Apr282017

El universo ecléctico de Sofía Rei suena en Bogotá – Noisey – Vice Colombia

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Entre el sonido de marimbas, cajas peruanas, saxofones, tambores caribeños y una vibrante voz, entramos en el universo sonoro de la artista argentina.

 

Con De Tierra y Oro, Sube Azul, Ojalá o Gavilán Sofia Rei dio un golpe de autoridad en la música latinoamericana. Son trabajos que por lo demás han creado un espacio de fusión y originalidad mediante la apropiación de herramientas tanto latinas como europeas. Con jazz, cumbia, y con su voz mezzo-soprano, Sofía nos lleva por una caravana gitana de sorprendentes parajes sonoros en cada una de sus canciones.

 

Como co-fundadora del Coletivo Sur y profesora de Berklee College of Music, Sofía ha sobresalido también por llegar a integrar lo que podría definirse como una enciclopedia folclórica latina en pleno corazón de New York, en español, inglés o portugués, cada una de sus líricas delatan la amalgama que compone la inmensa identidad musical de muchas comunidades latinoamericanas, teniendo en cuenta todo lo que se ha modificado en este concepto con el tiempo.

 

Hablamos con ella aprovechando su paso por Bogotá, ciudad donde además de dar un concierto dictó un taller musical.

 

Noisey: La semana pasada tuviste una presentación en la Universidad Javeriana en Bogotá junto a Curupira ¿Qué has dibujado de Bogotá? ¿Qué impacto te ha dejado el ambiente bogotano?

 

Sofía Rei: Bueno, yo conocí Bogotá hace más de nueve años y desde entonces he ido y venido constantemente por colaboraciones, grabaciones y, ante todo, por estar en esa búsqueda de nuevos ritmos y artistas que puedan estar en este gran proyecto. Bogotá siempre ha estado presente en este recorrido, es un lugar al que siempre vuelvo por las posibilidades y perspectivas que ofrece par mi trabajo.

 

Pasemos ahora al cante colombiano del que se pueden percibir varios rasgos en tus composiciones ¿Qué tomaste de él? ¿Qué fue lo que te atrapó de este cante?

 

Me encantó la tradición que representa: es honesto, sincero, en toda su belleza encarna algo muy oral. Ante todo me gusta ese uso de distintos registros, puede ser poderoso y visceral a la vez que imprime en cada región donde se le encuentre un matiz distinto. Cada región le da a su tinte sobre todo porque Colombia posee regiones musicales muy marcadas y fácilmente reconocibles, y aun así este cante recoge algo muy específico de cada una de estas regiones. Es muy curioso el hecho que yo llegué a este ritmo por Folklore Urbano estando en New York. Folklore Urbano es un colectivo musical cuyo fundador es caleño y fue en el 2006, estando distante de Colombia. Es algo muy común esa cuestión de redescubrir tu territorio estando lejos de él.

 

 

Gavilán fue un proyecto tremendo que contó con la colaboración de varios músicos de larga trayectoria, así como tuvo una producción elaboradísima que, más que un homenaje a la misma Violeta Parra, fue un diálogo entre tiempos y sonidos diversos ¿Has pensado en volver a un proyecto así? O ¿Qué tipo de trabajos vienen ahora en adelante?

 

Bueno este año está lleno de nuevos trabajos. En septiembre saldrá un próximo disco donde la voz, los arreglos de la banda, son trabajos míos y como siempre tiene influencias de muchísimos ritmos: tiene samples locales y samples incoporados de nuevas ideas, de distintos lugares. Ya tenemos dos canciones, una se llama “Cinco poemas cínicos”. En total van a ser diez canciones y fue grabado en New York. Hay otro proyecto con el guitarrista John Roeder, se llama Coplas escondidas. Es un proyecto acústico que se encarga de dar a conocer todas esas canciones desconocidas que se pueden rastrear en Estados Unidos, México o Argentina. También allá, en Argentina, tenemos un proyecto a dúo con el pianista Leo Genovese con quien estaremos haciendo, un poco al modo de Gavilán, un homenaje a Gustavo “Cuchi” Leguizamón. Con Curupira, por ejemplo, estamos pensando una gira por Europa a finales de este año. Hay montonón de proyectos.

 

¿Cómo ha sido esa apropiación de lo latinoamericano desde New York?

 

Es sorprendente lo que ha permitido este espacio para los músicos, sobre todo para los músicos latinos. Cuando llegué allá no demoré en darme cuenta que era un punto de convergencia de muchísimos músicos latinos. Al tiempo que conocía la vanguardia musical en tanto a producción, conocía nuevas voces y tuve contacto con la tradición musical que vio nacer a los primeros grupos de salsa. En nuestros países todavía se vive la experiencia musical como algo muy local y muy fragmentado, y aún muy sectorizado por géneros. Es decir, se hace mucho énfasis en la escena jazzera o rapera etc… Igual, estando allá cada uno le imprime sus influencias, su propio toque. Venimos de una serie de permeabilidades culturales que estando allá se puede eliminar permitiendo una mirada periférica de tu propia región, entonces encuentras a un chileno tocando una cumbia con su propio acento, es genial.

 

¿Podría hablarse de una creación de identidad, una construcción identitaria a través de tu canto?

 

Ahora, lo latinoamericano va más allá de una cuestión territorial. Es una exploración sin fin. Mi canto se alimenta siempre de algo nuevo. Mi canto ante todo escucha. Hay que recontextualizar eso que conocemos como lo “latinoamericano”, ya lo auténtico no es volver al poncho y al mate sino cómo hacer que la gente vuelva a eso, sin olvidarlo. No se pierde la latinidad, sino que se amplía y se tiene que visibilizar, por ejemplo, lo que pasó con Violeta Parra en Estados Unidos, se puso de nuevo en perspectiva.

 

Voy a darte 9 nombres y de cada uno quiero que me digas en una frase de lo que ellos representan para ti, no una definición sino más bien el impacto y lo que suscitan en tu carrera.

 

1. Bobby Mc Ferrin

Ha sido mi encuentro musical más satisfactorio. Es la caja de música perfecta y él es la musicalidad hecha ser humano, ha sido una gran inspiración.

 

2. John Zorn

 

Es mi mentor musical. Como artista me inspiró su eclecticismo y esa capacidad de producir, crear y armar en la escena. Es mi padrino musical y me encanta que haya puesto por medio de “The Stone” un lugar nuevo para los artistas.

 

3. Marc Ribot

 

Su sonido y concepto musical me encantan. Su capacidad para generar una síntesis poderosa de entendimiento conceptual es increíble. Entiende lo que sea y puede entender cualquier material que le den. También me gusta su evidente posición política porque se interesa mucho en la palabra desde lo sónico y lo cinematográfico.

 

4. John Medeski

 

Es todo un revolucionario del Jazz y del Rock electrónico, en verdad.

 

5. Björk

 

¡Lo máximo! Para mí es el mejor ejemplo de la artista conceptual, tiene demasiado buen sentido estético, es completa y original hasta sus últimas consecuencias. Además ella en sí es la vanguardia y cubre la diversidad de todas las ramas sensibles en la música, es más, sensibiliza desde el diseño o la moda, es dinámica y flexible, con ella se abre un abanico de posibilidades experimentales grandísimo.

 

6. Elis Regina

 

Si Björk es mi artista preferida, Elis es mi cantante preferida. Se empodera de un sentido rítmico al tiempo que de un sentido del humor alucinante. Improvisa y hace parte de la banda al tiempo. Desarrolla una capacidad de emocionar infinita ¡Es fabulosa!

 

7. Violeta Parra

 

Como artista y mujer es símbolo de coraje y valentía, fue innovadora y defensora de los invisibles. Todo un ícono de inspiración de mi niñez. Hace parte del Soundtrack de mi infancia.

 

8. Jorge Roeder

 

¡Es mi media naranja musical! Mi hermano musical. Gran improvisador y productor de mis discos. Él es mi segundo par de oídos.

 

9. Curupira

 

Son mi nueva familia musical latinoamericana. Siempre innovan son una ventana siempre abierta a la experimentación.

 

Para terminar y a propósito del trabajo que estás realizando, ¿qué buscas y qué mensaje dejas en tus talleres?

 

Insisto ante todo con los cantantes, ellos tienen que ser independientes. Tienen que poder manejarse desde todas las herramientas que la música les ofrece. Tienen que ser músicos en todo sentido y no acostumbrarse a depender de perspectivas ajenas. La voz, aunque sea independiente tiene que estar al servicio de la imaginación.

Source: Noisey / VICE
Author: Lina Alonso

Stunningly Eclectic Singer Sofia Rei Radically Reinvents Violeta Parra Classics – Lucid Culture

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Conventional wisdom is that if you cover a song, you either want to do it better than the original, or make something completely different out of it. The latter usually makes more sense, considering that if a song is worth covering at all, the original is probably hard to beat. Merle Haggard as shambling free jazz; Gil Scott-Heron as hard bop; Pink Floyd as dub reggae – all of those unlikely reinterpretations ended up validating the outside-the-box creativity that went into them. On the brand-new album El Gavilan (The Hawk), streaming at Bandcamp, pan-latin singer Sofia Rei – who’s never met a style she was afraid to tackle – puts a brave new spin on the songs of Chilean icon Violeta Parra. The Argentine-born songstress is currently on tour; her next New York concert is this coming June 2 at 8 PM at the Neighborhood Church, 269 Bleecker St. at Morton St. in a duo with the incomparable, more atmospheric Sara Serpa, her bandmate in John Zorn’s Mycale a-cappella project. The show is free.

