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 and records an album in duo with eclectic and adventoruous guitarist Marc Ribot and with the surprise participation 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.
The epic world premiere of John Zorn Masada Book Three: The Book Beriah, took place at the Town Hall in March 2013. This was the newest addition to Zorn’s ongoing work and the last in his famous Masada series, a collection of albums featuring some of the best musicians in the scene including Medeski, Martin & Wood, Pat Metheny, Marc Ribot, Uri Caine and Erik Friedlander. Sofia Rei and JC Maillard were commissioned by Zorn to write lyrics and arrange a full album for the series, anticipated to be released in April 2018 as part of an 11-disc box set.
Jean-Christophe (JC) Maillard is a French composer, guitarist, pianist, electronic musician and arranger native of Pointe-à-Pître, Guadeloupe in the Caribbean. For the past 20 years, he has been touring, producing, arranging, acting as musical director and recording with all the great names in world music and world jazz. He has collaborated with Grammy wining artists such as Lisa Fischer, Angelique Kidjo, Richard Bona, Toure Kunda, etc. His project “Grand Baton”, an innovative mix of rock and electronic music with Caribbean percussions has released two albums which received praiseful reviews from all over the world, establishing him as a daring creative mind in cross genre music. JC is also known for mastering and being the first player of the SazBass, a new 8-steel string instrument of Turkish origin.
Sofía Rei – Vocals, loops & charango.
JC Maillard – Saz bass, vocals.
Sofia’s multinational band has been touring in the US and around the world receiving critical acclaim. Her longtime collaborators, each established in their own right, are:
Sofia Rei – Vocals, loops, charango
Josh Deutsch – Trumpet, flugelhorn
Eric Kurimski – Guitars
JC Maillard – Guitars and Saz bass
Jorge Roeder – Upright and electric bass
Franco Pinna and Tupac Mantilla – Drums & percussion
Sofía Rei – Vocals
Jorge Roeder – Upright Bass
A new collection of unknown songs from every corner of the American continent, North and South, put together with Sofia’s longtime collaborator Jorge Roeder. They have been working together as a duo and in many configurations for over 14 years. Originally from Lima, Peru, New York City-based bass player Jorge Roeder is the co-artistic director and co-producer of all of Sofia’s albums and is also currently part of the Grammy-nominated Julian Lage Group, Shai Maestro Trio, Victor Prieto Trio, Ryan Keberle’s Catharsis, among others.
Sofía and Jorge are recording a live album of Coplas Escondidas in December 2016.
Mycale is a group of four vocalists-composers-arrangers, put together by Zorn in 2009 to create an A Cappella quartet that would collaboratively arrange selections from his Book of Angels compositions.
In 2004, Mac Arthur Fellow, composer and saxophonist John Zorn wrote over 300 new tunes for his popular Masada project. With these compositions he initiated a series of recordings featuring the best players out of the burgeoning Masada family, performing selections from Masada Book Two—The Book of Angels. This series includes artists such as Joe Lovano, Pat Metheny, Dave Douglas, Medeski, Martin and Wood, Marc Ribot, Erik Friedlander and more.
Expressive and passionate, Ayelet Rose Gottlieb (Israel), Sofia Rei (Argentina), Sara Serpa (Portugal) and Malika Zarra (Morocco) are four of the most creative vocalists around.
Each a band-leader, composer, arranger and improviser in her own right, they come together here in an intimate setting to interpret Zorn’s music and give it the flavors of their diverse cultural backgrounds. With lyrics in Hebrew, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic drawn from Rumi, Fernando Pessoa, Heraclitus, The Hebrew Bible and more, the Masada vocal project is hailed as one of the most hauntingly beautiful installments in the entire Angels series.
Mycale performs internationally, including recent performances at New York’s Metropolitan Museum (as part of the epic Zorn@60 event), Adelaide Festival in Australia, Re:Voice Festival in London, Montreal Jazz Festival in Canada and Beit Avichai Cultural Center in Israel. Ayelet’s Jewish-Hebrew roots meet Sofia’s South American folkloric sound, Sara’s Portuguese intricate lines and Malika’s Moroccan muses.
Together they sing Zorn’s music like you’ve never heard it before.
Sofía Rei – Vocals
Leo Genovese – Piano & Keys
A tribute to Cuchi Leguizamón, a revolutionary musician in Argentine folk music. A unique figure in the musical culture of Argentina, Leguizamón was a poet, composer, pianist and guitarist, a popular artist and a highly sophisticated musician. He was rooted in Argentina’s traditional music, but also brought a new harmonic freedom to it, inspired by classical music and by 20th century composers including Debussy, Ravel and Schoenberg. Argentine keyboardist and composer Leo Genovese has been making a masterful musical impact since joining Grammy-winning bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding’s band in 2005. In less than a decade, he established a solid reputation as an instrumentalist and composer who is not afraid to explore the lesser known corners of the musical landscape. He’s been collaborating with Rei since 2004.
This duo project with will be recorded in the Fall of October 2016.