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Artist Profiles

Edmar Castaneda: A World Of Music

By Published: November 26, 2013
Castaneda's 2012 CD, Double Portion is effectively a solo outing, with duo collaborations on half the tracks with Zenon, pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba
Gonzalo Rubalcaba
Gonzalo Rubalcaba
and bandolim player Hamilton de Holanda. The harpist thrives in duo settings but is equally at home playing solo, as Irish audiences were able to appreciate during Castaneda's six-date 2013 tour promoted by Music Network . It was a rare opportunity to experience the Colombian minus Silliman and Gilkes, and handling the rhythmic and melodic duties while improvising to boot.

At the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival Castaneda was joined on stage by bodhrán player Eddie Kavanagh, who Castaneda had seen performing in a traditional show a few days before. Without prior rehearsal the two musicians jammed together, seamlessly fusing Colombian and Irish rhythms before an appreciative audience. For Kavanagh, the experience of playing with Castaneda was something special: "I have never heard another player like Edmar in any genre. He has a percussive and rhythmic approach to his style that's truly unique. He`s an unbelievable talent and he pushes the boundaries of what is possible on a harp," says Kavanagh. "He's in a league all his own."

Throughout the Cork concert Castaneda alluded several times to the possibility of coming back to Ireland, "the land of the harp" to record his next album. It's a prospect that certainly appeals to Kavanagh: "The idea of Edmar collaborating with Irish musicians is a really exciting concept and I think the end result would be wonderful. He`s an amazing musician and an even nicer guy," asserts Kavanagh. "Its people like him that break down barriers in music and everyday life; an inspirational guy, to put it mildly."

Whether playing with flamenco, jazz, Latin-jazz or traditional Irish musicians, or absorbing the colors of New Orleans or Buenos Aires into his language, Castaneda is all about breaking down barriers. His music of the world also succeeds in shaking up people's perceptions about what is possible on a harp—and in Castaneda's hands that means pretty much anything.

Photo Credit: Jens Schlenker Fotografie

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