 

On one hand, artists from across the Americas have covered Parra. On the other, it takes a lot of nerve to reinvent her songs as radically as Rei does. The album’s opening number, Casamiento de Negros begins as a bouncy multitracked a-cappella number, like Laurie Anderson at her most light-footed; Ribot tosses off a tantalizingly brief, Hawaiian-tinged slide guitar solo. It’s a stark contrast with Parra’s allusive narrative of a lynching.

 

Parra’s stark peasant’s lament Arriba Quemando El Sol is a march, Ribot opening with an ominous clang, then echoing and eventually scorching the underbrush beneath Rei’s resolute, emphatic delivery. It’s akin to Pink Floyd covering Parra, but with more unhinged guitars and more expressive vocals. She does Una Copla Me Ha Cantado as a starlit lullaby, killing softly with the song over Ribot’s spare deep-space accents.

 

Her wryly looped birdsong effects open a pulsing take of Maldigo Del Alto Cielo that rises to swoopy heights, spiced with wisps of backward masking, a curse in high-flying disguise. By contrast, the muted, bruised pairing of Rei’s vocals with Ribot’s spare chords gives La Lavandera the feel of a Marianne Dissard/Sergio Mendoza collaboration as it reaches toward a simmering ranchera-rock sway.

Rei makes a return to atmospheric art-rock with the lament Corazón Maldito, Ribot rising from shivery angst to menacing grey-sky grandeur, Rei parsing the lyrics with a dynamic, suspenseful, defiant delivery like Siouxsie Sioux without the microtones.

 

The album’s epic title track clocks in at a whopping fourteen minutes plus, opening with atmospherics and Ribot taking a rare turn on acoustic, warily and airily. From there he switches to electric for cumulo-nimbus, Gilmouresque atmospherics behind Rei’s frantically clipped, carnatically-influenced delivery, following Parra’s anguished tale of abandonment.

 

The ambient Enya-like concluding cut is Run Run se Fue pa’l Norte, an apt song for our time if there ever was one, echoing with more Pink Floyd guitar from Los Tres‘ Angel Parra, Violeta Parra’s grandson. Whether you call this art-rock, jazz, or state-of-the-art remake of Chilean folksongs, it will leave you transfixed, especially if you know the originals.

 

It’s open to debate if the Trump administration would let an artist like Rei into the country these days, considering his commitment to kissing up to the non-Spanish speaking lunatic fringe.

 
Source: Lucid Culture
Author: Delarue

Sofía Rei, otra voz para Violeta Parra – La Nación

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La cantante argentina homenajea a la artista chilena para recordar el centenario de su nacimiento.

 

Sofía Rei no es especial por el toque galego o portugués de su apellido artístico (apócope del apellido de su madre) sino por la manera como construyó una carrera a fuerza de talento y de trabajo. Es de esas personas que se fueron a estudiar a los Estados Unidos y luego, con título en mano, decidieron probar suerte en Nueva York. Seguramente, como ha sido el caso de muchas, para quedarse allí debieron apelar a la creatividad. Porque al decir de algunos, no basta la buena suerte de estar en el momento correcto y el lugar adecuado, también se necesita esa cuota de talento y originalidad para sobrevivir en La Gran Manzana. Sofía lo hizo. Hace más de una década que se instaló allí.

 

Salió de Buenos Aires con el conocimiento informal que cosechó en la música popular y el formal del Coro de Niños del Teatro Colón, además de estudios particulares. Viajó a Boston en plan de estudios y luego a Nueva York con la idea de hacer una carrera allí. El balance, al día de hoy, es positivo, porque comenzó en la big band de María Schneider y luego colaboró con artistas como Bobby McFerrin y John Zorn. Nada menos. También se asoció con otros músicos para recrear el folklore del Perú, en un proyecto que luego fue ampliado hacia el Sur, con música nativas de la región.

 

Como cantante de jazz su trabajo habría pasado casi inadvertido, pero volvió al Sur en canciones y las recreó de la manera como más cómoda se sintió. Hoy esa manera es la mezcla entre melodías o ritmos con raíces en el Sur del continente y la electrónica. Desde hace algunos años viene en ese plan cuando se concentra en producciones propias (porque también en esta última década se embarcó en otros proyectos). Su producción más reciente es un homenaje la cantante Violeta Parra, porque este año se recuerdan los 100 de su nacimiento. El gavilán se llama el disco que acaba de publicar en los Estados Unidos. Allí se la puede escuchar (y ver porque ya hay un par de vídeos circulando) muy cómoda con las guitarras de Marc Ribot, entre otros recursos que le dan, al folklore chilenísimo que lleva el sello Parra, un toque muy especial, y sin la pretensión de sonar experimental. Porque muchas veces las voces se ponen al servicio de la experimentación, pero este no parece ser el caso. Todo lo contrario.

 

 

 

Entre los temas de su nuevo álbum figura “Maldigo del alto cielo”, según la personal versión de Sofía.

 

 

 
Source: La Nación
Author: Mauro Apicella

Sofía Rei: Gracias a la vida que le ha dado tanto – NY 1

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La cantante, Sofía Rei, interpretará temas de su nuevo disco, este sábado en el club Subrosa.

 

La artista argentina visitó nuestros estudios para conversar sobre este innovador y ambicioso proyecto musical que es un homenaje a la legendaria cantautora chilena: Violeta Parra.

 

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Source: NY1n
Author Philip Klint

Concierto de Sofía Rei en conmemoración de Violeta Parra – Viceversa Magazine

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La reconocida cantante argentina Sofía Rei presentará en Subrosa, el próximo sábado, un concierto con el cual quiere rendir homenaje a la cantautora, poeta, artista, Violeta Parra, quien este año cumpliría 100 años. Lo hace presentando las canciones de su nuevo álbum El Gavilán, en el cual reimagina la música de Parra.

 

Cantante y compositora, Sofía Rei es una de las voces más apasionadas, carismáticas e imaginativas de la escena neoyorquina actual. En su música, explora conexiones entre diferentes tradiciones del folklore de Sudamérica, el jazz, sonidos electrónicos, y música contemporánea. Sus últimos dos discos solistas (Sube Azul y De Tierra y Oro) fueron celebrados por la crítica internacional y ambos recibieron un Independent Music Award en la categoría de Ritmos del Mundo.

 

Sofía comenzó su carrera musical en el Coro de Niños del Teatro Colón, continuó sus estudios en el Conservatorio Nacional de Musica Carlos Lopez Buchardo, y recibió una Maestría en el New England Conservatory (Boston, USA). Desde su mudanza a New York, Sofia ha colaborado en un sinfin de proyectos y ha recorrido prestigiosos escenarios y festivales internacionales entre los que se cuentan el Carnegie Hall, Montreal Jazz Fest (Canada), Blue Note (NYC), Village Vanguard (NYC) , New York City Opera, Museum of Latin American Art (Los Angeles), Festival Iberoamericano de las Artes (Puerto Rico), Cite de la Musique (Paris), Teatro Manzoni (Milán) el Festival de Jazz de Barcelona, etc.

 

Durante el 2007 recorrió Europa y USA como vocalista de la big band de Maria Schneider y participo del estreno de “Cerulean skies” en el prestigioso Crowned Hope Festival en Viena, por el aniversario numero 250 del nacimiento de Mozart. En mayo de 2008 se presentó en el Carnegie Hall junto a Bobby McFerrin para realizar “Instant Opera”, una ópera completamente improvisada sobre la historia de la Torre de Babel. Sofia tambien es miembro fundador del cuarteto vocal a cappella MYCALE del genial compositor y productor John Zorn, parte de su famosa serie MASADA. Ella también es la cantante de Aurea, proyecto del pianista y compositor Geoffrey Keezer, cuyo album recibio una nominacion al GRAMMY como mejor album de Latin Jazz de 2010. Sofía es actualmente profesora del departamento vocal de Berklee College of Music y del New England Conservatory (Boston, MA).

 
Souce: Viceversa Magazine

Arriba Quemando el Sol – The New York Times

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A stomping fury swarms up beneath Sofía Rei’s voice on her version of “Arriba Quemando el Sol,” a populist anthem by Violeta Parra. The song (which translates to “The Sun Shining Above”) elevates the struggles of the working poor in rural Chile.

 

Ms. Rei’s declamations capture its pride and its lament, while the guitarist Marc Ribot builds a blazing, dystopian billow around her. This track comes from “El Gavilán,” Ms. Rei’s forthcoming album, composed of eight songs written by Ms. Parra, a leader of Chile’s mid-20th-century folk music revival. On the record Ms. Rei, who hails from Argentina but lives in New York, is joined by Mr. Ribot and no one else.

 

Otherwise, she accompanies herself: on percussion, various stringed instruments and vocal overdubs.

 

 

 

Source: The New York Times
By Giovanni Russonello

Recent arrivals – Fernando Gonzalez review “El Gavilán”

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El Gavilán, Sofia Rei featuring Marc Ribot (Cascabelera) Argentine vocalist, songwriter and producer Sofia Rei´s tribute to Chilean singer – songwriter Violeta Parra, who would have been 100 next October, is an inspired celebration of the folklorist as innovator.

 

In El Gavilán, Rei re-imagines some of Parra’s classics ( “Run Run se fue pa’l Norte,” “Maldigo del Alto Cielo,””Casamiento de Negros” ) and puts a spotlight on one of her under appreciated pieces (the title track) by setting them in an often stark, minimalist, electronic landscape built on electric guitars, vocal loops and electronic effects. Folk music for the 21st Century.

