News and Links
April - Seattle & Sevilla:
We recently finished a 2 week intensive workshop (called 'summits' at the Northwest School) on music and culture in Latin American. Here's Monica Rojas teaching students about Afro-Peruvian music during our summit:
Then I went to Sevilla to meet our partner school. Here's a clip of a psycheldelic flamenco duo I caught at Cafe La Habanilla. Recognize the song?:
Cumbieros play tonight with Mariachi Flor de Toloache (they're amazing!) at Nectar and again for Solstice on June 22 during the day.
July - Seattle & Colombia:
Check out the new Language of Music Project Interview with Sebastián from Caracas.
Next Cumbieros show Aug. 11 at The Seamonster, 7-9pm.
I had an exciting trip to Colombia where I saw a variety of great music. Bogotá for one, has an ample music landscape with shows ranging from traditional folk/cumbia of the Carribean coast, to intellectual and experimental jazz/rock/avante-garde, to electronic music with tropical influences. And I saw one of the best salsa bands I've ever seen at Son Havana, a local club in Medellín. Probably the most intriguing venue for me was Matik-Matik, a small cultural center in Bogotá, where I saw Gina Savino (voice) & Holman Alvarez (piano) play 'Canciones,' takes on Spanish, English, and Portuguese standards with experimental sound palettes and arrangements including electronic vocal effects. Here's a video of Gina Savino that will give you some idea:
March/April - La Habana, Cuba, Seattle:
Cumbieros album release show Apr. 19th at Nectar. Details here. You can check out our third album here.
Got back recently from a great trip to Cuba with 16 juniors and seniors from my school. It was a whirlwind of a trip and we saw and learned a lot. We saw a lot of music in different places, including this Son group on the street a few students actually jammed with and danced to:
December - Seattle
I'm always thinking about the next song we're going to sing in my Spanish 1 class. Here's an idea I got from watching the show 'Celia' about Cuban salsa singer Celia Cruz, "Que corto es el amor" (at 2:05):
Next Cumbieros show Feb. 17th at Nectar. Info Here. We're working on a new album that we'll record in February when Cesar is here from Chile. Excited to get back into the studio with the band!
July - Beijing, China:
Check out Heike Kagler's music and new Language of Music Project interview.
My vacation to China involved seeing a lot of live music. Beijing has a pretty happening and diverse music scene, including a lot of good indie and progessive rock. Dusk Dawn Club was probably my favorite venue (although there are many!). Here's Su Zixu and company (guitar, vocals, cello, Indian tabla, and flamenco dancer) at Yue Space:
In another vein, here's a a great latin/salsa band (albeit no horns) I saw at Modernista:
May 2 - Seattle
All of my current groups have upcoming shows:
Cumbieros w/ Moon Hooch @ Nectar, May 5 Event Here.
SPG and the Vices @ the Tractor, May 13 Event Here.
Mix Tape (Acappella) @ Cafe Racer, May 18 Event Here.
As always, I've been thinking about different ways to bring music into my language classes. Here's a really interesting TED talk by Uruguayan musician Jorge Drexler about the mixture of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam that underpins Hispanic culture and music. Fascinating. (Sorry I couldn't find an English translation but you could try Youtube's auto-translate...)
Jan. 28 - Seattle
Great Cumbieros show with Banda Magda last night at the Royal Room. The band has been changing and mutating a little recently and we are as tight, exciting, and danceable as ever. Next Cumbieros show on Feb. 25 at Nectar. Event Here.
December 21 - Seattle:
It's the holiday season! Pick up my Spain album for that special someone (or yourself). Or if you see me in person and mention it, I'll probably just give you one for free.
My accapella group (below) is officially named: Mix Tape (or Mixed Ape?). Now we just need an internet presence. We've been singing holiday tunes and others like this classic - Seasons of Love.
SPG and the Vices play Jan. 5 at the Tractor.
The Cumbieros play Jan. 27 at The Royal Room with the inspiring Banda Magda
The Cumbieros also play Feb. 25 at Nectar.
August 19 - Seattle:
NOCHE EN LA MEZQUITA, the short album from my time in Spain, is finally done and (more or less) officially released. Buy it or listen online with unlimited streaming. I'd like to do a release show but will need to put together a whole new band as all of the original musicians live in Spain or other countries.
Show with Stefan Paul George on Friday, August 27th at Stone Way Cafe. I'll be playing a little drums :). SPG and the Vices play Sept. 10th at the White River Hops and Crops Festival, Sept. 16th at The Fremont Abbey, and Sept. 17th in Yakima. The Cumbieros will be back at it on Oct. 27th at Nectar and Oct. 28th at the Bellevue Art Museum.
