Agora des Arts / Scène Hydro-Québec / Rouyn-Noranda
Show presented by : Le Citoyen
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Born in 1978 in the city of Bogotá, Colombia, Castaneda took up the harp as a teenager to play the folkloric music of his homeland. Since arriving in the United States in 1994 where he discovered jazz, harp virtuoso Edmar Castaneda has forged his own distinctive path in music. He brings not only an unfamiliar instrument but a wholly original voice to jazz, branching out into a world of different styles and genres. He was ushered into the jazz community by Paquito D’Rivera, who recognized Castaneda’s passion and took the young harpist under his wing. D’Rivera has called him “an enormous talent... [Edmar] has the versatility and the enchanting charisma of a musician who has taken his harp out of the shadow to become one of the most original musicians from the Big Apple.”
His wide-ranging career has been remarkable for discovering a brilliant role for the harp in jazz, then continuing to innovate and spark creativity from a wealth of formidable collaborations. His latest CD, Live in Montreal, features the latest in an ever-growing history of thrilling partnerships, an utterly unique duo with the electrifying Japanese pianist Hiromi.
Live in Montreal follows four acclaimed albums as a leader, as well as collaborations with the likes of guitarist John Scofield, pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, bassists Marcus Miller and John Patitucci, bandolinist Hamilton de Holanda, Brazilian pop and jazz great Ivan Lins, and Castaneda’s mentor, Cuban-born saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera. He’s also shared stages with iconic artists including Sting, Ricki Lee Jones, The Yellowjackets and Paco De Lucia. In addition to his innovative approach to the jazz tradition, he’s written symphonic works for the Orquestra Clássica de Espinho and the São Paulo Jazz Symphony Orchestra, and chamber pieces for the Israel Camerata Jerusalem and the Orquestra Sinfónica Nacional de Colombia.
Castaneda made his debut as a leader in 2007 with Cuartos de Colores, which features the harpist in a variety of settings, including guest appearances by D’Rivera and the explosive percussionist Pedrito Martinez. He followed that with 2009’s Entre Cuerdas, a trio date with trombonist Marshall Gilkes and drummer Dave Silliman that also featured turns by Scofield, vibraphonist Joe Locke, percussionist Samuel Torres and Colombian vocalist Andrea Tierra.
Double Portion (2012) was divided into solo and duo pieces, with Castaneda engaging in scintillating musical conversations with Rubalcaba, de Holanda and saxophonist Miguel Zénon. Live at the Jazz Standard (2015) showcased Castañeda’s World Ensemble, uniting musicians from a variety of global traditions. The stellar band brought back Gilkes, Silliman and Tierra alongside Swiss harmonica master Grégroire Maret; flautist Itai Kriss and saxophonist Shlomi Cohen (both from Israel); Chilean pianist Pablo Vergara; Castaneda’s countryman, Colombian drummer Rodrigo Villalon; Turkish kanun player Tamer Pinarbasi; and Brazilian Sergio Krakowski on pandeiro.
To repeat what Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said, “The Colombian plays the harp like hardly anyone else on earth...”