at the Fesival Samba Al Pais, France, 2013

At that time, I also started to study 7-string acoustic guitar and cavaquinho to play in the samba and choro meetings promoted by the collectives I participated in. I fell in love with the guitar and made it my main instrument, my study and project companion. I received from UNICAMP the “Bolsa Aluno Artista” for the development of guitar technical knowledge and the “Cultural Action Award” for touring with solo guitar show “(só)LIDO” throughout the University’s campuses.

Solo guitar concert held at Centro Cultural Casarão, in Campinas, 2014. Photo by Fabiana Ribeiro.

Still in the university context, I performed activities that made me develop executive production and technician skills. I conceived and produced the “VII Encontro de Choro da Unicamp” (Gathering fo Choro Music of Unicamp) and the “1º Encontro de Choro de Campinas” (Gathering of Chro Music of Campinas), eight days events with practical and theoretical classes and musical presentations, in which Mônica Salmaso, Antônio Carrasqueira, Maurício Carrilho participated, among others. I collaborated as a lighting technician, sound operator, stage manager and member of the administrative collective of “Centro Cultural Casarão” (Casarão Cultural Center), in Campinas. And I worked as a sound technician at the “Venta Moinho” studio.

Nailor Proveta with crew of the meeting of Choro de Campinas, in Campinas, 2015. Felipe Macedo, Quésia Botelho, Isabela Razera, Nailor Proveta, Cassiane Tomilhero, Franco Galvão and Rangel Egídio. Campinas, 2014.

The musical experiences associated with intellectual development and organizational experience gave me a discerning perspective on musical and cultural achievement, in which each note played has the power to represent a piece of the past, interfere in the present and outline a possible future. It was from then on that music began to have a professional sense for me.

With the guitar, I started recording, participating and creating musical shows.

As an accompanist, I recorded in several works of traditional popular culture, such as “Eu sou Sinhá” by Sinhá Rosária and “Peço License” by Ivone Cerqueira. I accompanied the samba singer Riachão, at the “Afro Brazil Museum”, for the Black Life Matters Day and was awarded third place by the “Nabor Pires” contest, accompanying the mandolinist André Ribeiro.

Rehearsal for presentation with Riachão, in São Paulo, 2013.

As performer instrumentist, I played a solo guitar presentation at the Felícia Leirner Museum, in Campos do Jordão. In a duet, I played with Nailor Proveta at the Auditorium of Associação Docentes da Unicamp and with Eduardo Lobo at Casa do Choro, in Rio de Janeiro. With Mateus Crippa, I did a 28-day tour in Argentina. And I presented the solo guitar concert “Um Ano de Solidão”, broadcast online in LIVE format.

Duet presentation with Nailor Proveta, at Adunicamp, in Campinas, 2017.

Still, tired of feeling frustrated by the lack of invitations, I became sure that I needed to design projects myself to take my ideas forward. The old notion that ‘it was enough to play well and someone else would solve the problem’ was dying inside me. I was empowering myself not only regarding what kind of music I would like to make, but also what it would propose as social relevance. So, I started to develop projects that face the demands of our time, and that incorporate several whys, not just the musical.

The first big musical project I organized was a tribute to maestro Guerra-Peixe. I conceived, collected the original manuscripts, played and produced a collection and reinterpretation record of the composer’s choros, work that was arranged by Jayme Vignoli and directed by Nailor Proveta. With this project, I also produced a notebook of sheet music, which was sent to various music education institutions.

Soundcheck of the show Choros de Guerra-Peixe, at Sesc Jundiaí, in 2016. Diogo Nazareth, Fernando Sagawa, Nailor Proveta, Eduardo Pereira, Eduardo Guimarães, Franco Galvão and Chico Santana. Photography Maycon Soldan @mayconsoldan.

Throughout my experiences, I have made many friends. One of them is Fernando Sagawa, saxophonist, who became a great partner in ideas and music. Together we created the show “Dominguinhos sings in three”, accompanying the singer Ná Ozzetti (hyperlink for projects). At “Sesc Santo Amaro” we performed a set of musical shows dedicated to Tropicália and at the “Sesc Research and Training Center” (Sesc CPF) we presented a show about the work of Milton Nascimento, in the launch of the book “De tudo que a gente dream” by Sheyla Diniz.

Musical performance “Dominguinhos Canta em Três”, in Campinas, 2019. Franco Galvão, Ná Ozzetti and Fernando Sagawa. Photography Julia Conterno.

The second big project I organized was in partnership with Fernando. In 2019, we received an award to conduct an artist residency at Rainbow Studio in Oslo, Norway. Created by the engineer responsible for the sound characteristics of ECM Records, Jan Erik Kongshaug, the studio is considered to be one of the main instrumental music studios in the world, where Egberto Gismonti, Pau Brasil, Pat Metheny, Keith Jarrett, Bill Frisell, among others, have recorded. From this experience, we brought nine recorded tracks, which gave birth to the album “Espera”.

Fernando Sagawa at the door of Rainbow Studio, in Oslo, 2019. Photography Franco Galvão.

In search of musical maturity beyond the position of a performer, for two years I lived in Rio de Janeiro to study with the composer and arranger Cristovão Bastos. This learning gave me knowledge about contemporary aspects of arrangement and composition in Brazilian music.

The contact with Cristovão opened up new possibilities for me and I started to perform functions that had been little explored until then. In partnership with Fernando Sagawa, I produced and arranged the album “Deixar Raiar”, by singer Gabriela Raia and, individually, I produced the single “Diana”, by singer João Baima. I also composed, arranged, edited, mixed and mastered a soundtrack for the short film “Somos Tierra”, claiming the prize of the Spanish contest “Family Gil”.

Another great discovery was composition. I have put a significant part of my efforts into creating a work that is the result of my creativity and that could translate everything I have experienced and lived into music. I am currently studying Composition at the São Paulo State School of Music (EMESP), whereby I compose and deliver experimental pieces on a weekly routine. The goal now is to produce and deliver to the public an authorial work! In 2021, the Youth Synphonic Band of São Paulo State played of my composition!

Photography: Laura Françozo

I’m currently producing a project about Vadico, one of Noel Rosa’s main partners and whom together had composed the classics “Conversa de Botequim”, “Feitiço da Vila”, “Feitio de Oração”, “Cém Mil Réis”, among others. After finding 400 pages of unpublished scores by Vadico at an American university, I developed a proposal for the composer’s memory and re-recording. Be part of the project! Learn more here!

To be close to my productions and activities, I especially invite you to support my work. Your collaboration helps me push the limits of time and space that the world imposes on us, making room for creation to flourish unimpeded. Check out my sponsorship page here, it is very important to me!