João Balão

Percussion, Guitar, Cavaquinho

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11 Reviews (3 Verified)
João Balão on SoundBetter

I've been working for nearly 40 years in different branches and genres in music. Very early I felt at ease with very different music genres, and always looked with fascination and curiosity for musical diversity. Very naturally, I assimilated the different genres I played. I explain multi-instrumentality as an opportunity to have a wider vision.

I played popular music from Portugal, Brazil, Morocco, Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Balkan, Flamenco, Rock, Jazz, Pop and Fado. I collaborated in the recording of over 40 records and produced 10, in Portugal, Spain, France, Chile and Argentina. I also composed music for video, theatre, advertising, dance, short-films and documentaries.

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11 Reviews - 1 Repeat Client

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  1. Review by Nandan G.
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    Joao is a creative and musical man. His extra takes with different instruments/approaches always found their way into my final track. I suggest anyone to just let him do his thing with complete freedom. You may find yourself with a much better song than you had envisioned... He played at least 7-8 different instruments , each with their own unique character and voice... just amazing textures and sounds.

  2. Review by Nandan G.
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    Always a pleasure to work with Joao, who is more than willing to make sure that I got exactly what I needed. Some things cannot be rushed. One must respect the process. A genuine artist with a large heart..

  3. Review by Nandan G.
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    João was not only extremely professional, he gave me so many options/layers to choose from. I wanted something that would add depth, texture and musicality to my track and he delivered all three. I will definitely be working with him in the future. A very creative musician who seems to have a broad understanding of the whole picture. Also very straightforward and helpful.

  4. Review by Orlanda Guilande
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    O João Balão é multi instrumentista nato. O João Balão respira música e inspira-nos. O João Balão é criatividade á flor da pele,é magia,é sensibilidade e doçura,é paixão pela arte que escolheu abraçar e absorver. O João Balão é um batalhador e profissional magnífico com quem tive e tenho a honra de trabalhar! O João Balão é espiritualidade! O João Balão é sem dúvida um músico de cariz internacional,hoje e sempre!

    Orlanda Guilande, cantora/canta-autora

  5. Review by Ruca Rebordão
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    João Balão is a tremendous musician, composer and music producer. A multi-instrument musician with a vast experience in many musical genres. I've had the pleasure of recording on several albums with João and his commitment and result is always incredible. I recommend João for any recording as a musician or music producer.

  6. Review by Jon Botas
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    João is touched with a talent avaiable to very few. That's what you get when he's around playing or singing, improvising... simply doing the thing as if nothing happened... but magic happens! Everything goes amazing when he is in! Makes you better. Great musician, great person. João's way... it's natural. Just play, listen and enjoy full.
    J. Botas

  7. Review by Marcelo Valente
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    João is Music, I always thought that to say of him that he is a great musician is to abbreviate too much.
    A musician with a sensitivity capable of adapting his mind to any instrumemt!!!

  8. Review by Jordi Torrens
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    Joao is very simply a huge artistic talent, the very rare kind who knows exactly what to play and, more importantly, not to play. Everything sounds much better with just him showing up...

  9. Review by Joan
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    Gran músic polivalent i gran mestre! Em sento afortunat d'haver-lo conegut!

  10. Review by Mariano Martos
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    He's a best musician and musical producer. I learned with him a lot of things about African music and life in general.

  11. Review by Miguel Nogueira
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    Incredibly versatile musician and composer with a beautiful voice. One of the greats of our generation.

Interview with João Balão

  1. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  2. A: Working with Fausto Bordalo Dias as a percussionist. He's a legend among the Portuguese Popular Music artists, and I felt like being part of an historical band for 7 wonderful years, in which I've learned a great deal.

  3. Q: What are you working on at the moment?

  4. A: I'm composing and recording a soundtrack for a traditional tale told by an actor friend of mine, for his YouTube project. Next I'll be working on another soundtrack for a theatre play. Meanwhile, I'm collaborating with different projects in Spain, Chile and Argentina, as well as a wonderful project by Nandan G. here on Sound Better.

  5. Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?

  6. A: I do strongly recommend my long time colleague and close friend Ruca Rebordão, with whom I worked in several projects along the 30 years we know each other. He's a brilliant percussionist, full of resources, extremely musical and a very important asset in every project I know he's been participating in.

  7. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  8. A: Depending on the requirements of the project I'm working on. I'm not a fundamentalist of any format, so I believe all tools are valid to serve and achieve the results required by the organic of each project.

  9. Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?

  10. A: As I'm a perfectionist, my promise is to do the best I know in the shortest period of time.

  11. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  12. A: The feeling that I made a difference and an improvement, along with the feeling of making a client happy.

  13. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  14. A: Being able to play several instruments, as well as work as a sound technician and producer and composer, people might tend to think my work would be average. As I told before, I'm a assumed perfectionist, so I have very high quality standards in everything I do. And if I see I can't meet those at all, I won't do it!

