Latin Culture Celebration 2008

By 
Joyce Linehan
October 24, 2008
Leo Blanco plays a CD release party as part of Berklee's Latin Culture Celebration, November 21.
Consuelo Candelaria and her sextet play original jazz woven with Afro-Cuban and ranchera/cumbia influence, November 13.
Photo provided by the artist
Photo by Phil Farnsworth

Berklee presents its 10th annual Latin Culture Celebration, an event organized by students to showcase the wealth of talented musicians from Latin America. Public events take place throughout the month of November, with concerts and clinics presented by distinguished faculty, alumni, staff, and guest artists. Highlights include concerts by Afro-Peruvian sensation Eva Ayllón November 6, Colombian harpist Edmar Castañeda and the Berklee Faculty Big Band featuring compositions by Diego Urcola and Bernardo Hernandez November 10, and faculty member Mili Bermejo and alumna Teresa Ines November 20.

Concerts at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Avenue, are $10 for general admission, unless otherwise noted. Shows at Cafe 939, 939 Boylston Street, vary; see individual listings. Events in the David Friend Recital Hall, 921 Boylston Street, are free. Visit berklee.edu/events for more information. 

 

Saturday, November 1

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Celebration with Convertibles Unplugged and La Tuza

8:00 p.m., Cafe 939, Free.

Convertibles Unplugged is an ensemble of Berklee students performing pop/rock en españól. They are led by Daniel Diaz and Pablo Lapati from Mexico and Javier Samayoa from Gautemala.

La Tuza is a dynamic acoustic trio that performs Mexican roots music. Their repertoire includes pieces from African-influenced son jarocho of southern Veracruz, the swinging son calentano of the Mexican Hotlands, and the fiery son huasteco of central Mexico. The diverse instrumentation of La Tuza includes jarana jarocha, jarana huasteca (both small guitar-like instruments native to Mexico) plus guitar, violin, cajón, pandero, and the quijada (donkey jawbone!). The group features Berklee alumna Ana Portillo, a classically trained violinist who performed with symphony orchestras before joining La Tuza.

 

Monday, November 3

Ricardo Monzon: The Marimba Music and Poetry of Guatemala

7:30 p.m., David Friend Recital Hall, free

Master Afro-Cuban percussionist Ricardo Monzon, an assistant professor at Berklee, is an in-demand studio musician who has performed or recorded with the Boston Pops, Orquestra Sinfonica de Guatemala, Walter Beasley, and the Dan Moretti Epic Brass Quintet.

 

Tuesday, November 4

Fernando Brandão and his sextet Alma / La Timbistica featuring Paulo Stagnaro

8:15 p.m., Berklee Performance Center, $10

Award-winning flutist, composer, and author Fernando Brandão has been equally involved with classical music and jazz throughout his career. Born in Rio de Janeiro and living in the United States since 1989, he has been teaching flute, ensembles, jazz improvisation, and chamber music at Berklee. He has performed in the most distinguished concert halls and clubs in the Boston area. In Brazil, Brandão has performed in concerts at Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Teatro Carlos Gomes, Sala Guiomar Novaes, IBAM, Espaço Cultural Sérgio Porto, and Palácio das Artes.

Paulo Stagnaro, a rising percussionist and composer has performed with artists such as Marcus Miller, Israel “Cachao” Lopez, Danilo Perez, Paquito D’Rivera, Gloria Estefan, Diego Urcola, and Greg Hopkins, among others. He recently performed at the 2007 Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award Ceremony in Las Vegas. Also in 2008, Stagnaro was a Grammy Award recipient in the Latin Jazz category as part of the Paquito D'Rivera Quintet. Stagnaro's band, La Timbistica, comprised of some of Berklee’s best Latin student players, won the 2008 Down Beat Student Music Award for Best Jazz Band.

Thursday, November 6

Eva Ayllón

8:15 p.m, Berklee Performance Center, $30

Part of the Sovereign Bank Music Series at Berklee

Composer and singer Eva Ayllón is one of the world’s foremost Afro-Peruvian performers. Known as "Queen of Lando" in Peru and around the world, Ayllón will perform songs from her extensive catalog with a 25-piece Berklee student and faculty group directed by Matt Nicholl, chair of the contemporary writing and production department. The show is produced by Oscar Stagnaro, bass professor. Accompanying Ayllón will be guitarist Ramon Stagnaro. The percussion-heavy program will include works by Peruvian composers including Chabuca Granda, Andres Soto, Victor Merino, and Victor Miranda.

