Earlier this month AYO’s Momentum Ensemble made their debut appearance at The Night Cat in Melbourne’s inner-city suburb of Fitzroy.

Male conductor performing with musicians dark background with spectators and stage lights..

Those lucky enough to have caught the launch of 24 Hours in Lapa will have experienced a truly special amalgam of Brazilian rhythm and subtle electronics, accompanied by the talented players of Momentum Ensemble. With the stage sitting in the centre of the venue the audience were treated to a 360-degree view of the performance, which also featured appearances from Australia’s leading Brazilian guitarist Doug de Vries, and vocal superstars Krystle Warren and Ryan Ritchie.

This unique collaboration didn’t come about by accident. Thanks to Melbourne composer and violinist Tamil Rogeon, 24 Hours in Lapa was created through careful musical direction and selection of artists leading to an exceptional performance on the night.

The inspiration for Rogeon’s musical masterpiece was an American man named Joseph E. Martin. On the eve of his thirtieth birthday in 2007, Joseph was shot by an off-duty police officer when he intervened in an attempted mugging outside a nightclub. His unexpected death brought Brazil’s veiled history of police violence into the public eye.

It’s debatable whether you should read up on the story behind 24 Hours in Lapa before listening to the album or allow your mind to wander without preconception. Either way, the music is very exploratory; taking the listener on a visual journey. As soon as a little background is given, it becomes clear that you are following the tragic story of Joseph E. Martin throughout his last 24 hours, amid the hustle and bustle of the Brazilian neighbourhood of Lapa, Rio de Janeiro. As you progress through the album the subtle transitions between different scenes feel completely natural. Similarly, the shifts between contemporary orchestral music, electronic sound and Brazilian rhythm are totally seamless. These genres couldn’t be more different from one another, and yet there is something very comfortable about the way in which they are combined in this work.

The launch of 24 Hours in Lapa gave Momentum Ensemble the opportunity to do what they do best: push the boundaries of classical music and create a truly original performance. The Ensemble’s unwavering willingness to take on new and interesting repertoire is what made it the perfect orchestra for the job. Stay tuned for more ambitious performances, as Momentum Ensemble prepare for sensational concerts throughout the rest of their 2017 calendar. While we wait to see what they will bring us next, here are some review highlights from the 24 Hours in Lapa album launch.

‘Momentum Ensemble’s instrumental experience transcends the practice rooms and concert halls and spills out into popular music and nightlife.’ – Cut Common

’24 Hours in Lapa comes together like a rich tapestry. It has stunning elements that can be appreciated on their own, but it’s when you look at the entire work that you’re truly struck by its impact.’ – Sounds Of Oz

’One of the most significant aspects of the night was the experience of seeing a 25-piece orchestra in a bar/club setting. By taking the orchestra out of what would traditionally be a theatre or recital hall, the music wasn’t bound by its genre and the audience was able to fully experience the narrative in Tamil’s composition.’ – The AU Review