Fabio Avelino dos Santos was born in the small town of Limoeiro, near Recife, on the Atlantic coast of Brazil. He started playing guitar at the age of fifteen and began performing to audiences at the age of eighteen. He considers Brazilian musicians like Luis Gonzaga to be among his major musical influences, as well as the writer Paulo Coelho and The Beatles. Avelino had a big smile when he told me about the difficulty he had learning the Beatle song “Yesterday”, his eyes a little lost in memory. But then, Avelino smiles a lot.
Let’s fast forward now to 2012. Fabio has been living in Tamarindo for nearly eight years. When he arrived, he spoke only Portuguese and he now handles himself very well in Spanish, English, Italian, and French. His musical influences have grown to become international as he continues to perform in this town and outlying areas that get visitors from all over the world. If you go out at night in Tamarindo, chances are good you have seen him perform: he could easily be the hardest working musician here. He told me (smiling, again) that during the high season, it is not unusual for him to perform as many as twelve shows in a week. He recounted to me a time he played in Pinilla at midday, then a sunset show at Playa del Coco and wrapped it up with a night show in Tamarindo, then singing to himself on his way home on his scooter, to keep from falling asleep. His shows are exuberant as his passion for playing can be magnetic, drawing the crowd into his always upbeat energy.
Fabio recently completed his new CD “Costa Rica Paraiso Tropical”. It was recorded live at a sunset show on June 10 of this year Langosta Beach Club. I believe it is one entire set, played consecutively from beginning to end, so it is an excellent representation of what to expect at one of Avelino’s shows. Fabio sings and plays guitar accompanied by local musician David Herzovich, who actually hales from Argentina. He plays a steady, anchored bass guitar, allowing Avelino to venture into his musical flights of fancy. As a duo, they call themselves Che Brasil. The twelve song set opens with a lively percussion and vocal intro, setting the tempo of the show. Avelino tracked and looped the basic percussion tracks and adds live percussion along the way.
The music definitely has a Caribbean influence, as well as samba and bossa nova; it is very up-tempo, jubilant even. Standouts on the sixty-minute disc include “Sina” and “Filhos de Gandhi”. My personal favorite is “Estrela Divina”, a song in which Fabio poetically describes an early evening star as a “descendent of the Big Bang”.
Avelino also told me he is working on new songs that will continue to incorporate Spanish, Portuguese and English in the same lyrics, a true musical marriage of cultures. The CD is available at any Avelino live show; finding a live Avelino performance should not be a problem at all in the Tamarindo area: he’s everywhere!