Inventive Argentine Vocalist Sofía Rei Brings Her Song Magic to New York at Greenwich House and Subrosa – New York City Informer

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What an incredible voice teeming with passion and invention! Argentina-born, New York-based vocalist, songwriter and producer Sofía Rei explores connections between the various traditions of South American folklore, jazz, flamenco and electronic sounds. She’s a mesmerizing singer who has been called a one-woman band of complex rhythms and lush melodies. She’s collaborated with artists such as John Zorn, Bobby McFerrin, Myra Melford, Pedrito Martinez, Lionel Loueke, Guillermo Klein and Geoffrey Keezer. She’s also a faculty member of Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory.

 

She has two marquee performances in New York this month. The first, Umbral, takes place at Greenwich House on Thursday, April 13 and focuses almost exclusively on her voice and the many paths she can take on a full-show journey. Then on Saturday, April 29 at Subrosa, she introduces her new recording project, El Gavilán, an album that pays homage to the classic South American songwriter Violeta Parra—an artist, folklorist and social activist—on the centennial year of her birth. Sofía performs with the guitarist par excellence Marc Ribot who collaborated with her in reimagining Parra’s profoundly moving and socially conscious songs. “Marc is a politically engaged musician,” says Sofía, “and I believe Violeta’s work spoke to him not only musically but because of its social and political message.” In a contemporary rendering of her music, the pair brings to life the songs of a true South American treasure in the show.

 
Source: New York City Informer
Author: Dan Ouellette

Sofia Rei: Honoring Chilean Artist Violeta Parra – Hot House Jazz Guide

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As Dominican writer Julia Alvarez explained at a reading at Harlem’s Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling at the beginning of March: When you lose your stories, you lose your soul. Folklore is the soul of a country. In the case of music, folkloric music is the musical history and soul of a country.

 

New York-based singer Sofía Rei has decided to honor the musical history of South America, along with its soul, by paying tribute to the South American folkloric tradition in her latest album El Gavilán (The Hawk). The title is a reference to a piece composed by Chilean visual artist, performer and activist Violeta Parra, whose song “Gracias a la Vida” (“Thank you to Life”), many people, worldwide, have heard.

 

“Violeta Parra was the first Latin American artist who did a solo exhibition at the Louvre,” Argentina-born Sofía explains. In 1964 Violeta exhibited some of her oil paintings, wire sculptures and arpilleras almost decade before Chile was taken by a military dictatorship. “She was a singer and a composer; a folklorist and an ethnomusicologist,” Sofía adds. “She was very important for rescuing so many musical traditions of Chile.” She then reinvented them and created something essential for Latin American culture, which was the New Song movement.

 

The legacy of Violeta also lies in her personality. “More than anything else, she was a very brave woman,” Sofía says. “She was really truthful to herself. She was really strong. So many people consider her the mother of Latin American music.” 2017 is the 100th anniversary of Violeta’s birth and Sofía is more than prepared for this celebration since she and guitarist Marc Ribot performed for a Parra tribute in Colombia last May.

 

Sofía’s album features eight tunes, all Parra compositions. Songs such as “Arriba quemando el Sol” and “El Gavilán” translate the authenticity, rawness, urgency and uneasiness of Violeta’s titanesque journey; yet in paying tribute to Violeta, Sofía also continues establishing her own unique, focused, unconventional and, at times, delirious vision: Trained as a classical singer, she can use her voice operatically, but she is also an accomplished jazz performer and improviser. And it is the first time Sofía has recorded electronic sounds.

 

“I create layers of my own vocals that form the structure of what I am doing,” she says. “There is no bass; there are no drums. You’re not trying to replace them, but hopefully you don’t miss them either. It’s just vocals layering. Each of these layers has its own life. They have enough harmonic content, rhythmic content or counterpoint. It was very fun to piece them together.”

 

Sofía met Marc while she was working with John Zorn’s vocal a cappella quartet Mycale in 2009. But Marc and she played for the first time in 2013 with John’s Song Project. Angel Parra, Violeta’s grandson, is also on Sofía’s album El Gavilán.

 

Sofía Rei, on voices, loops, effects, charango and percussion, performs at The Greenwich House on April 13 with JC Maillard on guitar and saz bass, for her project, Umbral. She also plays at Subrosa on April 29, for the release of her album El Gavilán, with Marc Ribot on guitars and Jorge Glem, cuatro.

 
Source: Hot House Jazz Guide
Author: Emilie Pons

El Gavilan by Sofia Rei featuring Marc Ribot – a rare, unsettling and fascinating accomplishment – The Music and Myth

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A little over a week ago, during a flight to Berlin, I re-read an old National Geographic article called The Real Price of Gold. In this cover story from January 2009, author Brook Larmer describes the harsh working and living conditions of the modern-day miner, focusing on the town of La Rinconada in Peru, the highest permanent settlement in the world.

 

When, just a few days later, I heard the words “mejor habita en su concha el caracol” (a snail lives better inside its shell), I was immediately reminded of the article and its vivid description of labor under the cachorreo system (which entails working thirty days without payment for the chance to claim as much ore as you can carry on day thirty-one – a questionable arrangement resulting in a dangerous lottery). The coincidence of this recurring theme was as profound as it was uncanny, not just because I’d randomly picked out the old magazine from my collection or because the song’s lyrics closely reflected the article’s content, but mostly because “Arriba Quemando El Sol” was written more than half a century ago.

 

This acute reminder of an unchanging reality was indeed sobering, but it was just one of many things I found fascinating about this latest record I’d received for review – El Gavilan, by Sofia Rei and guest artist Marc Ribot, scheduled for release on April 25th.

 

If you’re familiar with The Music and Myth, you probably know how I feel about these two musicians. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I consider Sofia Rei the most exciting vocalist in the world at the present moment. The reasons for this are manifold: from her powerful, educated voice, exhaustive in its expression of the human experience, to the daring playfulness with which she combines modern arrangement techniques with age-old South American themes, to the captivating manner in which her natural charisma brings those timeworn stories to life.

 

But the most important quality that makes Sofia such an interesting musician to follow is simply the profound dedication with which she researches her subject matter. In many ways, listening to a Sofia Rei song is akin to reading a National Geographic article in that it manages to condense an impressive catalog of information into the limitations of its concise form. One need only revisit La Gallera for a convincing demonstration of her evocative talent. When I found out this self-described “song researcher” had recorded a tribute album to legendary Chilean artist and tragic figure, Violeta Parra, I was already interested.

 

If you’re searching for proof of Sofia’s ability to produce a memorable tribute, look no further than her superior take on La Llorona, arguably the most imaginative modern version of the song currently in existence. My excitement only increased when I found out she had invited one of the most intense and eclectic guitar players of this generation to be a guest artist.

 

The idea of this record became as mysterious as the concept was promising. How did Marc Ribot fit into the vocalist’s vision? It wasn’t hard to imagine that John Zorn’s go-to guitarist and one of the key-figures in Tom Waits’ abrupt, mid-eighties shift to the experimental side would make his presence felt, but what shape would the sound of this shape-shifting musician take? And how would the dynamic, colorful vocalist tackle Parra’s distinctively despondent poetry?

 

I have to be honest: it’s the first time in a while that I wasn’t sure what to expect from an album. On the one hand, this was a dream-collaboration, featuring my favorite vocalist and my all-time favorite guitarist, a pairing that had contributed to some of the most beautiful vocal songs of the last few years as well as the Music and Myth’s best vocal record of 2014.

 

On the other hand, I’m a documented fan of Sofia’s previous record, De Tierra y Oro, and I wasn’t sure how that would influence my experience with the bold musician’s first solo release in five years.

 

El Gavilan starts with “Casamiento de Negros”, in hindsight, the right choice for an opening track, though I was initially ambivalent about its placement since it’s immediately followed by one of the most powerful compositions in the set. All of the chosen songs are time-tested, so the record’s primary challenge was to bring them back to the forefront in a form that would make its existence musically relevant (the lyrics, as I’ve mentioned before, are still frightfully relevant today).

 

An enormous part of an album’s appeal, at least for me, is what I call its narrative coherence. Ironically, this appeal seems to increase in importance during a time when only the most ardent music enthusiasts listen to records as complete, cohesive bodies of work instead of just random piles of songs in a playlist. For that reason, I feel “Casamiento” was ultimately the right pick to start the journey, purely because of its straightforward introduction to the album’s stylistic direction – minimalist, experimental, centered around the multi-faceted use of vocals in creating atmosphere. Marc’s presence is beautifully understated throughout, his subtle but targeted contributions doing a perfect job of enhancing the effect of Sofia’s unearthly voice.

 

The song’s subject matter – a tragic recount of a “black” wedding and a destiny of inescapable poverty – clashes with the upbeat rhythm and melody, creating a certain discrepancy that brings to mind Parra’s original version. Here, it’s greatly enhanced by Sofia’s layered vocals and Marc’s unprecedented use of pedal steel to create a sort of sepia-toned, historical reverberation. Disturbingly, the listener discovers that the music is a lie, as the words reveal the burdensome truth: marriage, sickness and untimely death under the sign of abject poverty.

 

Spearheaded by Sofia’s use of the caja vidalera (an Argentinian drum) and the guitarist’s electric, confrontational approach, “Arriba Quemando El Sol” plays like a call to war, quickly becoming the record’s unofficial anthem. Summoning the ghost of Violeta Parra, the vocalist manifests her voice in its rawest, most single-hearted form to lament the historically unchanging fate of the miners.

 

The final line of each stanza – repeated for emphasis – is delivered with complete abandon, breaking off into a banshee’s shriek to create a fitting impression of perpetuity.