July 7 - Seattle
Seattle summers are the best! I just bought a MicroKorg! Catch SPG and the Vices with some MicroKorg synth madness at Capitol Hill Block Party on Sunday 7/24, and at The Tractor Tavern on Friday 7/29.
I've been working on some acapella SATB covers with friends Scotty, Elan, and Kenzie. We will hopefully debut on a street corner near you (or in the Capitol Hill/Seattle U area) sometime around the end of July. Here's one pop gem we're doing.
The Cumbieros are taking a performing break for the summer but will be back in action in the fall.
March 19 - Seattle
The Stefan Paul George and the Vices album is finished, on our bandcamp here. Release show tonight! at Barboza in Capitol Hill.
Come see the Cumbieros with César back from Chile on April 15th at Club Sur in Sodo.
Feb. 9 - Seattle (reminiscing about Spain and Chile)
The title track (above) to the EP I recorded in Spain is finally finished and it sounds great! I'm now very close to being able to put out the whole EP. Mil gracias a Manu y Matheus (el trio), Alvaro DeCé (el rapero, poeta extraordinaire), y David Boman for the pro mixing.
Also, don't miss me with the Cumbieros TONIGHT at Nectar and/or Feb. 19th at the Royal Room.
Jan. 9 - Seattle
I'm playing several fun upcoming shows. The Vices (folk-rock) hit Nuemo's on Jan 23rd. Then, the Cumbieros will be back in action in February for two shows, one at Nectar on the 9th and one at probably our favorite venue, the Royal Room, on Saturday, Feb. 19. See you there!
12/7 - Seattle
The Vices (above) show at Barboza was a big success. Hurray for great crowd participation! Out next show is January 23rd at the one and only NUEMO's and we're gunning to release a new album before then.
I'm working on some classic cumbia, bossa nova, and Buena Vista Social Club tunes with a latin trio. Hopefully we'll pick up some gigs soon.
The Cumbieros will be back in full partying form when Cesar visits from Chile in February. Shows are tentatively Feb. 9th at Nectar for Mardi Gras and Feb. 19th at the Royal Room.
I've also been singing some traditional Christmas songs SATB with some friends for fun. Anybody know some informal place we could gig? Maybe we'll go door to door...
10/25 - Seattle
Cumbia + Nirvana. Impossible you say??? Check this out. The Cumbieros have our own live version in the works.
10/11 - Seattle
Hot damn I love music! Been making moves with SPG and the Vices. We've got upcoming shows at the Tractor Tavern on Oct. 21 and Barboza on Nov. 28. Come kick it!
The Cumbieros are working on getting things together to play shows again with a new singer hopefully very soon.
I'm also excited to catch a few shows at the Earshot Jazz Festival.
8/17 - Budapest, Vienna, Germany, and back to Seattle
I'm back in Seattle! Who wants to play some music??
One of my last stops in Europe was Munich. Check out this impressive accordion rendition of Bach's famous Toccata and Fugue I ran into in the street.
7/25 - Naples, Italy,
Buongiorno! The other day I took a walk around downtown Naples and stumbled upon a great jazz quartet concert in the medieval castle. Beautiful setting and tasty music - Roberto Gatto.
7/18 - Sevilla, Jaen, Spain
My EP from Spain is basically finished (except for the poetry/rap section for one song that I still have to finalize). Here are a couple of the tracks. I'll put up the whole thing on Bandcamp when it's completely finished. Many thanks to the musicians, Mateus, Cherie, Luis, and Nacho, and especially Manu who killed it on drums AND recorded and mixed everything.
My last show with all the chicos (and chicas) from The Washing Machines (Funk group from Cordoba) was at the awesome Imaginafunk Festival Imaginafunk Festival in the Mountains of Jaen, Andalucia. It was a beautiful location, we saw some world-class acts (Fred Wesley, Myles Sanko, etc.), and we won the battle of the bands, which means the band will be playing in the festival on the main stage with a full contract next year. Here's a video from our show.
Bandón para abrir la final del Concurso Nacional de Bandas de Música Negra Imágina Funk 2015! Ellos son twm TWM Collective! #funk #JaénEnJulioPosted by Imágina Funk on Friday, July 10, 2015
And here's a picture from the Noumoucounda Cissoko concert, an electric kora player that put on a great show.
6/24 - Sevilla,
I'm about to leave Spain for now. As sort of a culmination, I'm recording an 'EP' of 6 songs, mostly originals, that all have something to do with my time here. The musicians on the recording are awesome and I'm excited for the final product. Here's an un-mixed sneak peak of "Noche en la Mezquita," the first track.
