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Cristina Pato: Latina

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Cristina-Pato-3-LJNThe late cellist Jacqueline Du Pré and the legendary percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, and now the virtuoso Galician bagpiper (gaita player) Cristina Pato… Very few musicians of any gender have more visceral energy and vivacity than these three musicians. Ms. Pato has something none of the other two musicians have: duende that wicked magic that lurks deep down in the soul and is awoken when the artist reaches the kind of intensity of expression that is as explosive as a coiled spring held down for too long. This music on Latina: The Latina 6/8 Suite gets to you if you open your heart. In fact it will pry open the gateway to your soul and if you resist, it will get you anyway. Such is its impactful energy. The Suite has been written in the dancing rhythm and tempo of 6/8, which means the joyful rhythms of Landó, Joropo, Festejo and other maddeningly joyous dance forms such as those. I can’t think of anything like this that exists in written/recorded form. It’s truly a first.

Cristina-Pato-Latina-LJNThe Cristina Pato Quartet gets under the skin of this long-limbed joyous masterpiece, performing with a lovely flexible sense of timing. Ms. Pato explodes the exquisitely angular lines in the statuesque contrapuntal “Fandango” allowing it effortlessly to unfold. Each ebullient sequence of the Suite locks arms with the other bounding and leaping across what you might imagine to be a never ending expanse of a waxen dance floor. The bagpiper is warmly spontaneous, unleashing ardent melodies as if from a medieval weapon. There is a forward drive at every turn; deliberate gestures inform the extraordinary brightness that lights up the forte passages, and she brings a huge range of colours overall. An obsessive perfectionist, Cristina Pato has polished these individual sections of the Suite into gleaming gems. Bassist Edward Pérez has not only explored the vivacious forms wholly in his versification, but he has also written idiomatically—never gratuitously flashy—but flamboyant nevertheless.

Together with Cristina Pato, who also plays piano and sings when she has to, Edward Pérez and the rest of the quartet’s traversal of the various sections share that supple rhythmic flexibility. The Fandango is big-boned and generous with a depth and spaciousness that gives the piece an orchestral scale. Cristina Pato is particularly exciting in the sequences that sound best Vivace. She makes music that is powerfully and, at the same time, lovingly delivered, Mr. Pérez creating a glistening delicacy as a foil. The forward drive of the Landó, the Tanguillo, Joropo/Festejo and other dances enable the musicians to build up a kind of explosive end to this singularly high-voltage work. I cannot think of an extended piece—a suite, or otherwise—that is as inspiring as well. This is truly a miraculous piece of music by a musician whose star—duende or not—is certainly on the rise.

Track List: “The Latina 6/8 Suite”—Fandango: Prueba de Fuego; Landó: María Landó; Tanguillo: The High Seas; Joropo/Festejo: Muiñeira de Chantada; Currulao: Currulao de Crisis; Tarantella-Muiñeira: Epilogue; Llegará, llegará, llegará; Let’s Fiesta; Tarantella Muiñeira.

Personnel: Cristina Pato: gaita, piano, voice; Edward Pérez: double bass; Eric Doob: drums; Victor Prieto: accordion.

Label: Sunnyside Records
Release date: May 2015
Running time: 36:00
Website: cristinapato.com
Buy music on: amazon

About Cristina Pato

Hailed by The New York Times as “a virtuosic burst of energy” and by The Wall Street Journal as “one of the living masters of the gaita” Galician bagpiper, pianist and composer Cristina Pato enjoys an active professional career devoted to Galician popular and classical music and jazz, and her dual careers have led to performances on major stages throughout Europe, USA, India, Africa and China. Cristina Pato was the first female Gaita (Galician bagpipe) player to release a solo album (1999) and has since collaborated on world stages with Yo-Yo Ma, Arturo O’Farrill, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Osvaldo Golijov, World Orchestra and Paquito D’Rivera. Read more…

Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

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Featured Albums

Adrien Brandeis: Siempre Más Allá

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Roberto Jr. Vizcaino, Adrien Brandeis, Roberto Vizcaino Guillot - Photo Nayeli Mejia
Roberto Vizcaíno Jr., Adrien Brandeis, Roberto Vizcaíno Guillot - Photo: Nayeli Mejia.

Listening to the music of Siempre Más Allá, it certainly seems that the young French pianist, Adrien Brandeis has strengthened the belief that he is a proverbial citizen of the Afro-Caribbean universe. To be clear Mr Brandeis still loves all music and swings as hard as any pianist who loves Black American Music – that is, music that you can sing and dance to. But also continues to be beguiled by the rolling thunder of Afro-Caribbean music. The wild call of the rhythms and the joie de vivre of the questing melodies and harmonies not only appeal to his ear, but also speak to him in the hidden parts of his heart.