 

“Una Copla Me Ha Cantado” is a mournful ballad where Sofia draws from her work with John Zorn’s Mycale to tackle another important theme in Parra’s work: the agony of lost love. Reminiscent of the most delicate moments in Frantz Casseus and Silent Movies, Marc’s guitar seems to haunt Sofia’s voice. Meanwhile, the singer delivers this splendid ballad with an almost reverent restraint.

 

In “Maldigo Del Alto Cielo”, the only track that features only the vocalist, Sofia makes the most pronounced use of her layering techniques (to an almost distracting extent) in order to symbolize the character’s infinitely echoing curse. The song gets off to a bit of a rough start as the combination of vocal percussion and piercing charango makes it difficult to warm up to, but the course is quickly restored by the inspired use of tempo and echo to create the illusion of space-time dilation. Ultimately, it becomes one of the most interesting songs on the album.

 

“La Lavandera” is as simple and straightforward as a ballad can get. A traditional duet that sees vocalist and guitarist on equal footing, this gorgeous piece relies entirely on instinctive force and calculated frailty. Here more than anywhere else, the two musicians seem to have an almost otherworldly understanding of each other’s strengths. Parra’s incisive poetry serves to emphasize the raw, romantic interplay, making for another one of the album’s highlights.

 

Reminiscent of “Arriba Quemando El Sol”, the aggressive and visceral “Corazon Maldito” again shows Sofia unhinged, banging on her caja from amid a veritable wilfdfire of guitar effects. With unparalleled vigor and more than a hint of madness, the vocalist cries.

 

This introspective hymn increases in intensity, building up towards the record’s uncontested thematic centerpiece.

 

At almost fifteen minutes long, “El Gavilan” merits perhaps its own, separate review. Essentially documenting a person’s psychological breakdown, this story of love and betrayal is constructed almost like a play. With a method actor’s dedication, the vocalist brings to life a tortured character, running the gamut of emotion, from anxiety to sorrow, rage and, ultimately, delirium. This bipolar frenzy is aided by Marc’s dual use of his instrument. Its ominous, acoustic form builds up tension while the faded, electric effects allude to the character’s perceptible aura of madness.

 

This is a truly colossal work, a veritable study in storytelling and emotional expression by two of the best in the industry today. It’s a rare, unsettling and fascinating accomplishment that would have completely carried the record even on its own. As it stands, it’s a climactic conclusion to an unbelievable stellar recording.

 

The final track, a beautiful, pensive version of “Run Run se fue pa’l Norte” features Angel Parra on guitar. Sofia’s arrangement feels ethereal, ending a bleak story on an almost encouraging note. The words “y cuenta una aventura que paso a deletrear” (and speaks of an adventure that I now begin to spell out) signal the end of Violeta’s life and the beginning of her legend.

 

Often times, the enormous difference between Violeta’s organic, unrefined delivery and Sofia’s faultless, all-encompassing vocals leads to a sort of transcendent interpretation of the songs. By the very nature of her voice and the energy of her delivery, the vocalist has, in a way, liberated these songs from the bondage of their intrinsic emotional weight, preserving them in a timeless and boundless form.

 

Through this carefully crafted tribute, Sofia Rei manages to outdo herself, paying homage to her influences as she claims new territory. El Gavilan continues to add depth to one of the most interesting musical résumés of the last decade.

 
Source: The Music and The Myth
Author: cherascuandrei

Sofia Rei & Marc Ribot Pay Tribute To Violeta Parra On El Gavilán – The Latin Jazz Corner

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Vocalist Sofia Rei has spent many years exploring the outer edges of Latin Jazz, always eager to try new ideas. From the use of electronics in her music to thickly orchestrated layers of overdubbed vocals, Rei has taken her position as a leader into the exciting realm of the unknown. She has also collaborated with a number of musicians that often take the road less traveled, such as guitarist and experimental composer John Zorn and adventurous musical explorer Bobby McFerrin. While there’s always something new on the horizon with Rei, there’s one thing that grounds her music – she’s always kept one foot in traditional music and jazz.

 

Today’s video shows a sneak peek of Rei’s latest project – that once again references tradition while trying new things – El Gavilán (The Hawk). On the tradition front, this is an album dedicated to the legacy of singer, composer, poet, folklorist, and symbol of female courage, Violeta Parra. The creator of Chilean “New Song,” Parra is a strong piece of South American tradition, and a perfect inspirational figure from music from Rei. In terms of new ideas, Rei is taking this opportunity to collaborate with guitarist Marc Ribot, a musician with roots in jazz, rock, and experimental music. This combination of tradition and experimentation makes El Gavilán something to be excited about in 2017, as Rei shows us in this sneak peek video.

 
Source: The Latin Jazz Corner
Author: Chipboaz

The Singers of Mycale Blend Voices in Zorn’s ‘Book of Angels’ – The New York Times

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Author: Ben Ratliff
Source: The New York Times

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Mycale is — prepare yourself now for context — a four-woman vocal group brought together by John Zorn to perform original a cappella arrangements from “Book of Angels,” the second galaxy in his universe of succinct compositions collectively titled Masada, all of which use the so-called Jewish scales. (Among the many others who have recorded parts of “Book of Angels”: the guitarist Pat Metheny, the cellist Erik Friedlander, the guitarist Marc Ribot, the trio Medeski, Martin & Wood).

 

Mycale is Ayelet Rose Gottlieb, Sofia Rei, Sara Serpa and Malika Zarra — from Israeli, Argentine, Portuguese and Moroccan backgrounds — singing texts in Hebrew, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic, from the Hebrew Bible, Rumi, Fernando Pessoa, Heraclitus and elsewhere.

 

 

And the group’s second record, “Gomory: The Book of Angels, Vol. 25” (Tzadik), released in May, is astonishingly beautiful, a high point in the series: The singers’ individually rigorous tones and dispositions and arranging impulses surround the music and give it another dimension of originality; it sounds medieval and new at the same time.

 

They are in residence for a week at The Stone in the East Village, Tuesday to next Sunday, with sets at 8 and 10 p.m., performing with their own ensembles and various guests, and also as Mycale. (thestonenyc.com.)

 
Author: Ben Ratliff
Source: The New York Times

 

Sofía Rei Estrenará Composiciones de Zorn para Masada Book III – The Holy Filament

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Author: Francisco Javier Rodriguez

Source: The Holy Fillament

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Sofía Rei, la potente embajadora de la voz experimental de latinoamérica en el circuito internacional contemporáneo, sostiene un nutrido historial artístico que incluye 3 álbumes editados bajo su nombre, continuas giras por Europa, Norte y Sudamérica, y que paso a paso en la última década se ha transformado en el ícono vocal femenino de la esfera de música avanzada creada por el explosivo John Zorn. Este peculiar e interesantísimo submundo liderado por el compositor neoyorkino -y en el cual, por cierto, habitan un sinnúmero de músicos de renombre como Marc Ribot, Erik Friedlander y Joey Baron- se ha mantenido en constante expansión por medio de la interacción entre sus núcleos activos de composiciones para el Klezmer, Rock, Avant y los híbridos emergentes. Por sobre este ambiente, la atmósfera envolvente ha catalizado sin dudas la síntesis de proyectos en los cuales la cantante argentina -con base en Nueva York- ha brillado constantemente con luces propias. Demostrando en primera instancia con Mycale (el cuarteto de voces a capella que de paso este mes estrenó su segunda placa “The Book of Angels vol 25: Gomory“), posteriormente con la inclusión de letras para Song Project en el marco de la extensa gira Zorn @ 60, y actualmente con incursiones en Masada Book Three: The Book of Beriah.

 

En la antesala del estreno en vivo de múltiples composiciones para el tercer libro de Masada, conversamos con Sofía y su flamante compañero en cuerdas JC Maillard, quienes amablemente nos brindaron una serie de detalles acerca del futuro cercano de este nuevo trabajo.

 

Si bien nos enteramos sobre esta nueva serie para Masada por medio de aquella premiere en el Town Hall de Nueva York (que mostró 20 composiciones con la interpretación de 20 diferentes ensambles en Marzo de 2014), Sofía ahonda en la génesis de este nuevo desafío “Pasó que él (Zorn) nos pidió que hiciéramos un arreglo para una composición perteneciente a este nuevo libro de Masada para presentarlo en aquella maratón en Town Hall. La interpretamos junto a JC en formato dúo de saz y voz y el resultado le pareció muy bueno. Fue eso lo que gatilló en que Zorn tuviera el interés -y en definitiva la intención- de armar junto a nosotros un álbum completo con este material“.

 

Nota: Cabe destacar que The Book of Beriah es un libro mucho más pequeño que su antecesor Book of Angels, puesto que “sólo” contendrá 92-93 composiciones (a diferencia de las 300 del Book II), por tanto no todos los ensambles que estrenaron parte del material en aquella maratón de 2014 grabarán álbumes de la serie.

 

Sobre el grado de avance y la forma que tendrá el nuevo ábum, la dupla comenta que ya existe un set de nueve canciones que en términos de líricas y arreglos en saz ya están pulidas aunque se encuentran abiertas a la inclusión de detalles… “El disco tendrá esas nueve composiciones, quizás diez, en las cuales nos encontramos trabajando para darle la forma final. Veremos quién nos acompañará en las rítmicas, que probablemente tendrán batería y percusiones, además de decidir aquellos pequeños detalles complementarios a las capas vocales que se necesitan para dar el volumen final. Éstos podrían incluir fragmentos de cello, charango, guitarra u otro instrumento para la etapa de grabación del álbum que probablemente se llevará a cabo a fines del verano (hemisferio norte) en una sesión de uno o dos días de estudio“.

