Foto: Angelica Del Nery
Project Celebrates an encounter between ten musicians from seven South American countries
COUNTRY: Bolivia, Brazil (SĂŁo Paulo, Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Norte), Chile, Colombia & Venezuela (Guests: Argentina, Mexico)
GENRE: Afro-Andean rhythms, Chacarera, Bullerengue, Colombian pacif coast rhythms, Ciranda, Merengue, Chillean Toinada.
DESCRIPTION: Contemporary music based on traditional rhythms from Latin America. Nine musicians from seven different countries bring the diversity of cultures, and musical elements in absolutely contemporary arrangements of the continent.
AMĂRICA CONTEMPORĂNEA started in 2006 for a special project to reunite musicians from different parts of the continent, conceived by renowned pianist and arranger Benjamim Taubkin.
The synergy and genuine cultural and musical exchange reveals a rich journey through different languages and traditions of each country, furthermore a source of contemporary and very sophisticated sound played by this collective.
Since then, the group released a CD in Brazil, US and Europe, and has toured over 4 times in Brazil, but also in the US, Canada, and Europe.
Almost 5 years later, 2010 turns to be a VERY SPECIAL opportunity to bring the group again to Europe as this year celebrates the bicentenary of the independence of Colombia, Chile, Venezuela, Argentina and Mexico. A date to remember the past wishes for a unified and independent land, but now point out and gather the Latin American cultures.
Contemporary America is a fascinating exercise in a cultural unification. Brazilian pianist Benjamim Taubkin brought musicians from all over South America to create something that synthesized their various traditions and influences into a sound that would reflect the continent in all its variety. The result, Another Center (Adventure Music), pretty much redefines the phrase âmore than the sum of its partsâ. Players from Bolivia, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, as well as several regions of Brazil, gather to perform songs from all these places. The arrangements are intricate and quite beautiful, featuring piano, horns, guitar, violin, and, of course, plenty of percussion.PHIL FREEMAN, GLOBAL RHYTHM
Just a few privileged people had the chance to see the union of one of the most creative Latin American musicians nowadays. The impact already happens in the first song Carmelita, Adios, a Colombian public domain composition, performed masterly by the Singer Lucia Pulido. The recreation of this singing with female ritual
origins is marked by the percussion of Ari Colares. In contrast, the sad and delicate âcirandaâ Vale do JucĂĄ from Pernambuco, sung by Siba with Lucia on the backing vocals.
LĂVIA DEODATO, O ESTADO DE S.PAULO
The multicultural group is highlighted by the open space to individual performance. The voice of the singer Lucia Pulido in duo with the Sibaâs fiddler, in the âcirandaâ, is one of the most touching moments. LAURO LISBOA GARCIA, O ESTADO DE S.PAULO
Recorded live in a studio during the second half of 2005 on the NĂșcleo ContemporĂąneo label, the CD âAmĂ©rica ContemporĂąnea â Um outro centroâ (Contemporary America- Another Center) is the result of the project âLatin Encounter,â which headlined the festival âAll the Worldâs Cornersâ put on by SESC Pompeia, last year. Brazilian pianist Benjamim Taubkin idealized and performed in this project that united 10 musicians on stage, four of them Brazilian, and six from other Latin-American countries: singer Lucia Pullido (ColĂŽmbia), saxophonist and flutist Alvaro Montenegro (BolĂvia), guitarist Aquiles Baez (Venezuela), percussionist Luis Solar (Peru), multi-instrumentalist and singer Carlos Aguirre (Argentina), bassist Christian Galvez (Chile), fiddler Siba (Pernambuco, Brazil), percussionist Ari Colares (Brazil), and a special participation from pianist JosĂ© Miguel Wisnik (Brazil).
Each artist presents a rhythm from his or her country, and is accompanied by the other musicians.
The CD is the realization of one Benjamim Taubkinâs dreams, a dream to share the stage with South Americans from varying nationalities. âIâve always asked myself why Brazil has such little contact with the other South American countries. This is a question that has intrigued me for the past 15 years,â affirms Benjamim Taubkin.