By his own admission Siempre Más Allá took root during three tours to Mexico undertaken under the aegis of the Fédération des Alliances Françaises du Mexique. The virtually all-Afro-Cuban repertoire of the album radiates charm at every turn. These disarmingly natural and eloquent performances bring out the music’s inherent drama and penchant for tumbao with a deft touch while indulging Brandeis’ lyrical instincts to the full. Meticulously balanced, the four quartet pieces, the trio and duo pieces feel as if they are chamber works. Brandeis’ astonishingly insightful playing is musically captivating and technically blemishless. Each phrase rings so completely true that one can’t imagine the music played any other way.

Adrien Brandeis: Siempre Más Allá
Adrien Brandeis: Siempre Más Allá

The album features Mr Brandeis and a group of very accomplished musicians. These include the celebrated Cuban percussionist Roberto Vizcaíno Guillot [on two tracks] and his son Roberto Vizcaíno Jr., Mexican drummer José Loria Triay make up the wall of percussion. The Brasilian bassist Giliard Lopes brings his distinctive veritas to the whole rhythm section. The big surprise here is, perhaps, the presence of the great Cuban Horacio “El Negro” Hernández sitting in the drum chair on La buena vibra.

Siempre Más Allá is an affirmation of Brandeis’ enduring love and natural affinity for Latin music. Not surprisingly the music seems to echo the famous Latin American phrase: “¡Que rico bailo yo!” [which, in English, exclaims: “How well I dance!”]. This is no hyperbole as the music – in its pulses and rhythms show as Brandeis traverses the rhythmic topography of the Caribbean and Latin America. Along the way Brandeis plunged into the world of changüí, the chacarera, Brasilian gaucho music and the ancient melodic thunder of bàtá drums.

From the get-go listeners will find themselves immersed in quite another world of rippling percussive grooves. The track Ek Bakam, for instance, conjures the intricate architecture; the line and flow of an epic Mayan civilisation located in the Yucatan. Narratives from the Latin world abound – often paying homage to famous traditional musicians. Pancho’s Power is one such chart inspired by the vivid world of the legendary trio Los Panchos. Brandeis gives his percussion section a lot of space when he puts the spotlight on them on Tierra de Oportunidades – a wistful memory of the pianist’s three tours to Mexico, which is also incidentally the popular provincial slogan of the Mexican state of Guanajuato. On Huachi-Huachi Brandeis digs deep into the epicurean delights of the only Latin country in North America with this song in praise of a kind of gourmet Mexican fish: the huachinango.

Brandeis then celebrates his association with percussion colourist Roberto Vizcaíno Jr. with the extraordinary music of Vizcaíno Blues, a piece unique with its exploratory chromaticisms and elegant sonorities that beautifully capture the eloquence of the percussionist in whose praise the music is written. Mindful of the fact that Vizcaíno is Cuban but makes his home in Mexico, Brandeis shapes the rhythmic and harmonic palette of the piece accordingly. On La Buena Vibra Brandeis delivers astonishing pianistic fireworks in the piece’s melodic and harmonic lines, played at a frenetic pace, to mirror the style of its dedicatee, Michel Camilo. The pianist demonstrates an authentic home-grown grasp of Cuban music as he reimages Voy a Apagar la Luz, by the legendary and late-singer Armando Manzanero, here adapted as a wistful solo piano work. Meanwhile on the dizzying ride of Humpty Dumpty the pianist pays homage to another idol: Chick Corea, by revisiting the sparkling composition of the recently-deceased piano maestro.

It is hard not to be mesmerised by this spirited and finely nuanced music artfully crafted in an album by Adrien Brandeis, a pianist who is about to take the world by storm with a recording that is going to be one of the finest by any musician located outside the Latin American sub-continent.

Deo gratis…

Tracks – 1: Huachi Huachi; 2: Alegría; 3: Pancho’s Power; 4: Ek balam; 5: Un peu d’espoir; 6: Vizcaíno’s Blues; 7: Tierra de oportunidades; 8: Humpty Dumpty; 9: La buena vibra; 10: Voy a apagar la luz

Musicians – Adrien Brandeis: piano; Giliard Lopes: contrabass; José Loria Triay: drums; Roberto Vizcaíno Jr: congas and bàtá drums. Featuring Roberto Vizcaíno Guillot: percussion [1, 6]; Horacio “El Negro” Hernández: drums [9]

Released – 2022
Label – Mantodea Music Productions
Runtime – 58:25

YouTube Video – Adrien Brandeis – Siempre más allá (EPK)

YouTube Audio – Adrien Brandeis – Vizcaíno’s Blues

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