October, 2014 Issue

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Brazilian 2Wins


Every so often, there are those acts that pop up out of nowhere and take the campus market by storm. Blowing up every one of their many showcase selections, this is an act that will have a full schedule of college shows for some time to come. Brazilian 2Wins are an exciting new blend of traditional classical music techniques and the hottest contemporary sounds.

The act has received wide acclaim for their high energy and one of their biggest assets is their ability to appeal to nearly any type of audience. Along with being universal in genre for students who like everything from bluegrass to hip hop, are conservative to progressive, trade student or PhD, this act has played for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. They are recently coming off of a coveted showcase for the Association Of Entertainment Professionals, where they were well received by buyers for the performing arts, casinos, corporations, special events, theme parks, military, fairs and festivals and more.

Aside from being very close to the same age as the students in the college market and having their same tastes in popular music, which they cover well and uniquely, the Brazilian 2Wins are perfectly suited to the campus market because they essentially started their professional careers in it. But that's getting the rickshaw a bit ahead of the runner, so let's back up just a it.

The act came from a unique and challenging background. As their name suggests, the group started around Walter and Wagner Caldes, the twins. Originally from Rio de Janeiro, the twins studied classical music as children but didn't realize the potential enjoyment and prosperity they would attain with the infusion of pop music. The group definitely has humble beginnings and its creation can be credited to quite a bit of happenstance as well. "Everything started when we were 11," Walter says. "Our father was a violin maker, but he cannot play. So, he used us as his guinea pigs (laughs). Back then when we started it was horrible, ugh. We came from a very poor place and violin was just not common there. It was difficult to find the training and other people to play with. Also, we were having to play nothing but classical music, which we did not enjoy. Also consider we were in an environment in a poor part of Brazil, a legitimate slum, where classical music was not followed or welcome. After three or four years of playing we started to enjoy it more soon after we found out we could play pop songs as well, music we enjoyed much more."

Once the realization struck home that the 2Wins could play songs they enjoyed on the violin, their passion for the instrument was ignited. "The pleasure in music was back for us once we realized we could play things we enjoyed listening to like pop sons and other things we heard on the radio. No one had ever told us this was possible before. You can play any music with the violin, not just classical. We found that out on our own."

Once they started playing contemporary music, they started gaining fans. "As soon as we started playing things on the violin that our friends knew, we started to actually have people that wanted to hear us play (laughs). That was a very exciting feeling.

The two first came to the United States to play a show in Des Moines, Iowa, and didn't speak a word of English at the time. They had been invited to play an show for the World Food Prize event in Des Moines, an international award that recognizes the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. "It is a Nobel prize they give for agriculture and they heard of us on NPR radio. They had done a special about people making music in the ghetto and had interviewed us. Someone in Iowa heard the interview and invited us to the event. The deal was for us to be flown from Brazil to the United Stated to play one song.

"The show was amazing and everyone liked what they saw. The President of the University of Northern Iowa was there so we got invited on a scholarship to the to study music." That was 8 years ago." I comment that they are speaking better English than this writer would be speaking Portuguese in seven years and Wagner's comment is "Well, we are pretty amazing (laughs)."

It wasn't as if they just got to stay, however, it took them well over a year to get back to the U.S. after returning to Brazil. "It took 18 months to get the papers together after we got the scholarship to actually make the move." Once the reality of the situation sunk in, it was a tough wait. "It took forever for us to believe that it was actually happening. After the President of UNI invited us to come, we were like 'yeah sure okay' but I don't think we really believed that things were going to change for us that much. Once things started to come together we were very excited, but it took us a long time to accept that it was actually happening. It was only about a month out when we finally told our mom we were going to the U.S. to go to college and of course she freaked out. So we came, to study music."

The 2Wins describe a bitter sweet sort of feeling, to have the amazing opportunity to come to the United States and live the dream of doing what they loved yet having to leave their home, family and friends in order to do so. "It's very true, we were so excited to come here to the United States and live this experience. I don't remember having any bad vibes about leaving my couch," he says laughing. "We were just so excited," he says again. "We even forgot we didn't even speak English. Once we came to the college and were told this is where we would live, we were a little shocked. But it was all good. We loved it. Sure we left our homes and lives in Brazil, but it was a small trade for the amazing opportunity and life we can live here in the U.S." Between learning English and studying and playing music, these were a set of hard- working brothers. They haven't slacked off any since then. "When we first got here, we quickly began playing more and more gigs. We were still playing classical music then, but we would spice up the arrangements and have a lot of fun performing, so more and more people would ask us to play." Even before their shift into the crowd pleasing contemporary music genre, the 2Wins had a special sort of attraction to audiences. "I think the reason that we were invited to play in the U.S. and come to UNI in the first place is because of the way we treat our instruments. Although we were playing classical music, what they saw in Des Moines is that is was not a formal version of classical music. We were having fun, laughing, jumping around, doing violin tricks and just generally being crazy (laughs). That caught the presidents attention. When we got to UNI, we were kind of standing out. The college itself got us a lot of gigs and we were representing the university in many different events."

By the sheer demand, we started to think this could maybe be a career. That's when we came up with the idea of the band and tailoring a show around the contemporary music," Walter says. "We noticed things really started taking off. We decided 'Why don't we make it bigger? Let's make a band.' So we did."

The live performance took on an entirely new level of depth. "Wagner and I were just playing ukulele and violin, and it was pretty cool. We got to play dinners and other small events, but once the band was together the bigs got a lot bigger and all of a sudden we have people actually paying to watch us. We had really layered our performance now. We had rhythm with drums and bass andstarted adding vocal harmonies. My first performance with the full band was when I realized what I really wanted to do. I got goosebumps all over my body. It was such a great experience. From then on we have been the Brazilian 2Wins band."

The campus market proper was an inevitable place for this group to end up. It was a perfect storm of them being in the right place (on campus studying music), in a genre of entertainment that is working very well across the country (urban instrumentals), in a format that college students eat up (contemporary). "We had a couple of videos of our shows online and Houla, our college agent, found some of them," Wagner says. "We just like to have fun and enjoy life and play music and we were just posting about this and while we were on a tour back in Brazil and they found them. As soon as we posted on our Facebook page that we were coming back to the United States they got in touch with us. It was not even one minute after the post (laughs). Once we found out who they were and what they do we were very interested in being represented by them. They introduced us to this new college world of campus activities and that is exactly what we wanted to be all about. We like having fun, we like making people happy. We love laughing, we love life and everything about it. So do college students. We love playing for these audiences because they are so energetic and open and joyful, just like us."

The 2Wins also appreciate that they are in charge of their own stage during their show. They are not expected to meekly walk on, play a song and leave. They are able to spread their own joy through music and message. "We try to enjoy that moment and speak to students, to leave a message, to try to tell them everything is possible and they should chase their dreams. That is exactly what we are doing here and we are so happy. We believed in something that we don't know may come true, but we go for it. We hope we can help college students do this too, and make sure they have a great time while we are doing it."

For more information on Brazilian 2Wins, email Houla Entertainment com or 865-385-5514.