Monday, November 10

Edmar Castañeda Trio / Berklee Faculty Big Band, conducted by Bernardo Hernández

8:15 p.m., Berklee Performance Center, $10

Colombian-born harpist, bandleader, and composer Edmar Castañeda combines Latin jazz with traditional Colombian music. He transforms the harp into a lead instrument to phenomenal effect, producing cross-rhythms like a drummer, smashing chordal flourishes like a flamenco guitarist, and collating bebop and Colombian music. His style is fascinatingly percussive and he plucks dynamic bass lines almost invisibly while picking out melodies with his right hand. He has performed with Paquito D'Rivera, John Scofield, Pablo Zinger, Dave Samuels, Trio Da Paz, Guiovanni Hidalgo, Lila Downs, Janis Siegel, Chico O'Farrill's Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, the Django Reinhardt New York festival, the United Nations Orchestra, and other renowned musicians. 

The 20-piece Berklee Faculty Big Band, conducted by Bernardo Hernández, will perform music from Latin American countries including Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela. Compositions and arrangements performed will be by Diego Urcola, Victor Mendoza, Oscar Stagnaro, and Bernardo Hernández.

 

Thursday, November 13

Consuelo Candelaria Sextet / Rique Colón: Sentido Tropical

8:00 p.m., Cafe 939, free

Pianist Consuelo Candelaria is a graduate of Berklee as well as a member of the faculty. She has performed with the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra, Bill Pierce Quintet, Don Houge Quintet, Dennis Brennan, and the Consuelo-Jon Quintet, and toured the U.S., Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. In 1998, she won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, in the jazz category. The sextet with Ron Mahdi (bass), Ron Savage (drums), Ricardo Monzon (percussion), Sonny Barbato (accordion), Bill Pierce (tenor/soprano sax), and Ken Cervenka (trumpet/flugelhorn) will perform original jazz with many stylistic influences from straight-ahead to ranchera/cumbia to Afro-Cuban. Their fourth recording will be released by the end of the year. 

Alumnus Rique Colón, recently returned from his native Puerto Rico, presents a soft tropical sound with his new ensemble.

 

Thursday November 13

Contemporary Writing and Production Department Afro-Latin Showcase featuring Roland Vazquez

8:15 p.m., Berklee Performance Center, $10

This annual concert by the Contemporary Writing and Production Department faculty will showcase artist-in-residence and composer/percussionist Roland Vazquez with an ensemble of Berklee faculty. Several of Vazquez's compositions will be featured along with works by CWP faculty. The concert will focus on the music of the Afro-Latin diaspora, with an eclectic mix of styles ranging from jazz to funk to world music. The concert is part of the Professional Writing Division's series featuring Latin American composers and is led by department chair Matthew Nicholl.

In 1979, Billboard called Vazquez's first international release "a decade ahead of its time." Moving to New York in 1981, he continued to develop his "funky-salsa-bebop" style. A former faculty member of the Manhattan School of Music and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Vazquez developed a historical Afro-Latin jazz curriculum and wrote and performed in that style.

 

Tuesday, November 18

Rebecca Cline

7:30 p.m., David Friend Recital Hall, free

A quartet, led by Berklee assistant professor Rebecca Cline performs a concert dedicated to three giants of Cuban piano: Pedro "Peruchín" Justíz, Lilí Martínez Griñán, and Rubén González. These three artists established standards of virtuosity and style in the 1940s and 1950s that challenge and inspire today's musicians.

Cline has performed or recorded in the United States and Caribbean with such artists as Giovanni Hidalgo, Pedrito Martinez, Paulo Braga, Romero Lubambo, Jerry Gonzalez, Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, Charles Neville, and Alex Acuña. In 2005 she performed at the Kennedy Center as a finalist in the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Piano Competition. In 2007, she received a CMA grant to compose a suite for her quartet, based on Yoruban-derived Afro-Cuban ceremonial music.