And here's Cherie and Manu (drums and sound tech) preparing to record vocals for my hip-hop-ish arrangement of "Summertime."
4/28 - Sevilla, Pozoblanco,
The Washing Machines liándola en la Fiesta de la Primavera.Posted by EVENTUARTE on Saturday, April 25, 2015
Playing with The Washing Machines in Pozoblanco this past Saturday was a blast. The video above is from the show. We're hoping to get a few more gigs in the coming months, maybe even on the southern coast of Spain. Stay tuned here - The Washing Machines Collective
Cherie and Clarke are still making it happen, although our regular gig on Calle Betis in Sevilla may have ended for the time being. I'm also working on putting together a couple of my own songs (perhaps a full 'EP') to record here in Sevilla before the school year is over, including a re-harmonized version of the classic Summertime and a studio version of what's become my personal 'standard,' Woodle.
3/31 - Sevilla,
It's 'Semana Santa' (Holy Week) and Sevilla hosts possibly the largest, most extravagant celebration in the world. For 10 days the streets all filled with processions and spectators. A procession usually has two marching bands, a more orchestral band with woodwinds, brass, percussion, etc. and a brass and percussion only band. Here's a recording of one of the brass/percussion bands I stumbled across.
Last friday I visited Pozoblanco, the town I lived in last year, to help play and sing 'La Pasion.' It's a traditional piece of music that small groups in the town go door to door singing each Friday night of Lent in exchange for drinks and pastries. The first time I did it last year has become one of my favorite memories in Spain because it's something musical that's very Spanish and unique to Pozoblanco. Here's a recording from this year. I'm playing the melodica (accordion-sounding instrument).
On Thursday I'm headed for Barcelona for a few days. I don't have much for plans but my roommate's girlfriend is singing in a contemporary flamenco show that I will likely check out one of the nights. I'm also currently practicing with friends from last year The Washing Machines to play a big outdoor show in Pozoblanco on April 25.
3/2 - Sevilla,
Cherie and Clarke are still going strong at Bourbon Street in Sevilla every Saturday afternoon from 6 to 9. We've started branching out and scheduled gigs in some other venues in the upcoming weeks including one at Casa de Max on March 20. We're also working on some originals!
Over the past couple weeks I've seen a number of great musical performances here in Andalucia. The most formal was the Motis Chamorro Big Band at Teatro Lope de Vega in Sevilla. Then while in Cordoba this past week, I stumbled across a small group of buskers playing Galician folk music complete with Gaita (bagpipes). Here's a nice example of Galician Gaita.
The Cumbieros album has been officially released! Here's the track I wrote from the album - El Perro
2/2 - Sevilla, Seattle,
The new Cumbieros album is finished! It includes almost entirely original songs, including one written by... me! I recorded keyboard tracks for the album here in Spain and sent them back to Seattle. The album isn't officially released yet, but here's a teaser of the album artwork. The official release is Febuary 21st at the Royal Room in Seattle. Unfortunately, I won't be around, but you should go anyways; it's always fun, danceable music.
I'll be playing in Sevilla with my quartet from Cordoba (finally!) on February 13th (and posibly 14th) and in Dos Hermanas on Feburary 15th. Details to come soon.
Check out the hip-hop based app for learning English my buddies Peter and Vicken put together. I'm a strong proponent of using music to help learn a language and this project really takes that concept to heart. Towns & Cities: Hip-Hop English.
1/26 - Sevilla,
Yesterday I met up with Tero (of Wide Alive), a friend and electronic musician, to get started on a collaboration. We laid down a few things for a possible joint track, but mostly talked about music and exchanged music we're currently listening to. It's always refreshing to chat and work with a dedicated, talented musician that comes from a different approach to music than you do. I'm excited to see what comes of the collaboration.
This week Cherie and Clarke will be playing again on Saturday and possibly Sunday. I'm also going to start practicing with a Soul band, a quartet without guitar which I'm excited for becuase it's something I don't get to do very often. On Thursday and Friday I'll be in Cordoba to check out this year's rendition of La Panacea, comparsa de carnaval from Pozoblanco and a concert with Second, a Spanish rock band.
1/19 - Sevilla,
Feliz año! I'll be playing with Cherie this Saturday and Sunday. We play classic jazz, soul, and mo-town and are starting to explore the possibility of original material as well, including this R&B jam I wrote and started recording with Ray Dalton several years ago - For you, I do.
12/16 - Sevilla,
I'm off to England for a spell on Sunday but I'll be playing one more show before I go - jazz standards and the like with Juanma Dominguez in Córdoba on Saturday. Os esperamos!
