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David Virelles · Gnosis at The Music Gallery in Toronto

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Gnosis is a must-see event; a unique artistic experience from one of the foremost innovators in jazz today

On Friday & Saturday November 27-28, 2015, The Music Gallery, Arraymusic and Lula Music & Arts presented the World Premiere of “David Virelles: Gnosis” Futuristic Afro-Cuban Chamber Music featuring Román Díaz.

Following, we reproduce David Virelles’ introductory notes to his piece, GNOSIS. Right below, you can see our photo gallery of the concert.

Èfé: Doce Piezas Cubanas Para Piano and Gnosis represent a respectful offering to the legacy of great works by Cuban composers for the piano.

Both Èfé and Gnosis were composed in 2014, at home in New York City, or while I was on tour in Europe, South America and Canada. Èfé has direct precedents in music by defining 20 century Cuban composers: the Seis Sones Sencillos by Calos Fariñas, and by association, the sones of Alejandro García Caturla and the series of Sones by Carlo Borbolla. It is my understanding that Fariñas was inspired and influenced by these works when he wrote his sones. Thanks to the illustrious piano teacher Lina Fernández Paneque, I first learned about Fariñas (during my early years as a piano student) and Borbolla’s work (a few years later while residing in Toronto). Gnosis drwas from the musical vocabulary of the Abakuá – a magic religious male initiation society in Cuba, based on a West African ethno linguistic identity and its emblematic masked dance performance – as well as the amalgamation of Afro Cuban folkloric elements and Western musical practices suggested by the influential composers Amadeo Roldán and Alejandro García Caturla.

These pieces draw inspiration from the process of formation of a cultural identity in Cuba through History. It embodies how I imagine many things from colonial times – the sounds,  sights and smells of the streets during the festiities of the Día de Reyes – the cabildos de nación and their beliefs and ritual transplanted from Africa – the Spanish style cathedrals and street vendors – the fortresses and pirate attacks – the society dance ballrooms and mulatas de rumbo – the Mambí Spirit and the multiple efforts to become independent and ultimately abolish the horrors of slavery – the avatars and heroes from that period (whether real or fictional), and many other aspects of the deeply complex multi-layer fabric that make up the Cuban identity.

With this music, I propose a meditative experience where one can reflect on the meaning and purpose of ancient traditions and how they evolve through time. It is my hope that these works speak to you.

Act 1
Èfé: Doce Piezas Cubanas Para Piano by David Virelles

Clave Ñañiga: A María Teresa Vera; Cuentos de Portal; Y dicen que se jugó en Fernando Pó; Biankoméko; Spectral; Tessellations; De Cuando La Habana Era Chiquita; Guanabacoa; Lengua; Dos.

Act 2
Gnosis by David Virelles, featuring Román Díaz (visuals by David Virelles)

Personnel: David Virelles: piano; Román Díaz: percussion; Collen Cook: clarinet; Dianne Aitken: flute; Lydya Munchinsky: cello; Cheryl Ockrant: cello; David Schotzco: percussion; Jorge Luis Papiosco: percussion; Reimundo Sosa: percussion; Magdelys Sav: percussion; Blair Mackay: percussion; Amhed Mitchel: percussion; Ricardo Echemendía: percussion; Ricardo Echemendía Jr: percussion. Rick Sacks: conductor.

Photos of David Virelles: Gnosis by Danilo Navas

Founder, Editor, Webmaster: Latin Jazz Network, World Music Report, That Canadian Magazine. A passionate and committed communicator with a sensibility for the arts based in Toronto, Canada.

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Concert Reviews

Stefano Bollani Trio At Koerner Hall

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Stefano Bollano Trio

TD Jazz · The Art of the Trio Concert Series

The Royal Conservatory of Music featured the Stefano Bollani Trio & the Roberto Occhipinti Trio on the evening of November 18, 2016, at the magnificent Koerner Hall in Toronto. This was the second concert in the series celebrating the trio, which is one of the most enduring formats in jazz. As every concert on this series, one international artist (Bollani) and one Canadian trio (Occhipinti) were presented on the same evening.

Stefano Bollano Trio

Roberto Occhipinti, one of Canada’s premier bassists, a five-time Juno Award nominated musician who is equally at home playing classical music as well as jazz and world music, opened the concert, joined by a powerful duo of Cuban-American artists, pianist Manuel Valera and percussionist Dafnis Prieto. They opened their set with a fitting tribute to pianist Keith Jarrett entitled ‘Umbria’, and continued with several songs (‘Dom de Iludir’, ‘Que Bolá’) from Roberto’s new album Stabilimento.

Stefano Bollani was joined by Jesper Bodilsen on bass and Morten Lund on drums. A great entertainer with a contagious sense of humour, Bollani is the embodiment of artistic elegance and true showmanship. A charismatic leader who conducts his musicians (in this case a trio) with flair and exuding energy, Bollani plays the piano as a river flows on a quiet valley. His musical ideas are like a continuous lyrical flow that touches the audiences with a full range of emotions.

Photos of Stefano Bollani Trio by Atael Weissman (click to enlarge)
Photos of Roberto Occhipinti Trio by Atael Weissman (click to enlarge)
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