The pianist became more familiar with his continentâs music in 2001, when he became the curator of the Mercado da Bahia, an event that brings in professionals from the world over, but prioritizes the musical dialog between countries of the Cone Sul accord. Since then, Benjamim has listened to more than 600 CDs and was impressed with the quality of the material. In 2003, he visited each of these countries in order to maintain contact with their local musicians.
âThe diversity and the affluence of the music made in South America is impressive. Brazil is more than bossa nova, and Argentina is more than the tango. Colombia is fantastic musically, and not just in the traditional sense, but also in pop, modern, electronic and contemporary. Peru as well. The musical wealth is much more than anyone imagines. People need to know about this,â he explains.
Benjamim Taubkin believes that South America is experiencing an extremely important political/cultural situation. âThere is a desire between the countries to establish connections. We have to take advantage of this. All we have at the moment is impersonal information about these places. Brazil doesnât have a news correspondent in any South American country. Everything we know is via international agencies, which generally focus on the exotic side of things. These places are as sophisticated as anywhere else. There is life, music, and creativity. All this based on tradition, of course, but with eyes on the future,â he declares.
AmĂ©rica ContemporĂąnea has already participated in festivals such as the South America festival in CorumbĂĄ, Brazil; Mercat de Vic and Festival ArReus, Spain; and Cinars, Canada. The group has presented itself in places such as Joeâs Pub, New York; and in Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and SĂŁo Paulo.
The idea is to continue inviting new musicians to intensify the dialog. âOther countries are still missing, but this is a process in constant construction, always looking to open new collaborative projects… of vivid interchange and pleasure,â he concludes.
The CD was also released in the United States in 2007, by Adventure Music, and in Europe in 2007, by Connecting Cultures.
Tour dates 2009
28 Ago – Memorial da AmĂ©rica Latina, SĂŁo Paulo (SP), Brasil
27 Ago – Festival SabarĂĄ Musical, SabarĂĄ (MG), Brasil
Janeiro -Â Oficina de MĂșsica de Curitiba, ParanĂĄ, Brasil
30/Nov – Mercado Cultural da Bahia, Salvador (BA), Brasil
28/Nov – Centro Cultural SĂŁo Paulo (SP), Brasil
12/Set – Projeto PrelĂșdios da Primavera – Dourados (MS), Brasil
10/Set – EspaĂ§o Cachuera! – SĂŁo Paulo (SP), Brasil
07/Set – Festa da MĂșsica – Belo Horizonte (MG), Brasil
05/Set – Projeto Mimo – Olinda (PE), Brasil
18 Jul – Festival Etnosur – Jaen, Espanha
19 Jul – Kesset Festival – Tarragona, Espanha
20 Jul – Festival de La Garriga – La Garriga, Espanha
12 Abr – San Jose, Costa Rica w/ Orquesta del RĂo Infinito
13 Abr – Alajuela, Costa Rica w/ Orquesta del RĂo Infinito
15 Abr – NicarĂĄgua w/ Orquesta del RĂo Infinito
16 Abr – NicarĂĄgua w/ Orquesta del RĂo Infinito
Nov – Joe’s Pub, Nova York, EUA
Nov – Sinars, Montreal, CanadĂĄ
30 Jun – Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
01 Jul – Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Alavaro Montenegro – Bolivia
Composer, flutist and saxophonist, Alvaro Montenegro is one of the most active figures on the Bolivian music scene. With music in his blood (his father was a violinist and his grandfather, a pianist) he began studying music at age 8. He studied in the U.S and Nicaragua, and played in the Chamber Orchestra of Nicaragua from 1986 to 1989. As a composer, he has done soundtracks to films, plays, and dance performances. His compositions have been executed by important orchestras including the National Symphony Orchestras of Cuba and Bolivia, and have been presented in the principal festivals around the world. Versatile, he traverses through a variety of genres â from jazz to rock, from classic to pop. As a member of dozens of orchestras, he has transited through repertories from a diversity of times and spaces. In 1998 he released the CD MĂșsica Latino Americana del Siglo XX in partnership with Japanese guitarist Gentaro Takada. In 2001, he released El Parafonista, which gave rise to the Parafonista band, a Latin-American contemporary fusion sextet. With this band heâs released Los Frutos Prohibidos and RepĂșblica.