Last night I went to Casa de Max, a sort of 'speakeasy' venue here in my neighborhood of Sevilla. It's an awesome place and I hope to be back. My jazz quartet, 'Groovin' High' may play there in February.
12/13 - Sevilla, Córdoba
It's been a very musical December. For one, my quartet from Córdoba from last year, newly dubbed 'Groovin' High', is active again. We have a show tonight at La Barberia XIII in Cordoba where we'll be playing a mix of originals and modern arrangements of jazz classics.
Cherie and Clarke have a weekly Friday gig now at bar 'Bourbon Street' on the river in Sevilla. Here's one of our promo photos. We have good fun ;)
11/19 - Sevilla
Getting creative with my quartet from Cordoba on our new demo! A Night in Tunisia a la Funk, Ladybird meets Super Mario, and Bemsha Swing in 7.
Did you know my dad plays music too? He's in a band that plays classic oldies rock and they have a new single dedicated to the Seahawks - Over the Line.
11/14 - Sevilla
On Monday I went to a workshop put on by Sevillan Rapper Zatu of SFDK. The dude is super cool and personable and has some views on the importance of spontaneity and honesty in music that really struck a chord for me. He also talked about navegating the various accents in the Spanish world in his music to be able to be understood everywhere but also stay true to where he's from - also very relevant to my experience with language. The workshop reminded me that I'd like to do some music here in Sevilla that mixes rap and other genres.
I performed on Tuesday with Cherie (our 'jazz duo') at a local open mic, so we have videos now on our promo page! Here's one of them:
On Saturday I'm going to Cordoba to practice with the erroneously dubbed "Clarke Reid Quarter" from last year so we can hopefully get more gigs in Cordoba in the coming months.
11/9 - Sevilla
Yesterday we made 25 euros in a little over an hour busking in the street in Sevilla. Not bad. And most importantly, it was fun! We'll definitely be back. The busking group includes ukulele, banjo, and vocals and we play American pop/rock like CCR and Motown hits. The picture is from the first time we went a couple weeks ago. I'm also working on a jazz duo with the singer. We'll hopefully be picking up some gigs here in Sevilla soon. Here's our promotional website.
10/28 - Sevilla
The public school where I teach in Sevilla has bilingual music classes, which means I get to help teach music this year! It's good fun, and the teacher is very collaborative, so we can do a lot of different things. Last week, we talked about Gregorian Chant, an important precursor to classical music. Gregorian Chant is different from most music we're used to because the rhythm is not steady; It's determined by the rhythmic cadence of the words, with some artistic liberties. Here's an example. Later I had a discussion with the teacher about how rap is sort of like that, but not really, because usually the lyrics conform to the beat, not the other way around. I guess some rap has a little of both, like This one by Lateef & Z-Trip. This is an example of creative territory I think rap could cover more in the future.
Speaking of connections between rap and other disparate genres, check out this awesome colab we unfortunately managed to miss in Sevilla (presumably?) the same night we saw 'Boots' with The Coup in concert.
10/19 - Sevilla
I'm mostly settled in now in Sevilla and I've seen a lot of great music recently. I went to a few concerts that were part of the Flamenco festival here, including one with ProscritosDF, a modern flamenco duo that mixes acoustic instrumentation with electronic elements and creative vocals. From the show:
I also found a cool local venue right by my house that hosts a weekly open-mic and other mostly guitar and vocal oriented shows. La Sala:
As for playing, I'm mostly still working on putting things together. I'm playing jazz standards with friend and guitar player Luis and looking for shows. I also started jamming on American pop and rock songs with other English teachers (vocals, ukulele, and banjo) and just yesterday we tried busking in the street for the first time. We're getting organized and planning on making this a regular, well rehearsed thing. More info and media to come.
9/19 - Andalucia, Spain
I'll be getting in to Sevilla in a couple hours and I'm excited to start another year of teaching, music, and fun in Southern Spain. One thing I'd really like to do is put together a trio or quartet that plays jazz-oriented tunes composed by the group. Here's one I wrote recently, Mezquita Thing, that has Spanish, hip-hop, and straight-ahead jazz standard influences. Now, to get the group together...
9/9 - Seattle
Cumbieros this Friday at the Triple Door Musicquarium Lounge! Facebook Event for more info.
I'm also getting excited and prepared to head back to Spain on Sept. 18. One of the first things I'll do is go see David Peña Dorantes at La Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla.
