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27 February 2009

Chicana Gypsy Project

On a recent cold night, in a tiny, cellar nightclub in Manhattan's East Village, a fascinating and unusual world music band, the Chicana Gypsy Project, made its USA debut. The performance had a little extra back story drama. The group had been snowed in at the Spanish airport for two days and did not make it from the arrivals terminal in NewYork; just about showtime. Their instruments, however did not fare as well. The musicians played with borrowed instruments but the music was their own.

The group, led by singer/dancer Maria Bermudez, blends seemingly diverse roots and idioms into a sound that is very much its own.

As the ensemble’s name suggests, it draws its inspiration from Latin American and flamenco genres. Add to this, robust flavors from the American southwest, blues, and jazz. One might think that this oleo is a bit on the gimmicky side —but it works! Chicana Gypsy Project’s unique blend of herbs and spices charms, excites, inspires, thrills and soars. The pulse quickens; the blood blazes; and the feet move.

The secret is soul. The numbers typically start with the Spanish guitar, joined by the passionate wails of the two cantatores, the Flamenco singers. When I say “wail,” I am not using the word as some kind of metaphorical flourish. These magical singers reach inside of themselves and emerge with pure distilled emotion shape-shifted into music. It sounds pretty, pretty good.

The other instruments slip in. They are gypsy violin, drums, electric guitar and upright bass. And then of course, there is the presence of  Maria Bermudez—founder. lead singer and dancer. Her body swoops, glides, stomps and swirls, and her vocals match the moves.

The repertoire, though no without it exotica, also contained blazing versions of some familiar classics, such as “Moondance” and “Summertime.”  The latter, while perhaps not the most infectious,  resonates with the group’s mission. Its composer George Gershwin, a son of Russia Jewish immigrants, created his own multi culti sounds spun from French classical  composers, Tin Pan Alley and Jazz.

Add Chicana Gypsy Project to the honorable list of Musicians Without Borders. Their explosive results will reverberate for a long time.



Chicana Gypsy Project

Maria Bermudez (Lead Vocals/Dancer)
-Jesus Alvarez (Flamenco Guitarist)
-Juan 'Cantarote' (Flamenco Singer/Palmas)
-Pele De Los Reyes (Flamenco Singer/Palmas)
-Bernardo Parrilla (Gypsy Violin)
-Tato Macias (Drums)
-Lolo Bernal (Electric Guitar)
-Sandro Fornasari (Upright Bass)


05 February 2009

Golden Filter On Tour

New York based remixers, The Golden Filter get words like Moroder and Kraftwerk  strewn in their path. (Perhaps an instrumental of Fats Waller’s “Ain’t Misconstruing” plays in the background.) Referring to  the group’s Solid Gold, Zimbio said, “this dance beat-a-thon reckons and wrecks hard floors.” Pitchfork calls The Golden Filter’s remix of Peter Bjorn and John’s “Lay It  Down” hypnotic and a download is available from Pitchfork. The group will have a release soon from Dummy Records and is touring the U.S., starting with 18-23 March appearances at SXSW. The rest of the tour is as follows.

3/27 - Club Downunder at Florida State University w/ The Presets Talahassee, Florida
3/28 WMC - TBA Miami, Florida
3/29 - Common Grounds w/ The Presets Gainesville, Florida
3/30 - Masquerade (Hell Stage) w/ The Presets Atlanta, Georgia
3/31 - Cats Cradle w/ The Presets Carrboro, North Carolina
4/1 - 9:30 Club w/ The Presets Washington DC, Washington DC
4/3 - Webster Hall w/ The Presets New York City, New York
4/4 - Paradise w/ The Presets Boston, Massachusetts
4/5 - Studio Juste Pour Rire w/ The Presets Montreal, Quebec
4/6 - The Mod Club w/ The Presets Toronto, Ontario
4/7 - The Grog Shop w/ The Presets Cleveland, Ohio
4/8 - Metro w/ The Presets Chicago, Illinois
4/10 - Bluebird Theatre w/The Presets Denver, Colorado
4/11 - Murray Theatre w/ The Presets Murray, Utah
4/13 - Commodore Ballroom w/ The Presets Vancouver, British Columbia
4/14 - Nuemos w/ The Presets Seattle, Washington
4/15 - Hawthorne Theatre w/ the Presets Portland, Oregon
4/17 - Mezzanine w/ the Presets San Francisco, California
4/20 - The Glass House w/The Presets Pomona, California

02 February 2009

New 2L Trumpet and Organ Release

Trumpeter Jan Fredrik Christiansen and organist Terje Winge collaborate on 2L release Missa da Tromba. The trumpet/organ combo often is associated with works of such composers as Henry Purcell and Jeremiah Clarke's that mark events with a sense of occasion. This recording also shows the more contemplative possibilities inherent in the pairing of the trumpet’s sweet clarity and the organ’s intricate majesty. Works include “Missa da Tromba” and “Choralsonate nr. 3” by Kjell Mørk Karlsen, Jon Laukvik’s “Lamento,”  “Sonate for trumpet and Organ” by Ketil Vea, and Egil Hovland’s “ Cantus X for trumpet and Organ.” To order or hear samples, click here.