Meia Meia

Meia Meia

The Next-Gen musical bow
Gregory Beyer
Alexis C. Lamb
Projeto Arcomusical
Gregory Beyer
Alexis C. Lamb
Christopher Mrofcza
Kyle Flens
Abby Rehard
Daniel Eastwood
Alexv Rolfe
Catalog Number: 
new music
music for dance

DeKalb, IL

Release Date: 
Oct 28, 2016
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
One Sheet: 

The traditional Afro-Brazilian berimbau is a disarmingly simple instrument: a single steel string, a wooden bow, a resonating gourd. But on MeiaMeia, the berimbau is literally reinvented. Thanks to custom tuneable instruments expertly hand-crafted by David “Snappy” White, composers Gregory Beyer and Alexis C. Lamb and the dedicated talent of ensemble Projeto Arcomusical take the berimbau to new heights of collaboration, interplay and communication.

In the spring of 2013, Beyer and Lamb began working together in an independent study under the auspices of the Undergraduate Artistry and Research Apprenticeship Program at Northern Illinois University. Lamb’s first composition for berimbau, “Descobertas por pau e pedra,” was such a success that the collaboration continued, resulting in a plan to compose an expanding chamber music cycle.

MeiaMeia – which in Portuguese means “half-half” as in “six of one, a half dozen of the other” – is that cycle, a dozen pieces written in Beyer and Lamb’s rich and sophisticated language for everything from a solo instrument to a sextet. Performed by Projeto Arcomusical, the music is fresh, playful, rhythmic, colorful and soulful. Drawing on influences from ambulances in Rome to traditional capoeira to palindromes to numerical patterns to contemporary artists like Imogen Heap and the XX, Beyer and Lamb explore a rich and diverse, intricately bouncy and resonant vocabulary.

Beyer began working with the berimbau in 1999 and has since become a recognized pioneer of the instrument. Projeto Arcomusical has come a long way since its student roots: a fully professional group of excellent musicians capable of performing chamber music of the highest caliber. Such excellence is immediately evident when listening to MeiaMeia.



"...trancelike soundscape that is bursting with color. The musical language is at once playful, rhythmic, buoyant, and beautiful—ostinati bounce energetically from one player to another, pitches bend back and forth, hocketed melodies echo above gentle glissandi, and kaleidoscopic melodies circle and expand in ever-changing patterns.

As a listener, it’s easy to lose yourself in that ever-evolving soundscape—but Projeto Arcomusical doesn’t miss a beat. The sextet is so tuned in to one another that at times it becomes difficult (if not impossible) to tell where one instrument ends and another begins. The players are so precise, so blissfully engaged with their instruments and one another that the individual pieces and the individual players melt away, and you begin to discover the uniquely captivating character of the instrument itself.

Sure, it may only take a single string to make music—but as Projeto Arcomusical demonstrates, it takes also takes a whole lot of patience, passion, and precision." [FULL ARTICLE] - Maggie Malloy


Last year, Brazil lost one of its most famous musicians: Naná Vasconcelos, who put an instrument called the berimbau on the world's musical map. It's a kind of bow with a gourd attached, and it is the inspiration for a new album, MeiaMeia: New Music for Berimbau, by the group Arcomusical. Gregory Beyer joined NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro, berimbau in hand, to talk about the legacy of Naná Vasconcelos and demonstrate how the instrument creates its unique sound. 

 " the African and South American music, especially as regards the intricate polyrhythms, that wind from additive processes that are done in their gradual evolution, increasingly dense and insistent, but never lose sight of the geometric balance on which they rest. A mix of vitalism and erenità also pervades the warps melodic, hovering mild, sometimes subtly melancholic, on reassuring harmonic territories. The tonal blend, unique, does the rest: it is not what poses." - Kathodik

Worlds colliding, and no one’s complaining! So, how many albums with the berimbau do you have? Exactly? This one has SIX of them, performed in solo or group form by Gregory Beyer, Alexis C. Lamb, Christopher Mrofcza, Kyle Flens, Abby Rehard, Alexv Rolfe and Daniel Eastwood. The stringed lilt of the instrument can sound like a guitar, kora or even a emulate a percussion instrument in the right hands, or fingers. “Home-ing” comes off like an Irish jig, while “Mudanca de Onda has a harp-like quality. Sounds akin to African percussion snap on “Palindromo” while guitar like impressions are on the Quartet piece “Chip.” Each piece has a rich gracefulness to it, and nothing here sounds like a novelty as much as a rich collection of serenades. Very rewarding. - George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly


"Some of the pieces really demanded attention, such as Quartet No.1 and Palindromo. I really liked the quartet in that one could here nice interplay between the instruments and there was some nice distinctive rhythmic passages. The piece sounded like it had distinctive movements as well, like a small classical string quartet. " [FULL ARTICLE] - Bernie Koenig