 

Acerca de los conceptos y la libertad de acción en la concepción del proyecto Rei ahonda al respecto “El nuevo libro sigue la línea de los ángeles y demonios que forman parte de la mitología y espiritualidad del mundo judeo-cristiano. John Zorn me entregó algunos conceptos y con ellos tuve que trabajar para inspirarme y componer. En consecuencia, el disco contendrá letras originales escritas por mí de manera íntegra que estarán plasmadas en estas canciones que de momento no tienen título. A diferencia de los trabajos anteriores que incluyeron poesía (Mycale) y música completamente arreglada (Song Project), esto es algo con una nueva dirección. En este proyecto se me ha hecho más cómodo trabajar desde cero, pues comprenderás que adaptar un texto para insertarlo en una melodía, o viceversa, puede tornarse sumamente complejo, no así cuando creas y compones en ausencia de estructuras que fuercen a llegar a un resultado predeterminado“. De manera complementaria Maillard indica “Es similar lo que ha ocurrido con la música. Existen líneas e ideas base que ofician de punto de partida en mi trabajo para este proyecto, el cual goza de la libertad de plasmar musicalmente mi propia percepción sobre aquellos conceptos, haciendo que el proceso fluya muy naturalmente“.

 

Apuntando a la retroalimentación por parte de Zorn hacia el conjunto de músicos que materializan sus obras, Sofia revela interesantes detalles que dan señas acerca del método empleado por el fundador de Tzadik Records “Él es un tipo que se caracteriza por observar en detalle a los artistas a su alrededor. Es capaz de identificar a aquellas personas que tienen una voz propia en lo que hacen y en consecuencia pone sus ojos en aquellos que ofrecen miradas frescas y renovadas. Así, delega su arte apostando a que el resultado tenga identidad propia sin la necesidad de intervenir continuamente en el proceso. John es de aquellos que en la fase final aprueban o desapueban, y lo hace sin especulaciones. Es por esto que lo que presentaremos el próximo Sábado 16 de Mayo será una especie de examen final en la síntesis de este proyecto (ver detalles del evento)”.

 

 

 

Recordamos que SofíaRei se encuentra haciendo una residencia en el club Subrosa (situado en el sector sur-poniente de Manhattan), la que está configurada con la presentación de diversos ítems del catálogo de la cantante argentina radicada en Nueva York, con una serie de presentaciones a lo largo del mes de Mayo, incluyendo el estreno del conjunto de composiciones de John Zorn para el tercer libro de Masada.

 

Author: Francisco Javier Rodriguez

Source: The Holy Fillament

Sofia Rei at Tiny Desk Concert – NPR Music

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Photo by John Poole/NPR

Source: NPR Music

A drum from the Argentine Pampas fuels the music of Sofia Rei in this video: The way Franco Pinna has it incorporated into a traditional drum set serves as a musical metaphor for the music Rei performs alongside Pinna and guitarist/bassist JC Maillard.

 

Rei carries the accent and spirit of her native Argentina in her jazz-infused vocals. She’s successfully carved out a spot for herself within a small and exclusive group of vocalists from Latin America who, after spending their formative years in their own countries, came to the U.S. to blend folklore, jazz and classic influences into singing that feels both familiar and new. For about 20 minutes one sunny afternoon, the NPR Music offices were converted into a small Latin American folk club, where Rei treated us to stellar musicianship and genre-bending music. Que les difruten!

 

SET LIST

 

  • “La Gallera”

  • “La Llorona”

  • “Todo Lo Perdido Reaparece”

 

CREDITS

Producers: Felix Contreras, Denise DeBelius;

Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait;

Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Gabriella Garcia-Pardo, Becky Harlan;

Photo by John Poole/NPR

Source: NPR Music

Sofía Rei: la voz que cruza el continente – Malaria Sonora

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Author: Oscar Adad

Source: Malaria Sonora

 

A pesar de que a la pequeña Sofía le fascinaba cantar, era muy tímida. Su talento la llevó a participar desde muy temprana edad en coros de niños en su natal Argentina, pero siempre buscaba esconderse entre sus compañeritos. Y ni de broma pensar en cantar sola en las reuniones familiares. Sus padres ya sabían que la respuesta de su hija ante tal petición sería un rotundo “NO”. Pero ella seguía cantando. A solas -cuando nadie podía escucharla-, en coros y donde podía. Nunca se imaginó que, años después, su nombre y su voz resonarían internacionalmente y se convertirían en referencia de la música latinoamericana actual.

 

Sofía Rei Koutsovitis es de origen griego y español, tiene 38 años. La timidez ha quedado muy atrás. Hoy es una mujer elocuente, se expresa con precisión y ríe de vez en cuando mientras charlamos. Y ni qué decir cuando sube al escenario. Sofía envuelve el espacio con su voz y seguridad en sí misma. Es compositora, arreglista y letrista de su proyecto en solitario con el cual ha grabado tres álbumes hasta la fecha: Ojalá (2006), Sube azul (2009) y De tierra y oro (2012), trabajos donde combina la sonoridad de diferentes músicas latinoamericanas, la improvisación y pinceladas de música electrónica.

 

 

 

Nuestra plática fluye entre recuerdos de la niñez y los orígenes migrantes de su familia. Su abuelo paterno era griego y tenía kioskos de golosinas, como la mayoría de los griegos en Argentina – relata-. Su abuelo materno nació en Santander y “un poco por la crisis después de la Primera Guerra Mundial y un poco porque era un personaje muy loco, decidió subirse a un barco sin saber a dónde iba. Terminó en Buenos Aires quién sabe cuántos miles de meses más tarde con la idea de que iba a recorrer el mundo. Tenía 16 años en ese momento, y creo que el viaje lo asustó lo suficiente como para no moverse nunca más ni del barrio, ni de la casa. Fue muy gracioso”, me cuenta.

 

Casualmente, fue por una de sus abuelas que la vida musical de Sofía empezaría a tomar un rumbo más claro. La señora encontró un anuncio en el diario donde avisaba de audiciones para el Coro de niños del Teatro Colón de Buenos Aires, una de las salas de ópera más importantes del mundo por sus cualidades acústicas y arquitectónicas. Sofía hizo la audición y logró un lugar. Su primer concierto fue en la sala principal, con orquesta y el coro polifónico. El coro cantó El Mesías, de Händel, y para ella fue un shock de adrenalina el hecho de ver la majestuosidad de la sala iluminada y de cantar en ella. Tenía tan sólo 9 años.

 

La carrera de Sofía, aunque corta en discografía, es sólida, y ha despertado admiración entre la crítica y los medios. Ha sido reconocida por la Jazz Journalist Association, la comunidad digital Latin Jazz Corner y los Independent Music Awards. Pero el resultado es consecuencia de una artista que ha trabajado profundamente. Nunca le han gustado las cosas sencillas.

 

Se sumergió de lleno en la música clásica y entró al Conservatorio Nacional a hacer la carrera como cantante lírica, la cual terminó. Quería ser capaz de resolver cualquier situación musical que se le presentara y en la música académica encontró el terreno idóneo para hacerlo. “Me interesaba como desafío de disciplina, de desarrollo técnico del instrumento, me interesaba muchísimo poder ser músico y resolver musicalmente cualquier situación”, afirma.

 

Sin embargo, la escuela también le causaba incomodidad. Sofía era muy inquieta y el conservatorio muy rígido. Un lugar donde –recuerda- era mal visto escuchar estilos musicales diferentes que no fueran los que se enseñaban ahí. Para ella era impactante estar en una escuela donde no había orquesta, coro y mucho menos gente tocando. Fue así que empezó a hacer audiciones en ensambles de diferentes géneros e involucrarse en la música contemporánea y, casi al mismo tiempo, llegó el estilo que se convertiría en uno de los pilares de su sonido: el jazz.

 

Tenía 19 años y, gracias a uno de sus profesores que tocaba jazz, escuchó el disco Play (1990), del pianista Chick Corea y el artista vocal Bobby McFerrin. “(Play) Me sorprendió muchísimo. No entendía nada de lo que estaba pasando, ni cómo este hombre (McFerrin) podía generar esa gama tan grande de sonidos y texturas con la voz”. Años después, la vocalista colaboraría con McFerrin en el proyecto Instant Opera, ópera improvisada basada en la historia de la Torre de Babel y que se presentó en el Carnegie Hall en 2008.

 

A partir de Play, el jazz, y sobre todo la improvisación, se convirtieron en su camino a seguir. Se hizo de una buena colección de discos y libros mientras aprendía de forma autodidacta. Y, a través del mismo profesor que le había dado el disco de Corea y McFerrin, fue que llegó a Charlie Banacos (1946-2009), uno de los maestros de mayor importancia en el mundo del jazz. Sólo que había un pequeño detalle: Sofía vivía en Argentina y Banacos en un bosque en Massachusetts. Pero eso no fue impedimento.

 

Sofía tomó por dos años clases por correspondencia. “Le mandé una carta, y él (Banacos) estaba muy feliz de saber que yo también era griega. Me dijo que le mandara una grabación y me aceptó”, recuerda con una sonrisa. Durante ese tiempo la relación maestro-alumna se centró en el envío de un cassette: él le grababa la clase y los ejercicios que tenía que hacer, y ella, puntualmente, caminaba al servicio postal y lo devolvía con el resultado. “Lo único que yo conocía de este hombre era su voz, nunca lo había visto, no había fotos de él en ningún lado. Recién arrancaba el tema del internet, pero él no tenía nada”.