  15. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  16. A: Do they have a steady idea about what they're looking for?

  17. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  18. A: Be as accurate as you can in your requests, and stay open to suggestions

  19. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  20. A: My guitar, my cavaquinho, a Brazilian pandeiro and a cajon. Maybe also a flute to learn how to play.

  21. Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?

  22. A: I started working professionally at 17, playing and singing covers in clubs, with my guitar, which I did until I was 32. Around 20 I started to play electric bass, and joined several rock bands from my hometown, while attending the Hot Club de Portugal Jazz School. Soon after, I joined a samba band as a bassist playing every night in a club. While studying bass with a drummer/percussionist friend of mine, I became interested in percussion as well, and always ended up the studying sessions playing percussion. By 26 I was lucky enough to work with French/Chilean producer Ramuntcho Matta (producer for Don Cherry, among others) in a studio he was setting up in Lisbon, where I officially started professionally as a percussionist and also as a midi technician. In that studio I was also lucky enough to work with British sound engineer Jonathan Miller, with whom I learned a lot about recording, mixing and mastering. Simultaneously I worked as guitarrist, bassist or percussionist with several projects on Brazilian, Angolan, Capeverdean, Portuguese music as well as jazz and pop. From 1992 to 2002, I also worked as jingle composer/producer for advertisement, which gave me a wide range of resources to respond quickly to clients demands. In 1998, I was hired by the Portuguese branch of Sonymusic to produce a record with several Portuguese artists over Portuguese traditional songs. Also started composing/producing soundtracks for theatre plays. In 1999 I moved to Barcelona where I started to work with flamenco musicians, while joining Balkan and Moroccan music projects, along with Brazilian music and jazz. I also produced some records along the 10 years I lived in Barcelona, while teaching guitar, bass, percussion and combo, while continuing to compose/producing soundtracks for contemporary dance. In 2007 while visiting friends in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, I bought a cavaquinho guitar, and started learning it by attending a "roda de choro" in Barcelona, which consists in a gathering of several musicians to jam over knowned choro tunes. Back to Lisbon, I continued to collaborate with different projects and artists in different genres, whether as a guitarrist, bassist, percussionist or cavaquinho player. At the same time continuing to compose/produce soundtracks for theatre, and producing/co-producing albums for several artists in different genres. So, it's been nearly 40 years.

  23. Q: How would you describe your style?

  24. A: I'm not sure I have a style. What I do have is a my personal touch because what I play is result of my personality, and the way I hear and understand music, as any other musician.That's one's identity.

  25. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  26. A: The first phrase written on one of my early theory books was "Music is the art of filling silence", so I always keep in mind that silence is the canvas where music is painted. While directing a recording session, I always try to make the musician as comfortable as I can, that way he/she will pay back giving his/her best. And if a take is really inspiring although there's some technical imperfection, I never doubt in aproving it. What would be the live version of Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry" without the feedback everybody's used to listen to?

  27. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  28. A: I'm always working in different genres of music, fortunately. Depending on the work I'm proposed to work on, as a session musician or as soundtrack composer and producer. And I do enjoy it that way, it keeps my mind and my ears always fresh for a new different job.

  29. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  30. A: Listening and my musical memory. There are shows I did 20 years ago and I could play it again the whole thing without any rehearsals.

  31. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  32. A: Generally speaking, I always try to bring an improvement to a song by listening to its "soul" and acting accordingly.

  33. Q: What's your typical work process?

  34. A: First of all I always listen very carefully and several times to the work I'm proposed, and attend to the different "readings" I might come up with, and try to choose the one that best meets the client's request.

  35. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  36. A: My whole life I've been always trying to get the most of what I have, and explore deeply the resources I have. My sound interface is a Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 2nd generation, I use a tube preamp Behringer Ultragain Pro which works pretty well adding warmth to what's been captured by 4 ADK condenser microphones I've been using for years. I also have 3 sets of speaker monitors which I can combine at will connected to a Xenyx Control 2 USB: a pair of original Yamaha NS10M Studio from the 80's, a pair of 1029A from Genelec, and recently a pair of iLoud Micro Monitor from IK Multimedia.

  37. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  38. A: I've always been influenced by many artists, musicians and music producers. Too many to name them all. Throughout time I might highlite Peter Gabriel's work, Weather Report, Miles Davis, David Bowie, Brian Eno, among many, many others.

  39. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  40. A: Mainly I've been recording percussion tracks. Though I've also been recording some guitars or cavaquinho, or doing some mixing/mastering works as well

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GenresSounds Like
  • Peter Gabriel
  • Naná Vasconcelos
  • Anna Maria Jopek
Gear Highlights
  • Focusrite Scarlet 18i20 2nd Gen
  • ADK mics
  • Behringer Tube Ultragain Pre-amp
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