8/5 - Seattle
The video for my latest Language of Music Project Interview, filmed, edited, and produced by Carolina Reid is finished! Presentamos: LA MUSICA DE CARNAVAL EN ANDALUCIA - LA PANACEA:
You can also check out the related interview with Jose Luis Ballesteros Galindo at The Language of Music Project.
I'm enjoying a beautiful summer here in Seattle while playing with the Cumbieros and preparing to return to Spain in September.
Upcoming Cumbieros shows:
Thursday, Aug. 7: Vashon Island Concerts in the Park, 7pm - 9pm
Friday, Sept. 5: Nectar, with Las Cafeteras
Friday, Sept. 12: Musicquarium Lounge at The Triple Door
6/9 - Pozoblanco, Spain
My last week in Spain saw the end of my jazz workshop and a great concert with the group from the workshop and my quartet from Cordoba. Here are a few great photos from one of the last workshop classes thanks to Luna Benfer Photography
Here's a short video from the concert.
The jazz workshop was truly a unique and awesome experience and it has refueled my interest in teaching music and in jazz in general. I hope to do more in the future.
I'll be back in Seattle in a few short hours and looking for some excitement. The first musical endeavor will probably be a surprise show for a friend's wedding. Really looking forward to it.
5/16 - Pozoblanco
I might be living in Sevilla next year and I'm investigating some options for studying music while I'm there. The classical music education system in Spain (and most of Europe I'm told) is pretty impressive and includes conservatories that are range from elementary to "superior." Conservatorios Superiores are the equivalent of music colleges. And all conservatory studies are pretty inexpensive. Cool! Also worth mentioning that Sevilla has superior degrees in "flamencologia."
My jazz workshop in Pozoblanco has been a big success so far and we are hoping to put together an end of the year concert on May 29 or 31 that will hopefully also feature my quartet from Cordoba. Details to come.
I was in Cordoba last weekend to play music and for the Patios Festival. I stumbled upon a great small concert in a patio one night - A tribute to Flamenco legend Paco de Lucia:
4/21 - Seattle
I'm in Seattle for a few days and I went to the Racer Sessions last night. It's a weekly jam session that focuses on free jazz.
4/16 - Pozoblanco, Spain
Tocaré con mi cuarteto de jazz en Córdoba el 8 y el 9 de mayo en Café Málaga y luego en el Centro Cultural Juan XXIII. Pondré detalles cuando los tenga.
The jazz workshop has been a resounding success so far. We've had three classes and are just starting to work on improvising with chords and scales. Next week we'll be dividing into two different groups or 'combos' to start putting together some tunes. I did an interview with the local radio station on the workshop and my time in Pozoblanco that I will post when I get the recording.
It's holy week right now in Spain and cities in towns in Andalucia are buzzing with parades and other activity. Here's a marching band playing with the procession for Palm Sunday in Pozoblanco.
3/23 - Pozoblanco, Spain, NYC
Check out this interview I did for my NYC friends' music website - The Lifestyle Artist Feature: Clarke Reid
3/15 - Pozoblanco/Cadiz, Spain
I've been busy with lots of musical things as of late. The picture above is from a show I played recently with "NoNiNa" in Pozoblanco. The group plays acoustic versions of flamenco, rock, and pop songs and includes vocals and guitar (Antonio Carlos), Piano (Javier), percussion (Edu), and Bass (Me!). We're playing another show this weekend in a nearby town. I'm also playing on occasion with a group of friends from Cordoba en plan jazz quartet. More on that to come.
Carnaval season just ended in Andalucia and I got to see some great 'Comparsas' and 'Chirigotas' in Pozoblanco and the capital of Carnaval in Andalucia: Cadiz. Carnaval groups in Andalucia are typically ten to twenty singers who choose a theme, dress accordingly, and sing animated, re-worded versions of well-known tunes, usually with a heavy dose of humor and political critique. More info about Carnaval here if you're interested.
You can see some great photos of Carnaval in Pozoblanco and more photos of the NoNiNa concert here: Luna Benfer Fotografia.
Lastly, I'm going to be teaching a weekly jazz and improvisation workshop here in Pozoblanco starting next week. Here's the promotional poster.
1/25 - Pozoblanco, Spain
New language of music project interview focused on Carnaval music here. Thanks to Carolina Reid, this interview also has a video that will be finished in March. Stay tuned!
1/7 - Pozoblanco, Andalucia, Germany
Its been an exciting holiday and I've been listening to a lot of fun new music mostly thanks to friends and family (see 'What I'm listening too'). Now that the break is almost over, I'm continuing to rehearse wih the funk band in Cordoba and I'm about to start working on some tunes with friends in Pozoblanco where I'll hopefully be playing upright bass. I also recently finished recording a new very special language of music project interview with the help of my sister. Here's a rough sample of the music; interview and video coming soon.