 

La relación con su profesor a distancia no sólo le dejó aprendizaje musical. Gracias a sus consejos, conoció el prestigiado New England Conservatory de Boston, escuela donde hizo su maestría en jazz e improvisación y que significó su entrada a la música latinoamericana y al circuito estadounidense.

 

 

 

Boston ha sido llamada la “capital intelectual” de los Estados Unidos por su tradición literaria que data desde el siglo XIX y que continúa hasta la fecha por las prestigiadas universidades que se encuentran en la ciudad. Pero también, la música es parte muy importante de su movimiento cultural por sus orquestas, salas de concierto y dos de las más importantes escuelas de música del mundo: Berklee College of Music y New England Conservatory.

 

Boston no sólo fue la ciudad donde Sofía afinó sus conocimientos sobre el jazz y la improvisación, sino también donde se reencontró con la música latinoamericana y el idioma español. Recuerda que desde el conservatorio en Argentina cantaba en distintos idiomas, pero muy poco en el propio. Sin embargo, en Boston, una amiga suya, quien estaba muy interesada en la música brasileña, la invitó a realizar un recital con repertorio latinoamericano. Para la ocasión, Sofía hizo un arreglo del tema Ojalá, de Silvio Rodríguez. “Fue muy emocionante ese concierto. La canción la conocía desde los 15 años. Había una historia más allá de que me gustara la música, la armonía y la melodía; y había también el tema de la conexión, del cero estrés con respecto al texto porque cuando uno canta en otro idioma tiene que prestar mucho más atención a la pronunciación”.

 

Y agrega: “por más que el inglés lo considere un segundo idioma y no me genere ningún tipo de problema comunicarme, no es mío. Y está siempre ese pequeño estrés que no sentí al momento de cantar en español. Fue muy lindo porque la gente percibió lo mismo. Todo el mundo me vino a hablar de esa canción; que era mágico lo que se había generado. Y me dio mucho gusto volver a cantar en mi idioma porque hacía muchos años que no lo hacía”.

 

Casi al mismo tiempo, Rei formó un ensamble con su compañero de clase y quien se convertiría en su mano derecha hasta la actualidad, el bajista peruano Jorge Roeder. Con él, y con otro músico peruano que tocaba el cajón, formó un trío en el que interpretaban de manera más personal música de la cantante y compositora Chabuca Granda (1920-1983). “Me enamoré de esa música, me pareció algo tan crudo y sofisticado al mismo tiempo. Muy hermoso”, recuerda.

 

A partir de entonces, se involucró todavía más en la música afroperuana, hasta que, en 2005, decidió mudarse a Nueva York, la escena musical más competida del mundo y donde fue su encuentro definitivo con la música popular latinoamericana.

 

“Lo interesante de Nueva York –explica-, es que uno puede aprender con gente muy bestial de estilos muy específicos, que si uno estuviera en un lugar en Latinoamérica. No tendría ese acceso a tantos géneros tan locales que conviven amistosamente en una ciudad como ésta”.

 

Pero Nueva York, donde radica actualmente, también representó para la vocalista una ciudad en la que pudo desplegar sus habilidades en diferentes escenas musicales. Si uno revisa su trayectoria, sobresalen artistas de bagajes sonoros muy amplios con los que ha colaborado. Desde la compositora Maria Schneider, hasta el saxofonista e improvisador John Zorn. Mención aparte merece la participación que tuvo en Niña Dance, de Ljova Zhurbin, proyecto inspirado en los asesinatos y desapariciones sufridas por mujeres en Ciudad Juárez, México. La pieza fue comisionada por la Carnegie Hall Corporation en 2009. “Lo más codiciado para el músico neoyorkino es poder resolver rápidamente situaciones musicales. Estar listo, preparado, y resolver en distintos estilos”. explica.

 

“Es una ciudad donde la competencia es muy fuerte -continúa-, hay mucha gente intentando echar proyectos adelante, es una ciudad muy cara con un nivel de producción enorme, y puede llegar a ser apabullante. Esa sensación de actividad permanente, la sensación de que uno no puede bajarse de esta hiperactividad, pero al mismo tiempo es lo que te impulsa, eleva y te sigue llevando adelante”.

 

La música de Sofía Rei habla de las sonoridades de distintas regiones de Latinoamérica y el diálogo que existe entre ellas, ha pasado diez años de su vida estudiando y viajando para conocerlas de cerca, sin embargo, su visión de las músicas tradicionales no es para nada conservadora. “El folclor es flexible, no es algo estático ni conservado en formol. A mí no me interesa hacer música de museo, me interesa hacer música que tiene vigencia hoy y que tiene conexión conmigo y con mi entorno”.

 

Sofía eleva sutilmente el volumen de su voz cuando responde, quiere dejar muy clara su postura al respecto y ahonda en el tema. “Yo escuchaba punk rock, no crecí toda mi vida escuchando chacareras. Y eso es lo normal en un argentino de mi edad. Todo eso ya permeó nuestra personalidad musical desde hace muchos años y desconocerlo sería una forma de desconocer lo genuino del ser argentino, mexicano o latinoamericano hoy”, finaliza.

 

 

 

Author: Oscar Adad

Source: Malaria Sonora

Sofia Rei at Tiny Desk Concert – NPR Music

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Photo by John Poole/NPR

Source: NPR Music

 

A drum from the Argentine Pampas fuels the music of Sofia Rei in this video: The way Franco Pinna has it incorporated into a traditional drum set serves as a musical metaphor for the music Rei performs alongside Pinna and guitarist/bassist JC Maillard.

 

Rei carries the accent and spirit of her native Argentina in her jazz-infused vocals. She’s successfully carved out a spot for herself within a small and exclusive group of vocalists from Latin America who, after spending their formative years in their own countries, came to the U.S. to blend folklore, jazz and classic influences into singing that feels both familiar and new. For about 20 minutes one sunny afternoon, the NPR Music offices were converted into a small Latin American folk club, where Rei treated us to stellar musicianship and genre-bending music. Que les difruten!

 

SET LIST

 

  • “La Gallera”

  • “La Llorona”

  • “Todo Lo Perdido Reaparece”

 

CREDITS

Producers: Felix Contreras, Denise DeBelius;

Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait;

Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Gabriella Garcia-Pardo, Becky Harlan;

Photo by John Poole/NPR

Source: NPR Music

De Tierra y Oro (CD Review) – World Music Central

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Author: Angel Romero

Source: World Music Central 

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De Tierra y Oro (Cascabelera / Lilihouse Music LM012-CD, 2012)

 

I find that by the time you get to November, the number of interesting albums decreases rapidly, as labels schedule albums for the New Year. Sofia Rei’s new recording, titled De Tierra y Oro, which came out in late November, is a great late 2012 album that definitely deserves attention.

 

Although Argentina has produced many superb vocalists, the attention in recent years has focused on Peruvian vocalists. Sofia Rei, a world traveler and song researcher with a vibrant voice, demonstrates that she is one of the new talents in the Latin American scene.

 

Sofia Rei, who is currently based in New York City, has absorbed the traditional musics of her homeland and other South American countries and has added elements of jazz, electronics and global sounds to create a fascinating sound. She depicts De Tierra y Oro as a series of “philosophical wanderings.” She produced the album along with her longtime bassist and collaborator Jorge Roeder and co-producer Fabrice Dupont.

 

“A lot of these grooves are made up, they’re not necessarily preexisting styles of music,” says Rei. “In certain songs you can hear recognizable styles such as chacarera or huayno, but in other songs I’ve made up new grooves depending on the needs of the composition.”

 

Sofia Rei’s United States-based band includes Josh Deutsch (trumpet, flugelhorn), Eric Kurimski (acoustic guitar), Jorge Roeder (bass), Jean-Christophe Maillard (electric guitar), and Yayo Serka (drums).

 

De Tierra y Oro features overdubbed vocals, electric guitars, loops and drum machines as well as Andean charangos, Paraguayan harps, Colombian marimbas from the Pacific Coast, Argentine bombos, and Peruvian cajones.

 

The album’s themes include a cockfight in Cartagena (Colombia), a nightmare in Buenos Aires, a love letter in New York, a haunted man in the Andes, Rei’s version of Chavela Vargas’ classic ranchera ‘La Llorona.’

 

Sofia Rei describes some of the songs:

 

“I was in Cartagena [Colombia] and got invited by a boat captain to see what he called ‘the real Cartagena,’ where all the workers live, and to witness a cockfight. The song captures the feeling of being there: ‘My luck started in Boca Chica and got lost in the eyes of a captain. … The town lights up in the afternoon and in the spurs I can feel the fear that’s present…. The roosters are the only hope around here, to the ones that never had, never will, the ones that only lay claim to a small illusion.’”

 

‘Risa’ (Laugh) – “The song is kind of an ironic take on the traditional music from this area. A lot of the themes are about carnival season, and about how the devil presents itself, impersonated by somebody. The lyrics say ‘I have lost my laugh, it’s always hiding somewhere, and even if I looked for it I wouldn’t know where to go.‘”

 

‘La Llorona’ (The Weeping Woman) – “Chavela’s singing is raw, pure and haunting emotion, like a scream from the earth,” Rei says. “The song itself has about 20 possible verses – in Mexican music different interpreters would add their own verses, and they’d get passed around and added to. Of all the songs on the album, this was one of the least planned – we never had a written arrangement. The landó style we play it in has this sensual pulsation, very mysterious, pushing the groove forward and backward at the same time.”

 

The title track ‘De Tierra y Oro’ “is about all the contrasts you go through as a performer,” says Rei. “You have to incarnate all these different situations and feelings. That’s the idea of the whole record: through all these different moods and characters you inhabit when you’re performing, this very deep connection to the audience is born.”

