Carolina Calvache Marries Poetry and Music on Vida Profunda, out May 29th on Sunnyside Records
Pianist, Composer and Arranger Carolina Calvache is pleased to announce the release of her second album as a bandleader, Vida Profunda, out May 29th, 2020 on Sunnyside Records. On this dynamic new release, Calvache explores meaningful poetry by world-renowned poets, augmenting the text with her stunning compositions, lush instrumentation and striking vocal performances by Ruben Blades, Claudia Acuña, Haydee Milanes, Aubrey Johnson, Marta Gomez, Sofia Ribeiro, Luba Mason, Lara Bello, and Sara Serpa. The first single “Te Conoci de Nuevo”, featuring Ruben Blades, will be available on April 17, 2020.
The diverse list of instrumentalists on this release includes drummers Jonathan Blake and Keita Ogawa; bassists Petros Klampanis, Ricky Rodriguez and Peter Slavov; violinists Tomoko Omura, Leonor Falcon, Ben Russell, Annaliesa Place, and Adda Kridler; violists Allysin Clare, Jocelin Pan; cellists Brian Sanders and Diego Garcia; flautist Hadar Noiberg; oboist Katie Scheele; trombonist Achilles Liarmakopoulous; bass clarinetist Paul Won Jin Cho; bongo and djembe player Samuel Torres; plus special guests: harmonica player Grégoire Maret and trumpeter Michael Rodriguez.
The album’s title track Vida Profunda (Profound Life), perfectly exemplifies the message of this heartfelt project. “Vida Profunda” is a poem that the composer’s father would recite to her everytime she felt frustrated and lost. Carolina remarks: “[My father] is the one that actually encouraged me to find in poetry some answers to my feelings and emotions, and also to put music to the text, since that is my way of expression.” Inspired by her father, who is a literature teacher and lover of poetry, Carolina set out on a path to find meaning through the synthesis of two distinctly different artforms: poetry and jazz. The track is based off of the poem by Porfirio Barba Jacob, a poem that speaks to our humanity; the vulnerability of man. As an album, Vida Profunda utilizes the work of such notable poets as Pablo Neruda, Robert Duncan and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, as well as Carolina’s own written word.
For the second track, “El Parajo yo”, the infectious melody and supple harmony came first. Carolina asked her mother what her emotional response was to the music and her mother responded, “…it is like flying like a bird.” Her mother’s visceral reaction led her to the poem “El Pajaro yo” by Nobel Prize Winning Chilean Poet-Diplomat Pablo Neruda. Sofia Ribeiro lends her vocals to this gorgeous track which also features a stirring solo by flautist Hadar Noiberg. The legendary Ruben Blades is featured on the next track “Te Conocí de Nuevo” (I Met You Once More), which features lyrics written by Carolina. His warm unwavering vocals tell the tale of a failed couple that meets together again, this time for good. Carolina notes: “it is like a promise that says “I want you for the rest of my nights and days, I don’t want to lose you again.” The sincere refrains of Calvache’s lyrical piano solo display the composer’s stunning facility on the keys. “Working with Ruben was incredible. He just has an amazing ear and he is very particular when he records. It was wonderful to hear a legend like him record one of my original songs,” said Calvache.
Another track featuring Calvache’s original lyrics, “Sin un Despido” was inspired by the LaMia Flight 2933 tragedy- the fatal plane crash that killed the Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense on their way to the 2016 Copa Sudamericana Finals. Transfixed by the unfolding events of this terrible catastrophe, Carolina imagined losing a husband or family member in that way, robbed of the ability to say goodbye. This track features the strength and grace of renowned vocalist Claudia Acuña.
“Stella” was written for Carolina’s mother for her 50th birthday. This gorgeous diatribe from daughter to mother expresses Carolina’s following in her mother’s footsteps as a musician. This piece, reminiscent of Horace Silver’s classic “Lonely Woman” features harmonica player Grégoire Mare and vocalist Haydee Milanes. On the final track on the album, “Let Me Come With You”, singer Luba Mason sings in english a piece based on the poem “Moonlight Sonata” by Greek poet Giannis Ritsos. Carolina was particularly drawn to this line: “I know that each one of us travels to love alone, alone to faith and to death. I know it. I’ve tried it. It doesn’t help. Let me come with you.” At the time of recording this song, Carolina was listening to a great deal of broadway vocalists, and was very attracted to Luba Mason’s romantic and somewhat broadway delivery. “I fell in love with her voice in this particular style…It was a dream come true to have her on this album.”
On Vida Profunda, Calvache strives to connect with the listener on an intimate and personal level in ways that only poetry can do. “This album is a mirror of experiences and the emotions that can be found in everyone’s life. Feelings of hope, grief, solitud, frustration, dreams, love, inspiration are part of life… and that is why I called this album “Profound Life”, or Vida Profunda.”
Vida Profunda is Calvache’s first release since her debut Sotareño. Released by Sunnyside in 2014, Sotareño marked her arrival as the first Colombian musician to be signed to the storied label and featured the pianist alongside Antonio Sanchez, Michael Rodriguez, Jaleel Shaw, Hans Glawischnig and Ludwig Afonso. Calvache, born in Cali, Colombia, first rose to prominence in 2011 when she was selected for the 2011 Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival in Washington, DC. That same year, she moved to New York City and began collaborating with an impressive roster of musical voices including Henry Cole, Jorge Roeder, David Binney, Samuel Torres, Tivon Pennicott, John Elis, Jaleel Shaw, Linda Oh, Rodrigo Recabarren, Luba Mason, Ross Pederson, Camila Meza, Uri Gurvish, Roman Filiu, Rodney Green, Sara Serpa, Ricky Rodriguez, Annette Aguilar, and Yasushi Nakamura, among many others. She holds degrees from Universidad de Valle and North Texas University.