11/4 - Pozoblanco/Cordoba, Spain
I caught a little bit of the 'La Canalla' show at La Casa del Pozo Viejo in Pozoblanco on Thursday. The venue is super nice and I'm excited to see some other shows there in the future. Also spent a few days full of guitar and singing of all types with friends in the mountains for the holiday on Friday. I'm working on some flamenco strumming patterns my friend Titin showed me there. Then on Sunday I had my first practice with a funk band in Cordoba. We're putting together some original songs and the musicians are top-notch so it should be a great time. Lots of music, life is good!
10/21 - Pozoblanco, Spain
This past weekend I witnessed a couple fun musical events. Here's the Pozoblanco choir singing a familiar hymn in mass on Friday - Aleluya. And this is a little ditty from the hang-out after a Churigota practice (mostly vocal Carnaval music similar to 'murga' from Uruguay). They've already started preparing their routine for Carnaval in February. I've been making an effort to meet more musicians around here recently and should be playing some tunes with a sax player here later this week and with a funk/jam band in Cordoba next week.
ALSO, there is a new language of music project interview posted. It's from Guinea-Bissau in West Africa!
10/12 - Pozoblanco, Spain
Yesterday I went to a concert for the Festival de la Juventud here in Pozoblanco and saw a popular flamenco/pop singer, La Hungara.
Here they call 'flamenco' what I would call romantic pop, but I'm starting to see the similarity. I'll have to do a little more research, but I think the emotional, vocalist-centered, vibrato-filled 'romantic pop' I'm used to from Latin America has important flamenco roots. Here's an example, another group I saw at the concert last night, Tren de los Suenos.
10/5 - Pozoblanco, Spain (recently, West Africa)
I had a great time in Senegal and Guinea-Bissau with Tosten. A musical highlight of the trip was talking to and jamming with Marcelino, the brother of a friend in Bissau. He plays guitar, sings, and writes some of his own music. Language of Music Project interview with Marcelino in portuguese creole coming soon. I didn't have as much time as I would have liked to check out music in Dakar, but I hear it has a budding creative music scene. I'll have to go back sometime.
Now I'm settled into my new apartment in Pozoblanco Spain and looking forward to checking out music and meeting some local musicians in the area soon. Andalucia is known for flamenco and other music and there's a conservatory in my town, so I have high hopes.
9/8 - Airport, New York
I'm sitting in JFK airport waiting for my flight to Madrid, where I'll spend the next 10 months teaching English in a high school much like I did in Chile in 2011. I've got my keyboard and ukulele and I'm looking forward to a year full of new musical encounters and musician friends (other friends are cool too I guess). First, I'll be hopping down to Senegal to visit friend Tosten for two weeks. Stayed tuned for new Language of Music Project posts among other things.
Back in Seattle, The Cumbieros recording weekend went extremely well and seven new tracks should drop in a month or two. I may just have to re-record a couple piano solos on my own in Madrid and send them back for the final tracks.
8/16 - Seattle
The Cumbieros are going into the studio this weekend to record an EP. Here's one of the songs we'll be recording, The Cumbia of Mount Rainier, live at Folklife 2013.
Several exciting shows coming up, one with Turtle T and Scarub of Living Legends on Monday at the Crocodile (info), one with Victory Lap and friend Peter Muller (!!!) who I haven't seen in FAR too long next Saturday at Nectar (info), and a final one with the Cumbieros at the Evergreen State fair next Sunday (info). Hope to see some friendly faces!
8/8 - Seattle
Working on adding some memorized classical piano pieces to my repertoire, namely Chopin's prelude in E minor and a Bach invention in D minor. Sometimes it's nice to just play something exactly as it's written from sheet music (with the necessary inflections, emotions, etc. of course), which is something I don't do very often.
7/31 - Seattle (Dominican Republic)
Got back from the Dominican Republic a week ago. It was a whirlwind of a trip full of cultural immersion, service projects, lots of laughs and learning moments with the students, and some music. We had the opportunity to witness an impromptu 'palo' session with a couple local musicians one Saturday night. Palo is traditional Dominican music that draws heavily from African rhythms and the whole experience brought me back to seeing Rumba groups in Havana. It's powerful stuff. The ukulele proved to be the perfect travel instrument and I'll definitely be taking it with me when I leave for Spain and Africa in a month.
August will see a couple shows with the Cumbieros here in Seattle and hopefully a show with Victory Lap featuring a very special guest and old friend that we're working on flying out from NYC. I'm also dusting off my solo jazz piano skills to play a couple private gigs.