Ari Colares – Brazil
Percussionist and professor, for 25 years he has dedicated himself to the study, the practice, and the teaching of Brazilian percussion. He lectures in the Tom Jobim Center for Musical studies, USP, and Anhembi Morumbi. He has played with NanĂĄ Vasconcelos, Egberto Gismonti, etc. He is a musician in the Orquestra Popular de CĂąmara, directed by Benjamim Taubkin, as well as in the group A Barca. He plays with MĂŽnica Salmaso and in Palavra Cantada with Sandra Peres and Paulo Tatit.
Aquiles Baez – Venezuela
Venezuelan arranger, composer, and guitarist. His characteristic is to create a singular sound by mixing Latin American rhythms with sophisticated harmonies. With five albums recorded, heâs collaborated with artists like Paquito de Rivera, Farred Haque, John Patitucci, Ilan Chester, Mike Marshall, Gioria Feidman, and has participated in concerts like Ensamble Gurrufio, Worlds of Guitars and Boston Symphony, Simon BolĂvar and
Bach Academy Orchestras. Aquiles BĂĄez has won the âVenezuelan National Award for Best Artist of the Yearâ; the Leavitt Award at Berklee College of Music and other awards for the soundtracks heâs written for theater, cinema, and dance performances. He administers workshops at universities in the United States and in Europe. He currently lives in New York.
Benjamim Taubkin – Brazil
Brazilian music has been the playing field for this instrumentalist, arranger, composer, and producer. As a musician he has participated in several formations â that range from soloing to symphonic orchestras – presenting in Brazil and abroad. Some of the most recent projects heâs participated in as musician and arranger include: Jobim SinfĂŽnico, Samwad – Rua do Encontro, MilĂĄgrimas, Orquestra Jazz SinfĂŽnica, Paulo Moura and Monica Salmaso. His current projects include: the Orquestra Popular de CĂąmara, the choro ensemble Moderna TradiĂ§ĂŁo, and his work with the traditional music group AbaĂ§ai. He directs the label NĂșcleo ContemporĂąneo, focused on recording Brazilian instrumental music. He is present as a musician or producer on more than 130 discs. He has coordinated projects for institutions like ItaĂș Cultural, and the SĂŁo Paulo State Secretary of Culture. He has developed programs for SESC, CPFL, and CCBB. He is the musical curator for the Mercado Cultural da Bahia and is a member of the European Forum for World Music.
Christian Galvez – Chile
With highlighted participations in the foremost jazz and world music festivals, this Chilean bass player has recorded three discs: Christian Galvez (2000), Cero (2002) and DinĂąmica solista (2004). He has participated in productions and recordings with important international musicians: Joe Vasconcellos (Chile), Luis Salinas (Argentina), Fareed Haque
(United States), Bruce Hart (United States), among others. He is a music professor that has lectured in several Chilean schools, and has given clinics in countries like Argentina, Mexico and Brazil. He created the band GĂĄlvez Quinteto together with Jorge Diaz (guitar), Lautaro Quevedo (keyboards), Rodrigo GĂĄlvez (drums) and ClĂĄudio Ortuzar (percussion). He is currently the musical director of Pez ProduĂ§Ă”es.
