Natalie Cressman and Ian Faquini have shared a collection of Brazilian-influenced compositions on their latest work, Auburn Whisper.
The musical power couple’s second album comes after their 2019 release, Setting Rays Of Summer, which they tracked live. The new album, by contrast, was written and recorded in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, so the pair had more time to experiment in the studio, adding layers of harmony and overlapping rhythms.
True to the heritage of its creators, Auburn Whisper draws largely from Brazilian musical traditions, combining Natalie Cressman’s trombone and Ian Faquini’s acoustic guitar with smooth and passionate vocals from each in both English and Portuguese.
The two acclaimed musicians met as young children in California at Brazil Camp—a week-long retreat that offers masterclasses from the South American country’s greatest talents. They each unknowingly played their first notes with their future partner the same year Faquini immigrated to the U.S. from Brazil when he was eight years old and she was seven.
Years later, the pair reunited at Brazil Camp as adults after they had each forged successful careers on opposite sides of the country—Faquini in California, where he joined the faculty at Berkeley’s California Jazz Conservatory and established himself as one of the region’s foremost guitarists and authorities on Brazilian music, and Cressman in New York, where she became an accomplished trombonist and vocalist, recording a variety of solo projects, performing in Broadway pit orchestras, and building a following in the jam, funk, and jazz circuits with acts like the Trey Anastasio Band, Peter Apfelbaum, Big Gigantic, and Umphrey’s McGee.
The title track off Auburn Whisper is about their early days together in the forests of Northern California and features a nod to Brazilian guitarist Guinga, who inspired Faquini to focus on Brazilian music and also predicted the couple’s relationship.
“The magic and beauty of the redwoods just fit with those feelings of opening up to somebody, musically and romantically,” Cressman shared.
The couple released their first album, Setting Rays Of Summer, in 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic prevented them from touring as planned. Instead, they channeled their frustration, longing, and love into new material that became Auburn Whisper.
“[It] was all very organic,” Cressman said of the process. “Without any commitments or restraints, we were able to take the time we needed to realize these songs and bring them to life.”
Auburn Whisper by Natalie Cressman and Ian Faquini is now available on all streaming platforms. Watch the video for “Afoxé Pra Oxum”, with lyrics by Iara Ferreira, below.
Natalie Cressman, Ian Faquini – “Afoxé Pra Oxum” (Official Video)
Natalie Cressman, Ian Faquini – Auburn Whisper