Matteo Mancuso lets the good times roll and offers a masterclass in fingerstyle fusion guitar on new single Samba Party

Matteo Mancuso
(Image credit: Paolo Terlizzi)

Matteo Mancuso has shared the second single from his forthcoming debut album. The track is titled Samba Party. While it is not strictly a samba track, it is inspired by the carnival vibe and is written in a major key, and is yet another reason to believe the hype about the Sicilian virtuoso who is blowing everyone’s mind right now. 

Samba Party is also Mancuso’s favourite from the album, and it is a jaw-dropping work of fusion guitar. “This is a strange one because, first of all, musically speaking, it doesn't have anything to do with the samba style,” he says. “But I wanted to write a happy ‘major chord’ song and the thing I usually connect with giant happy parties with a lot of people is the carnival in Rio de Janeiro, so, that’s why Samba Party.”

Steve Vai, Joe Bonamassa, Al Di Meolo, Tosin Abasi and all these cats are not wrong when they are telling us that Mancuso is the future for the instrument. He has raised the bar.

Samba Party finds Mancuso once more on a Yamaha Revstar – his electric guitar of choice having grown up with an affinity for double-cuts and the Gibson SG in particular. The tones are incredible, and overwhelmingly come from Mancuso’s Line 6 Helix amp modeller and guitar multi-effects unit. 

The playing is off-the-charts, and what makes Mancuso’s effortless virtuosity all the more bewildering is that it is all performed fingerstyle. When Mancuso first started on guitar he was inspired by the likes of Angus Young and Jimi Hendrix, but watching his father play classical guitar gave him a different perspective on the instrument. He didn’t see the use for a guitar pick. “I just thought that every guitar was meant to be played like that, only with fingers,” he said.

It makes Mancuso’s style all the more exhilarating, allowing him to reach for more unexpected note choices and phrasing.

Samba Party is taken from The Journey, Mancuso’s full-length studio album, which is available to preorder now and will be released on 21 July via The Players Club/Mascot Label Group. The album was recorded by Mancuso’s father Vincenzo, who also co-wrote and plays on two tracks, Blues For John and Polifemo. 

Samba Party opens with an effervescent beat from drummer Gianluca Pellerito for Mancuso to vamp over, and he paid tribute to his rhythm section’s performance for making the track one of his highlights on the record.

"The song’s main theme is inspired by samba rhythms, but I wanted a more modern groove. Gianluca Pellerito and [bassist] Riccardo Oliva delivered this incredible groove, and I was super happy with the result,” said Mancuso. “That’s why it’s probably my favourite song from the album.”

You can check it out above. Just listen to that run that closes the track out. Incredible.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.