Lucia Pulido – Colombia
Colombian singer, who sings anything from jazz to her countryâs traditional music. For more than 13 years, she partnered with the singer/composer Ivan Benevides in the duet âIvan and Lucia.â They recorded three discs and toured through Spain, England, Colombia and Ecuador. Since arriving in New York in 1994, her work has been focused on traditional Colombian rhythms. In 1995 she recorded her first solo CD, Lucia (on the Sonolux label). With a full calendar, she has presented in theaters, universities, and clubs in the United States, as well several important festivals in New York. She is constantly invited to participate in concerts and on CD recordings by jazz musicians like Ed Simon, Erik Friedlander, Dave Binney and Fernando TarrĂ©s. Her most recent CD is Dolor de Ausencia. Currently, Lucia is dedicating herself to projects with musicians in New York and from Latin American countries: an experimental one with Argentinean guitarist Fernando TarrĂ©s that is based on traditional songs from Colombia and Argentina; the recording of the CD Pure and Impure by Erik Friedlander, based on poems by Colombian poets; and lastly, her next disc, contemporary arrangements of traditional Colombian music. Her calendar remains full of performances scheduled in Europe, the United States and Latin America.
Luis Solar Narciso – Peru
Peruvian percussionist who, for 15 years, presented nationally and internationally
with the group Peru Negro. He has played with important names in music such
as Nestor Torres,
Luis Salinas, Paquito de Rivera and Eva AyllĂłn, among others. He participated on
the CD Acuarela de Tambores by Alex AcuĂ±a, which was nominated for a
Grammy in 2002.
At the moment, Luis Solar Narciso is a member of the group Wayruro, as well as
Jean Pierre Magnetâs Grand Banda.
Lula Alencar – Brazil
Pianist, composer, arranger and acordion player, Lulinha began studying piano and jazz improvisation. He formed the instrumental trio LSDÂŽJazz and also formerly was in the Banda BuscapĂ©, focusing on regional music. As an accordion player, Lulinha has been playing with groups such as MafuĂĄ, Mawaca, AntĂŽnio Barros and others.
Siba – Brazil
Musician from NazarĂ© da Mata, Zona da Mata–Pernambuco state. As a member of the band Mestre AmbrĂłsio, Siba moved to SĂŁo Paulo in the early 90âs. A few years later he returned to the city of his childhood, where he has been exploring new aesthetic possibilities for ciranda and maracatu, thus providing new vitality and youth to the northeastern traditions. In NazarĂ© da Mata, he recruited a trio of percussionist/singers (Biu Roque, ManĂ© Roque and Manoel Martins) to release his first solo CD, Fuloresta do Samba. This discâs relationship to the sound of Mestre AmbrĂłsio is apparent due to Sibaâs peculiar voice as well as the format of its songs (percussion, trombone, trumpets, and voices), but at the same time it differentiates itself from the band by way of its ancestral sound that negates contemporary influences, thus bringing us a simpler, more rural Brazil, full of poetic subtleties.
Contemporary America is a fascinating exercise in a cultural unification. Brazilian pianist Benjamim Taubkin brought musicians from all over South America to create something that synthesized their various traditions and influences into a sound that would reflect the continent in all its variety. The result, Another Center (Adventure Music), pretty much redifines the phrase âmore than the sum of its partsâ. Players from Bolivia, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Colombia and Peru ,as well as several regions of Brazil, gather to perform songs from all these places. The arrengements are intricate and quite beautiful, featuring piano, horns, guitar, violin, and, of course, plenty of percussion.
âWe used to say that Brazil is looking at the ocean, with its back to Latin America,â laughs Taubkin about Brazilâs relative cultural isolationism. But the projectâs been enthusiastically received â by audiences, and the group members themselves. âThe thing is,â adds Taubkin, âthe level of the musicians in a lot of those countries is so high nowadays, that it looks like a new revelation. Places like Venezuela, Colombia and Argentina can surprise anyone.â
The bandleader is extremely pleased with how the live recordings came together, and heâs ready to keep it going. âWe did the most of the recording before the first concert, live at the studio, in one afternoon, after only two days of rehearsal,â he recalls. âI felt that for the project to continue to exist, and not to be only one event, we had to have some material. Since then weâve been playing a lot. We had, after the first one, five more concerts in Brazil. We played New York, at Joeâs Pub, and in Montreal. Weâve had invitations to Colombia and Spain. And we have some ideas for research initiatives together. And, of course, a second album.â