 

“Arriba” (“Above”), the closing track is “dedicated to the idea of God,” Rei says. “I don’t know if I believe or not, but truth is that when hardship comes, I have to grab onto something.”

 

Guests on De Tierra y Oro include percussionists Facundo Guevara and Samuel Torres, Moroccan vocalist Malika Zarra, trumpeter Josh Deutsch, trombonist Ryan Keberle and harpist Celso Duarte.

 

 

 

Next concerts:

 

Monday, Jan 14 – New York, NY – Zinc Bar – APAP South America Showcase
Sunday, Jan 20 – New York, NY – Cornelia Street Cafe
Saturday, March 16 – New York, NY – Apollo Café

 

Buy De Tierra y Oro

 

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. He was also the executive producer of the first Latino feature film made in North Carolina titled “Los sueños de Angélica.”.

 

Source: World Music Central 

Sofia Rei – The Village Voice

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Author: Aidan Levy

Source: The Village Voice

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This leading light of Latin jazz had the most infectious smile at the 2012 Winter Jazzfest.

 

 

The Buenos Aires native infuses the traditional music of Argentina with edgy harmonies and odd time signatures, but even for the non-Spanish speaking, the warmth that goes into every syllable communicates it all. Cumbia,

 

The Buenos Aires native infuses the traditional music of Argentina with edgy harmonies and odd time signatures, but even for the non-Spanish speaking, the warmth that goes into every syllable communicates it all. Cumbia, currulao, fandango, and other rhythms of Colombia get special treatment here, but as a member of John Zorn’s multicultural vocal group, Mycale, this is only a starting point. Also, in a memorable segment, she taught Conan O’Brien how to drink mate, the Argentine national beverage. His response? “You’re like a dream.”

 

His response? “You’re like a dream.”

 

Author: Aidan Levy

Source: The Village Voice

Sofia Koutsovitis: OJALÁ – All About Jazz

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On her debut recording Ojalá, Argentinean singer Sofia Koutsovitis fuses several Latin American rhythms with a post-bop aesthetic to create a fresh and innovative sound. Koutsovitis belongs to a new generation of Latin musicians who in the last fifteen years or so, have created diverse blends of jazz styles with several South American musicians— enriching their language as they integrate different musical traditions.

 

Despite the long relationship between jazz and Latin music (some scholars trace the “Latin tinge to early expressions); Argentinean, Peruvian and other Latin rhythms are relatively new to the jazz vocabulary, since musicians have focused primarily on Afro-Caribbean and Brazilian styles.

 

On this record, Koutsovitis, a skillful singer in Spanish, English, and Portuguese, is knowledgeable of many folkloric musical traditions as well as jazz and experimental music idioms. She presents a balanced feel and leads an octet that performs sophisticated arrangements of her own compositions and songs by Argentinean, Brazilian and Cuban composers.Eclectic, exciting, and aesthetically coherent, the recording shows the many faces of Koutsovitis’ influences. The opening track “Ojalá”, (a song by Cuban Nueva trova icon Silvio Rodriguez), features an arrangement with a Peruvian festejo rhythm. Other rhythms include “Gatito e la penas” (gato), and “Alma del pueblo” (chacarera) in duo with bassist Jorge Roeder, and “La Nostalgiosa”, which has a strong Argentinean feel. “Gris”, “Danca da Solidao”, “You Don’t Know What Love Is”, and “El Silbador” feature Koutsovitis as a more straight-ahead singer, with the swing incorporating ethnic rhythms.

 

“Silence 1”, “Silence 2”, and “El Suicida” (based on the words by Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges) are more jazz oriented tracks featuring Koutsovitis as a more adventurous composer and singer playing with dissonances, rhythm changes, and her voice as an additional instrument of the ensemble.

 

Ojalá exemplifies the recent trends in Latin Jazz and Latin American music in general, and proves why Sofia Koutsovitis is one of the most versatile and in-demand singers in the New York music scene.

 

Track Listing: Ojala; Gatito e las Penas; Gris; Danca da Solidao; Silence 1; Silence 2; La Nostalgiosa; Alma del Pueblo; El Suicida; You Don’t Know What Love Is; El Silbador.

 

Personnel: Sofia Koutsovitis: vocals, arranger; Jason Palmer: trumper; Adam Schneit: alto saxophone, clarinet; Daniel Blake: tenor,soprano saxophone; Leo Genovese: piano; Jorge Roeder: bass; Richie Barshay: drums; Jorge Perez Albela: percussion; guests: Jamey Haddad: percussion; Reynaldo de Jesus: percussion; Felipe Salles: soprano saxophone.

 

 

Title: Ojala | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Self Produced

 

Source: All About Jazz

 

By Simon Calle
June 19, 2007

May272017

Spoleto 2017 Review: Sofia Rei – Art Mag

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“Of Earth and Gold” symbolizes the full range of emotions felt during a performance, specifically the melodies expressed during music. Last night, during the final performance by Sofía Rei of her Spoleto residency, the audience at the Simons Center Recital Hall at College of Charleston was entranced into each and every emotion within just an hour.

 

Sofía Rei doesn’t fit one particular mold but embodies South American folklore and melody, classical jazz, and eclectic sounds. Her quartet included Leo Genovese on piano, Jorge Roeder on the bass, and Franco Pinna on drums and percussion. Based in New York City by way of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Rei explores global music in a way that combines diverse genres to sound as if they have always belonged together.

 

Her sound is so ethereal —you feel immersed into the intimate setting as it flows throughout the theater. She named each song during her set, taking time to describe how each one came to fruition and the mood it leaves behind. Though sung entirely in Spanish, the audience was able to understand the meaning behind each ballad.

 

The performance flowed beautifully together as if one continuous song with different moods. What begins with “Carnival” in light and air folklore transposes into “The Fall,” which brings soulful and alternative electronic sounds.

 

One inspired song about the myth of the crying woman, a classic Mexican melody with many versions, was transformed by Rei to fit her South American sound. It opened with a solo from cello and bass player Jorge Roeder, slowly building the mysterious and idiomatic tempo until each musician layered in their part.

 

Many of their songs played out as such, making room for exploration of vocal and musical sound as each gave time for the other to be the solo. You could feel how essential each member is to the whole. The joy for each other showed visible on their faces as each performed, coming from a deep place of mutual trust.

 

Rei described their last song, “The Willow Tree,” as the potential for finding true love. The tune was hopeful and curious, perhaps the way potentially finding love feels, which kept the audience completely attentive. Sofía Rei’s unique sound and harmony leaves the listener wanting to take in every note slowly while simultaneously wanting to jump out their chair in dance.

 
Source: ART MAG
Author: Emily Reyna

Singer Sofia Rei pushes vocal boundaries – Charleston City Paper

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Calling Argentinian songwriter Sofia Rei, well… a songwriter is only part of the truth. Yeah, she’s a songwriter, but also a performer, an experimentalist, and an engineer. She spent the better part of her May 27 set at the Simons Center Recital Hall showing off her virtuosic vocals, strong knack for laying out sheets of sound, and her ability to run circles around a set of loop pedals.

 

The Recital Hall has a relatively large stage, so it looked sparse when Sofia Rei took the spotlight. The setup consisted of a keyboard and piano, both tucked away to one side. Huddled together in the middle of the stage were a series of effect pedals, a microphone, and a charango. The Argentinian songwriter patiently began fiddling with the pedal board among a dead quiet. Then she proceeded to musically tell all backing bands to back off, with a series of layered songs that sounded like they had an orchestra behind them.

 

Rei’s extensive use of loop pedals paid off in a big way. It’s easy to get lost in her music. Utilizing reverb, reverse and delay effects, she created a landscape in her live performance. Her on-stage experimentation and improvisation rewarded people willing to give it their full attention. And because there were so many variables in place, it was easy to see why a second viewing would be worth it. While her studio music is good, it doesn’t live up to the picture she paints in a live setting. The loop pedals limit the instrumentation she has and force Rei to be as creative and dynamic as possible.

 

Rei used her vocal chords to take care of all bass and percussion herself. No drum kit or 808 was needed thanks to her ability to audibly mimic a well trained drummer.

 

The set did not include too many big production values to speak of, except for an aggressive (and purposeful) blinking light fit in the middle of her paranoid penultimate song. Then again, this isn’t Laser Zeppelin. The lack of a big production spectacle helped Rei’s claim at the beginning of her set that she’s “just one girl recording and having fun on stage.”

 

It’s exciting to see what Rei is capable of by herself, so when collaborator and keyboardist Leo Genovese came out on stage to play a handful of songs, it only added to the electricity in the auditorium. Genovese complemented Rei’s controlled, powerful singing with a jazz piano that threw the rule book into a furnace. It was free as air and, amidst all the chaos, it was clear that he had a plan. Genovese’s keyboard attack hiked up the experimental overtones of the performance and raised a question that I couldn’t shake for the rest of the set. If this is what Rei does with one or two people on stage, what’s she capable of when a full band is with her? A quick Youtube search could answer it, but that’s no fun — especially when she’s performing with her quartet on May 30.

 

Admittedly, I’m always hungry for musical experimentation, so I was hooked almost immediately. But, I can see how some people would think the heavy use of effects hinders Rei’s gorgeous vocals. She’s got perfect pitch and knows how to exploit every strength in her voice, and an overreliance on pedals could be seen as halting the natural beauty her voice is capable of. But, where else (especially at Spoleto) are you going to hear someone seamlessly and effortlessly stepping over borders like Rei is?

