El Gavilán CD Release concert w/ Marc Ribot at Subrosa April 29
Chilean singer, songwriter, folklorist, social activist, poet, and visual artist Violeta Parra would have celebrated her 100th birthday this year. In her new recording, El Gavilán, vocalist, songwriter and producer Sofia Rei celebrates her legacy by approaching her music with the imagination and daring that characterized Parra’s work. Sofía re-imagines Parra’s music in a contemporary setting featuring the eclectic and adventurous guitar of Marc Ribot (a collaborator of John Zorn, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello and many more) and with the surprise participation (on the recording) of Angel Parra, Violeta’s grandson. Sofía also plays caja vidalera, a hand-held single head drum from Argentina’s northwest, and charango, a small, five double string guitar from the Andean region of South America. It is still, in essence, the classic folk voice-and-guitar arrangement, but framed by both, electronics and traditional instruments.
The results — spacious and almost minimalist— illuminate Parra’s work from unexpected angles. Sofía built most of the song arrangements with only multilayered vocals sculptured as loops with effects and a wide range of textures creating a sonic landscape unique to each composition. El Gavilán” is a thirteen-minute composition from Parra, closer to atonal academic music than to Latin American folklore, in which the pain and desperation of a devious love take flesh in a dissonant sonority and lyrics that resemble babbling, as if nothing was left to say other than what this disruptive and mourning music expresses. “El Gavilán” is also the piece that inspired this project. Violeta Parra’s body of work is a heritage to which one always returns, as her figure is the symbol of multiple artists: a woman, Latin American, a revolutionary, a lover. Firm and sensitive, militant and suffering, a compiler and a creator.
Sofía Rei: Vocals, Charango, Loops, Small Percussion
Marc Ribot: Guitars
Special Guest: Jorge Glem on Cuatro