 

Wednesday, November 19

Victor Mendoza and Students

7:30 p.m., David Friend Recital Hall, free

Considered by critics around the world to be one of today's finest Latin jazz artists, Mexican-born vibraphonist and composer Victor Mendoza's career includes performances with his own group and as guest soloist around the globe. Presentations include guest appearances with the World Festival Orchestra under the direction of Paquito D'Rivera, the Milan Svoboda Orchestra in Prague, sold-out shows at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London and in Tel Aviv, and as soloist with the Carlos Chávez Symphony Orchestra in Mexico City. Mendoza will perform with a group made up of outstanding Berklee students, faculty, and guests, including saxophonist Marco Pignataro from Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico and flutist Javier Flores from University of Veracruz at Xalapa.

 

Thursday, November 20

Panel: Music Education in Latin America

1:15 p.m., Room 1W, 1140 Boylston Street

Moderated by dean of the Performance Division Matt Marvuglio, this panel—featuring music educators from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Panama, Venezuela, and Peru—will present observations and insights about music education across Central and South America. The discussion will explore today's innovations, challenges, and future prospects in models of music education.

The expert panel includes Javier Flores, University of Veracruz-Xalapa; Marco Pignataro, director of the Jazz and Caribbean Music Department and jazz saxophone chair at Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico; and Berklee faculty members Leo Blanco, Victor Mendoza, Danilo Perez, and Oscar Stagnaro. Their work has included the expansion of music education to poor and remote communities as well as bringing the songs and sounds of indigenous people to the public.  

 

Thursday, November 20

Latin Voices with Mili Bermejo and Teresa Ines

8:15 p.m., Berklee Performance Center, $10

Critics have called Mili Bermejo "one of Boston's most talented singers in any genre" (Bob Young, Boston Herald); "a musical explorer" (Jay Miller, Quincy Patriot-Ledger); and "the Latin equivalent of Abbey Lincoln... a singer/composer who challenges us with her musical honesty" (Alan Bargebuhr, Cadence). She is a 20-year veteran of the Berklee College of Music faculty, a former jazz ambassador for the United States Information Service/Arts America, and the first woman to receive the prestigious Achievement in Jazz Award from the New England Foundation for the Arts.  

Teresa Ines, born and raised in Brazil, came to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music in 1991. Her repertoire for this evening is derived from the great era of Brazilian songwriters, including Tom Jobim, Djavan, Chico Buarque, and Gilberto Gil. The quintet features Fernando Brandaão on flutes, Nando Michelin on piano, Fernando Huergo on bass, and Vinicius Pienasola on drums and percussion.

 

Friday, November 21

Leo Blanco CD Release Party with Antonio Sanchez

8:00 and 9:30 p.m. (two shows), Cafe 939, $10

Leo Blanco is a Venezuelan pianist and composer. His music blends the folklore of his native country, itself a mixture of African and Spanish musical traditions, and his varied training as a pianist. At the age of 10, he began his studies of classical piano and violin at the Music Conservatory of the Universidad de Los Andes in Venezuela and became a member of the Mérida Youth Orchestra. Later, Blanco attended Berklee, where he obtained a bachelor's degree in music. Blanco received the Billboard award for Best Jazz Performer Student. A year later, Blanco was the first Latin American to receive the Boston Jazz Society Award. In 2002, he attended New England Conservatory to pursue a master's degree.

Grammy Award-winner Antonio Sanchez is considered by many critics and musicians as one of the most prominent drummers of his generation. Born in Mexico City, he moved to Boston in 1993 to enroll at Berklee and graduated magna cum laude in jazz studies. Since his move to New York, Sanchez has performed and recorded with some of the biggest names in jazz, including Chick Corea, Michael Brecker, Charlie Haden, Gary Burton, and Toots Thielmans, among many others. He's a member of the Pat Metheny Group and the Pat Metheny Trio with Christian McBride. In 2007 he recorded his first solo effort, Migration, which includes a stellar cast of some of today's most sought-after musicians: Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, Chris Potter, David Sanchez, and Scott Colley.