JWQ Showcase 2017

Monday, April 17, 2017

CHILE: Sofia Rei - El Gavilan (2017)

Chilean singer, songwriter, folklorist, social activist, poet, and visual artist Violeta Parra would have celebrated her 100th birthday this year. In her new recording, El Gavilan, vocalist, songwriter and producer Sofia Rei celebrates her legacy by approaching her music with the imagination and daring that characterized Parra s work. Sofia re-imagines Parra's music in a contemporary setting and records an album in duo with eclectic and adventurous guitarist Marc Ribot and the surprise participation of Angel Parra, Violeta's grandson. Sofia also plays caja vidalera, a hand-held single head drum from Argentina's northwest, and charango, a small, five double string guitar from the Andean region of South America. It is still, in essence, the classic folk voice-and-guitar arrangement, but framed by both, electronics and traditional instruments. The results spacious and almost minimalist illuminate Parra's work from unexpected angles. Sofia built most of the song arrangements with only multilayered vocals sculptured as loops with effects and a wide range of textures creating a sonic landscape unique to each composition. El Gavilán is a thirteen-minute composition from Parra, closer to atonal academic music than to Latin American folklore, in which the pain and desperation of a devious love take flesh in a dissonant sonority and lyrics that resemble babbling, as if nothing was left to say other than what this disruptive and mourning music expresses. El Gavilán is also the piece that inspired this project. Violeta Parra's body of work is a heritage to which one always returns, as her figure is the symbol of multiple artists: a woman, Latin American, a revolutionary, a lover. Firm and sensitive, militant and suffering, a compiler and a creator.