“Obrigado” in Portuguese means “thank you.” The idea for this piece came from a desire of mine to explore the music, chants and rhythms of an Afro-Brazilian religion called Umbanda. The music consists of simple melodies, with no harmonic support, which is accompanied by vigorous, complex rhythmic patterns underneath. I was introduced to this music as a child, and some of it, especially the rhythms, make up a significant part of my earliest musical memories.
In writing OBRIGADO, I carefully listened to over one hundred chants and chose the ones I resonated the most with. The work is written in 11 movements and loosely follows the traditional religious practice of a Brazilian umbanda ceremony. From its opening chants, through the honoring of each of the most important Orishas until the final closing anthem , which sends out a powerful message of gratitude for the gift of life.