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Diego Figueiredo to perform in Gainesville
Brazilian guitarist Diego Figueiredo will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, in the Evenings of Intimate Jazz at The Arts Council Smithgall Arts Center in Gainesville. - photo by Courtesy of The Arts Council

Diego Figueiredo and Chiara Izzi
When: 8 p.m. Jan. 28
Where: The Arts Council Smithgall Arts Center, 331 Spring St. SE, Gainesville
Cost: $30; tickets sold out but waiting list available
More info: 770-534-2787 and

At age 6, Diego Figueiredo’s father gave him his first instrument, a mandolin. Two years later, the 8-year-old started playing a guitar. And the sound the acoustic guitar and later on the electric guitar led to Figueiredo discover his eventual career path.

“I remember when I was 11, I started playing at bars and nightclubs,” he said. “At that time, I started playing classical guitar. And when I was 13, I thought in my mind I would be a musician and I would play forever. Even as young as 12 and 13 I thought about it.”

The young Brazilian’s dreams turned out to be true. After winning some important musical prizes in Brazil at age 18, Figueiredo continued with his music.

“I had to keep going,” he said, though he indicated there was not a moment in which he decided to turn professional. “It was like a process.”

The process led Figueiredo to release 23 CDs, three DVDS, a book and tour the world. One of his tour stops this year will be to The Arts Council Smithgall Arts Center in Gainesville.

He will perform with vocalist Chiara Izzi at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at 331 Spring St. SW, as part of The Arts Council’s Evenings of Intimate Jazz.

Tickets are $30 for individuals, but are sold out, according to The Arts Council website at Additional seats are available in the atrium the night of the concert and a waiting list has been started. Interested parties must call 770-534-2787 to be added.

Figueiredo noted this is his first time to perform in Gainesville. However, he is looking forward to the small venue.

“I love to play in small places,” he said. “I feel more comfortable. I feel I can connect to people and that’s important to me — that connection between artist and the audience.”

Figueiredo talked to The Times briefly about his development as a musician and career as a jazz musician.


Question: With so many music genres to choose from, why did you pick jazz? What about jazz speaks to you?

Answer: I like to improvise and create new songs. Jazz gives me all these things.

Q: What is your favorite song to play?

A: I love some special songs. I like composer David Brubeck. I have his recording of his “Take Five” on YouTube. People ask me to play “Take Five” by American composer David Brubeck.

Q: You have toured all over the country and the world. Where is your favorite place to play?

A: I love the U.S. It’s beautiful. I like Montana, Mississippi. Each place has all particular themes, special food, different people, natural things. It’s hard to say. I’ve been to many beautiful places in U.S. I’d like to come back. I’ve played in places in New Mexico. It’s a beautiful place. I love Colorado in Aspen and Vail. I like beautiful.

Q: When you are not touring and playing music, what do you do in your free time?

A: When I’m not touring, I play guitar for sure. I like to play soccer and see my friends and hang out with them. I have a big family and that is what I like.

Q: What can people expect to hear from your concert in Gainesville?

A: I am very happy to be for the first time in Gainesville, Georgia. I’ve played a repertoire of Brazilian and jazz. I’m very excited to do this concert.