Arcomusical, a sextet of Afro-Brazilian berimbau musical bows, directed by Gregory Beyer, an NIU professor and head of percussion studies, is on the ballot for consideration for the 2018 Grammy Awards in the category of Best World Music Album.
Arcomusical’s album, “MeiaMeia” represents three years of continuous development of their original compositions for this unique ensemble.
MeiaMeia is Portuguese for “half,” as in “half a dozen of one, half a dozen of the other,” and the recording is a 12-work chamber music cycle for the instrument from which Arcomusical derives its name. The arcomusical is an elegant species of tunable berimbau handcrafted in the United States. The berimbau is one member of the “bow” family of musical instruments found all over the world.
Composed from 2013 to 2015, “MeiaMeia” is a collaborative project of Beyer and Alexis Lamb, who met when Lamb was a student at the NIU School of Music. Through support from the NIU Undergraduate Artistry and Research Apprenticeship Program, Beyer and Lamb worked to develop an album that is fresh, playful, rhythmic, colorful and soulful.
MeiaMeia was recorded by audio engineer Dan Nichols, who is NIU’s head of recording services in the School of Music. This would be Nichols’ second Grammy, as he won last year along with Matt Ponio for engineering Third Coast Percussion’s album “Third Coast Percussion | Steve Reich” for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance.
Performers on MeiaMeia are: Beyer and NIU alumni, who include Lamb, Daniel Eastwood, Kyle Flens, Christopher Mrofcza, Abigail Rehard and Alexv Rolfe.