 
Source: Charleston City Paper
Author:Heath Ellison

Sofia Rei: A world’s worth of rhythm and song – The Post and Courier

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Listeners can expect the unexpected during Sofa Rei’s six Spoleto Festival performances. Depending on the day, audiences might witness a full octet, a stripped-down drums/guitar/vocal trio or any variation in between. The constant will be Rei’s fusion of jazz, traditional Latin American folk music and electronic music.

 

Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Rei began singing at age 9 in a local children’s choir. While she appreciated the classical education of her youth, she soon became interested in exploring new forms.

 

“I love classical music, but I didn’t want to be restricted to that world,” Rei said. “At ?rst, I wanted to be a professional opera singer, but it felt narrow-minded and limiting.” She started branching out in high school, including some dabbling in punk rock, but it was her exposure to jazz that sent her in a new musical direction. In 2001, Rei moved to Boston, where she later graduated from the New England Conservatory with a master’s in jazz and improvisation.

 

“I moved to America to learn,” she said. “I did not start writing my own music until I moved to the U.S. At that point I was more of a singer than a composer.” With the help of her frequent collaborators, she began writing original compositions anchored by traditional folk drums and her soaring vocals.

 

“She has this pan-Latina voice that is such an important part of the African diaspora,” said jazz vocalist Dominque Eade, who taught Rei at the New England Conservatory. “She knows the history and has a deep respect for the traditions. She’s not ignoring it while innovating. She brings things in for a reason”.

 

Rei’s debut album, “Ojalá,” was well received by critics and public alike, but it was not until “Sube Azul” in 2009 that her true sound emerged. She ?oated nimbly over the 12 tracks, weaving a tapestry of ethereal melodies over heavy rhythms, steeped in the folkloric traditions of South America.

 

She described her follow-up album, 2012’s “De Tierra y Oro,” as a series of “philosophical wanderings.” These wanderings incorporated more electronic elements, including heavy layered vocals, drum loops and electric guitars.

 

This fine line between tradition and experimentation surfaces again in her latest album, “El Gavilán,” a tribute to the Chilean folk artist Violeta Parra. Built around vocal loops, this album features a more political Rei addressing civil rights and the effects of geopolitics.

 

Rei continues in the tradition of Parra as an educator, having worked with the New York Jazz Academy for the past eight years. “No matter what style she’s teaching, she digs deep and really helps each vocalist reach full potential,” said Javier Arrau, the academy’s founder and executive director. “Her breadth of expertise is also incredibly rich, and she moves seamlessly from Latin American to classic jazz to modern jazz and many other genres.” These genres and many others continuously pop up in Rei’s own music.

 

“It’s successful when there’s a genuine blend of styles, when it’s not imposed but organic,” she said. “The challenge is to keep the traditional grooves alive, but to not lose the flexibility and spontaneity.” That spontaneity will be on full display throughout Rei’s six different Spoleto sets. Each will feature its own unique set and structure, setting the stage for a series of performances that live in that moment — and only that moment.

 
Source: The Post and Courier
Author: Christian Beltz

May272017

Sofia Rei: A world’s worth of rhythm and song – The Post and Courier

Featured ArticlesNewsReviews

Listeners can expect the unexpected during Sofa Rei’s six Spoleto Festival performances. Depending on the day, audiences might witness a full octet, a stripped-down drums/guitar/vocal trio or any variation in between. The constant will be Rei’s fusion of jazz, traditional Latin American folk music and electronic music.

 

Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Rei began singing at age 9 in a local children’s choir. While she appreciated the classical education of her youth, she soon became interested in exploring new forms.

 

“I love classical music, but I didn’t want to be restricted to that world,” Rei said. “At ?rst, I wanted to be a professional opera singer, but it felt narrow-minded and limiting.” She started branching out in high school, including some dabbling in punk rock, but it was her exposure to jazz that sent her in a new musical direction. In 2001, Rei moved to Boston, where she later graduated from the New England Conservatory with a master’s in jazz and improvisation.

 

“I moved to America to learn,” she said. “I did not start writing my own music until I moved to the U.S. At that point I was more of a singer than a composer.” With the help of her frequent collaborators, she began writing original compositions anchored by traditional folk drums and her soaring vocals.

 

“She has this pan-Latina voice that is such an important part of the African diaspora,” said jazz vocalist Dominque Eade, who taught Rei at the New England Conservatory. “She knows the history and has a deep respect for the traditions. She’s not ignoring it while innovating. She brings things in for a reason”.

 

Rei’s debut album, “Ojalá,” was well received by critics and public alike, but it was not until “Sube Azul” in 2009 that her true sound emerged. She ?oated nimbly over the 12 tracks, weaving a tapestry of ethereal melodies over heavy rhythms, steeped in the folkloric traditions of South America.

 

She described her follow-up album, 2012’s “De Tierra y Oro,” as a series of “philosophical wanderings.” These wanderings incorporated more electronic elements, including heavy layered vocals, drum loops and electric guitars.

 

This fine line between tradition and experimentation surfaces again in her latest album, “El Gavilán,” a tribute to the Chilean folk artist Violeta Parra. Built around vocal loops, this album features a more political Rei addressing civil rights and the effects of geopolitics.

 

Rei continues in the tradition of Parra as an educator, having worked with the New York Jazz Academy for the past eight years. “No matter what style she’s teaching, she digs deep and really helps each vocalist reach full potential,” said Javier Arrau, the academy’s founder and executive director. “Her breadth of expertise is also incredibly rich, and she moves seamlessly from Latin American to classic jazz to modern jazz and many other genres.” These genres and many others continuously pop up in Rei’s own music.

 

“It’s successful when there’s a genuine blend of styles, when it’s not imposed but organic,” she said. “The challenge is to keep the traditional grooves alive, but to not lose the flexibility and spontaneity.” That spontaneity will be on full display throughout Rei’s six different Spoleto sets. Each will feature its own unique set and structure, setting the stage for a series of performances that live in that moment — and only that moment.

 
Source: The Post and Courier
Author: Christian Beltz

Sofía Rei’s music pulls from sounds found all over the globe – Charleston City Paper

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Sofía Rei is a musical drifter. Ever since her first album Ojalá was released in 2006, the Argentinian jazz vocalist has pushed her boundaries time and time again. And her ability to experiment, while still holding on to her past, is a critical part of her sound.

 

It’s represented no better than on her newest work El Gavilán. And, while the album is a tribute to Chilean songwriter and activist Violeta Parra, all of Parra’s songs have been reworked to fit Rei’s style. When looking at it next to her first album, it’s initially confusing to see how they’re related. Ojalá has the music of a hidden gem in the Miles Davis back catalogue. Its horn section and piano parts have enough subtle livelihood to compliment Rei’s bouncing South American poetry. El Gavilán, on the other hand features a much more adventurous personality. The horns have become less prominent and have been replaced by an army of loop pedals. While the first album is more of a twist on traditionalism, the latest is a fascinating listen that leans on guitar effects and Rei’s strengths as a vocalist.

 

Sure, point A and B look pretty different, but listening to the albums in between her first and last show a pretty clear trajectory. Her second album Sube Azul is a depiction of Rei’s music in flux. Songs like “Cardo O Ceniza” use a jazz form in their rhythm sections, but don’t stick to a lot of the same musicality. A very strong Latin influence and a new focus on ambience both complement Rei’s range as a singer.

 

In many ways, the album represents a change in Rei as a person. While she initially resisted playing music that reflected her Argentinian heritage, the songwriter began to change the way she viewed South American music while spending time in her new home of New York. “When you are abroad, you develop a sense of longing for your culture,” says Rei. “I felt more connected being outside Argentina to Latin American culture.” It also led to her use of varied South American musical cues and instruments, instead of only Argentine music. “[In New York], there are so many people from different countries of Latin America, from different parts of Latin America that showed me their traditional music.”

 

Rei continued down that path on her third album De Tierra y Oro. The album lays down countless layers of worldly instruments, each speaking their own native tongue. It features Bolivian charangos, Columbian marimbas, and Argentine bombos among the usual suspects like guitars and drum pads.

 

Despite what some people may think when listening to her later music, Rei is not rejecting the jazz influence that was so present in her early music. Through some musical philosophizing, Rei claims that it’s the opposite. “I think jazz is more like a way of making music,” says Rei. “In that sense, there is this idea of exploration that’s always present in making the music, but also in performing the music.”

 

Not only does she live up to that adventurous personality on her newest album, but also in her live performances. “I moved to the U.S. originally with the purpose of studying jazz improvisation. Mainly I was very interested in what I could develop as a vocalist,” Rei says. Her personality shines in her performances. Rei shows off the power in her voice with animated and dynamic renditions of her studio music and is clearly having the time of her life on stage. Her improvisation never takes over the song, though, making live sets a perfect meeting place for both newcomers and dedicated fans.

 

Despite having only four albums, Rei’s a bit of a workaholic. She’s been touring since 2012 in both her sextet and in a trio. In addition to her solo work, she has performed in a group called Mycale with composer John Zorn and vocalists Ayelet Rose Gottlieb, Sara Serpa, and Malika Zarra. And even though El Gavilán was just released, Rei is ready to record her fifth album. “It’ll happen eventually.”

 

Sofia Rei has a handful of Spoleto shows scheduled and each will be a different shade of the artist. Her first night will be heavy on loop pedals as she plays original material that explores her abilities as a vocalist. Rei’s fourth and fifth performances will be tributes to Cuchi Leguizamón and Violeta Parra, respectively. Her final performance at the festival will be with her quartet consisting of Leo Genovese, Jorge Roeder, and Franco Pinna.

 
Source: Charleston City Paper
Author: Heath Ellison