6/14 - Seattle
In a week I'm off to the Dominican Republic for a month with a group of 12 high schoolers from Lakeside School. Of course I'll be cramming in a couple shows before then, one with Victory Lap on 6/20 at the Crocodile, and two with the Cumbieros - one this Saturday at the Neptune Theater as part of a benefit show for the family of musical friend Felipe Canete, who recently passed away, and one on 6/21 at the Fremont Solstice Parade Pre-Party. All shows will be good dance/party oriented music. I'm also planning on taking the most portable, flexible, acoustic instrument I could think of - a ukulele, with me to the Dominican Republic to keep the jamz coming.
Here's a video of a show I played a couple weeks ago with rapper and friend Turtle Toes. Check out his new album here.
4/18 - Seattle
This Sunday at Club Sur in Sodo, The Cumbieros are playing at a benefit for the Chilean woman and baby that were hit by the drunk driver in Wedgwood. Facebook Event. We should be playing at 5 or 6pm.
I've also been working on some jazz standards and songs with singer and friend Anna Clausen, acapella SATB songs like this with some other friends, and new covers with Victory Lap. Shows to come hopefully.
4/1 - Seattle
Still cooking up new tunes with the Cumbieros. Show on April 13th at the White Rabbit in Fremont. Facebook Event
I'm really interested in singing some acapella SATB arrangements I have with some people. Some are originals, some are covers. Anybody interested?
3/10 - Seattle
Now that I'm back in Seattle, I decided to go back over all the things I recorded during my time in Latin America and make a collage documenting the trip. The piece is more of a story-telling tool than a carefully thought out piece of art, but I think it has some subtle artistic moments. Try listening to the street chatter behind each recording.
A fountain in Mexico City - Accordion busker on the train in Buenos Aires - Solo piano by Danti Moretti in Valdivia, Chile - Street performers in Valparaiso - A Carnaval street parade in Sao Paulo - Din and music from a rooftop in Havana - Experimental electronic performance in a basement in Buenos Aires - A band at the Folclore Festival in Osorno, Chile - A Chamber music concert in Valdivia, Chile - Rolando Luna Quartet in Havana - Din and music from the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City - Rumba at Callejon de Hamel in Havana - A band at the Folclore Fesival in Osorno, Chile - Luis Enrique Mejia Godoy performing in Granada, Nicaragua - A concert with MC Emicida and a Samba band in Sao Paulo - Two musicians performing in a park in Sao Paulo.
3/9 - Seattle
Cumbieros show this Thursday at Darrell's Tavern in Shoreline! Facebook Event. We'll be playing some old classics and a couple new originals.
2/23 - Granada, Nicaragua
We managed to be in Granada for the International Poetry Festival Thursday and Friday and caught a very fun show by Luis Enrique Mejia Godoy, member of the legendary Nicaraguan musical family.
2/18 - Matagalpa, Nicaragua
Met and jammed with a couple local musicians, Evar, Marcos, and Miguel, at the Benancia cultural center in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. Here's a recording
2/13 - Sao Paulo, Brazil
This post is dedicated to Carnaval in Sao Paulo, which ended yesterday. Carnaval is most known for the elaborate Escola de Samba parades in Rio and a few other big cities, which are televised nation-wide. But I spent three of the last four nights at the local block party and parade with thousands of other young people. The 'bloco' is called "Vai Quem Quer" (come whoever wants) and includes a kind of DIY parade with Carnaval style Samba music that reminds me a lot of Chilean Cumbia. It's primarily party music. Here's a video. The band ended one parade with this song, which I recognized as Mexican folk song "Cielito Lindo." Apparently there's a Portuguese version too. After the trouble I've had with the language barrier here in Brazil, it was heartening to hear a song that apparently defies borders in Latin America. Again, music is an International Language! Here's another Latin American standard originally from Bolivia but made popular with Portuguese lyrics in Brazil - Llorando se fue.
On a different note, the department of culture in Sao Paulo has installed pianos in several subway stations around the city. Here's me playing one in Luz station.
Lastly, new Language of Music Project interview with two Brazilian musicians I met in Sao Paulo coming soon.
2/8 - Sao Paulo, Brazil
Sao Paulo has a bunch of Servico Social do Comercio (SESC) community centers that host great music. I went to a show last night that mixed traditional Brazilian Samba with the hip-hop lyrics of MC Emicida. Very fun show. Possibly the most memorably moment was watching the varying responses all the singers (all older black men) of Velha Gaurda da Camisa Verde e Branco to the hip-hop vibe of the much younger rapper - wish I had a picture. Here's a video from a similar show.
