The Autumn 2007 issue of Fretboard Journal contains my interview with Brazilian-born master guitarist Nato Lima, one half of the duo, Los Indios Tabajaras.
Lima's story is astounding. He and his brother were born into a large family of Tabajara indians in the northern Brazilian jungle in the 1920s. They were befriended by soldiers, one of whom was a guitarist. The family made an incredible 3,000 mile journey on foot to the southern coast, aquiring a guitar along the way and facing many hardships including the murder of Nato's aunt by bandits and his mother's death in childbirth. The brothers learned and played simple folk music for many years until being exposed to classical music. From sheer desire, they taught themselves to read music and began to adapt classical music to the guitar. They eventually appeard on Johnny Carson and Ed Sullivan many times and recorded 20+ albums for RCA. Their rendition of "Maria Elena" was a huge hit record in the early 60s.
Nato is an unbelievable autodidact and teacher. After his brother retired, he taught his wife to play the guitar from scratch over a year and a half to the point that she could accompany him at a professional level for gigs at places like Carnegie Hall! Chet Atkins made the Del Vecchio resophonic his secret weapon in the studio as a direct result of hearing Nato and eventually, buying his guitar. Amy Dickerson shot some beautiful photos for the article just before the Lima's left NY after 50 years to move back to Brazil.
If you haven't checked out FJ, it's definitely worth your time. It's a true labor of love for the editors who are trying to make it the Architectural Digest of fretted instrument magazines with the highest possible quality. It covers players, builders, and all fretted instruments. This issue has cool stories on Earl Scruggs, David Bromberg, Carr amps and a lot more. You can find it at Borders and Barnes & Noble as well as many music stores.