Latin GRAMMY Award-nominated and virtuoso jazz harpist Edmar Castañeda releases his latest studio album, Viento Sur, featuring his World Ensemble on Friday, May 5, 2023. Castañeda follows up seven albums (Cuarto de Colores; Entre Cuerdas; Double Portion; Live at the Jazz Standard; Live In Montreal; Harp vs. Harp, Family) with his latest recording project, Viento Sur, with a nine-person ensemble of acclaimed global musicians from Switzerland, Brazil, Cuba, Israel, Chile, USA, Argentina, and Colombia. An array of compositions on Viento Sur are commissioned by American Chamber Music from the "New Jazz Works Grant."
Edmar Castañeda World Ensemble includes Castañeda on harp and his wife, the renowned Colombian singer Andrea Tierra on vocals, as well as Itai Kriss (flute, Israel), Helio Alves (piano, Brazil), Gregoire Maret (harmonica, Switzerland), Ryan Reberle (trombone, U.S.A.), Felipe Lamoglia (saxophone, Cuba), Rodrigo Villalon (drums, Chile), and Marcelo Woloski (percussion, Argentina). A true global collaboration inspired by traditional Latin America rhythms (Samba, Joropo, Chacarera, Tango, Landó, Latin Jazz) from a collective of jazz artists spanning the globe, Viento Sur, brings together nine musicians who musically tackle themes of racism, depression, love, and reasons to live a flourishing life. Andrea Tierra lends her powerful vocals to four compositions while Edmar leads his ensemble in an eclectic orchestration of his singular original works.
Viento Sur begins with "Tá Bom," which is a Portuguese expression for "Everything Is OK" in Brazil, Castañeda opens Viento Sur with a reassuring sentiment that we are going to be alright. "Eclesiastés 9" is inspired by a Bible verse, "Enjoy life with your loved one, as this is what is left for everyone." The lyrics invite us to think about the real meaning of life.
An Argentinean zamba written by the great Atahualpa Yupanqui, "Piedra y Camino" is a love song Castañeda and his wife adore because of its profound lyrics. "Arpaquito" is a grooving song dedicated to Castañeda's dearest friend, the Cuban-American saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera.
Meaning "strong wind" in Spanish, "Ventarrón" is inspired by the Argentinean tango and features a poem inviting us to be united in peace. "Sanar" (meaning "Healing") is a rhythm of the Argentinean dance, Chacarera. The lyrics encourage listeners to let go of the things that hurt us most. It dives into the topic of depression, and the need of trusting and loving ourselves just as we are. A song of celebration and the revelry of music and love, "La Vie en Chandé" is a rhythm "Chandé" from the coast of Colombia. "Raza" defends the rights of our African heritage.
"I firmly believe there is strength in unity and this is essential to my music," says Edmar Castañeda. "I like the madness of arranging instruments that are not commonly performed together, such as the harp and harmonica. On Viento Sur, the union of these nine musicians creates a message of joy, highlighting the beauty of Latin American rhythms and the infinite power of jazz."
Edmar Castañeda's unparalleled versatility on the harp has caught the attention of musical titans such as Sting, Bela Fleck, John Scofield, Ricki Lee Jones, John Patitucci, and Pedrito Martinez; all of whom Castañeda has collaborated with either on stage or in the recording studio. Upon seeing him perform live, The New York Times noted, "Edmar Castañeda completely rethought his instrument... [he] used his left hand to pluck out bass lines independently while improvising hot, jolting off-centered lines with his right."
On April 14 & 15, 2023, Edmar Castañeda appeared with Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis at Frederick P. Rose Hall. The album release concert for Viento Sur was on May 1 at Blue Note New York.
To learn more about Edmar Castañeda, please visit: edmarcastaneda.com
Edmar Castañeda World Ensemble
1. Tá Bom
2. Eclesiastés 9
3. Piedra y Camino
7. La Vie en Chandé