2/4 - Buenos Aires, Argentina
I saw two very different concerts this weekend in Buenos Aires. The first was a huge outdoor concert in Plaza de Mayo featuring a number of acts, including popular singer Ruben Rara and Murga Uruguaya, which is heavily costumed and primarily vocal music with Circus and Carnival influences. The second was a small house show of improvised experimental/ electronic music a former DXArts TA Nico Varchausky told me about. Here's a recording from the house show with Christof Kurzmann - Trumpet and Computer Improv.
1/30 - La Union, Chile
I'm traveling now, but I spent the past weekend in La Union for the Festival del Alerce Milenario (an enormous tree similar to a Sequoia). Saw popular Chilean roots/rock band Los Tres live (example of their music here) and partied until the wee hours with all the local musicians. I also played a somewhat poorly organized but fun Cumbia show with a smaller version of Perro Alimento, the cumbia band I played with before. Here's a photo from the show in Kasma, close to Puerto Varas.
New interview with a classical musician I met in Valdivia coming soon.
1/23 - Valdivia, Chile
Played a great jazz trio show last night with Felipe Perez and Pancho Manzano on the outdoor terraza at El Santo Pecado. We played a mix of originals and jazz standards, including this one I wrote while in Cuba - "Havana Feeling". Here's a video of a song Pancho wrote entitled, "Chi Chi."
1/19 - Valdivia, Chile
Preparing to play with a couple different groups in the next two weeks - Tributo a Los Tetas (a Chilean funk band), Perro Alimento (Chilean cumbia), and jazz fusion trio with Felipe Perez and Pancho Manzano. Recordings coming soon.
1/14 - Osorno, Chile
Finally made it to Southern Chile and caught part of the 45th Festival de Folclor Campesino in Osorno. Saw a few musician friends from La Union and a number of interesting groups that mix traditional Chilean folk music with rock, reggae, jazz, and other styles. One of my favorite groups, Karimalinda, included elements of Mapuche (the indigenous people of Southern Chilean) music and language. example here. Unfortunately, a power outage ended the show early.
1/12 - Chanco, Chile
I just finished helping to supervise an exciting (and at times exhausting) week of English Summer Camp in the small town of Chanco, Maule Region. We did many English related activities and some music too. One of the girls at the camp is a very talented singer and we put together a song for the talent show at the end of the week. video here - Adele's Someone Like You (Cover) - Alejandra Del Mar on vocals, me on piano.
1/3 - Valparaiso, Chile
Met up with friend Pablo Ortiz, who I met through couch- surfing last year. He's a great musician and person in general and I'm honored to have played this impromptu jam with him, just piano and cornet. Check it out - Pablo and Clarke one cloudy morning in Valparaiso. Language of Music Project interview with Pablo coming soon.
12/30 - Rosario, Argentina
Went to a sweet Alerta Pachucha show a couple nights ago. See "What I'm listening to" for more info.
12/23 - Havana, Cuba
My week and a half in Cuba was a whirlwind of activity and music. I saw the International Jazz Festival, amphitheater style pop-rock, traditional Son, big band salsa, and even a metal cover band. Among other things, I really enjoyed Rumba, an Afro-Cuban style with just percussion and vocals. Here's one example of Rumba from a concert I saw. Notice how at 2:04 the rhythmic feel changes from 4/4 to 6/8. After I noticed this in Rumba, I started noticing it all over Cuban music - Latin Jazz, Salsa, etc. In this recording from Callejon de Hamel, the musicians really play with the rhythm, mixing 6/8 and 4/4 elastically. Cool!
Also check out Cuban violinist William Roblejo, one of my favorites from the Havana Jazz Festival.
12/11 - Mexico City
Mexican Students Dance - This is a video of a group I came across performing at La Basilica de Guadalupe. Thousands of people travel from all over Mexico to the Basilica on Dec. 12th, dia del Virgen de Guadalupe.
12/6 - Seattle
I'd like to share an improve piece I was part of at The Racer Sessions that I thought was pretty cool. Check it out. See the description of that particular session from the curator here.
The show with Ayo Dot at the Jet on Dec 1 went off. Jordan even proposed to his girlfriend, whew! what a fun night.
11/15 - Seattle
I taught a short class on music in Latin America to a couple classes of 6th graders today at my old middle school ASB. We listened to a lot of examples, played basic Cuban Son rhythms, danced to Danza Kuduro, and sang Ay carino. Great fun! Teaching really may be my thing. My basic lesson plan