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Cristina Pato: Migrations

James Nadal By

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Galicia is a province in northwestern Spain, bordered on the south by Portugal, whose people pride themselves in having unique and distinct cultural traits with strong Celtic connections, predominantly in its music and the popular gaita, or Galician bagpipe. Cristina Pato is a native Galician, and acknowledged virtuoso of the gaita. She has taken the instrument to a whole new level on Migrations, her fourth album as a soloist and leader. Blending a life of classical training with her folkloric roots, she is a bonafide quadruple threat from her mastery of the gaita and flute, as well as an accomplished pianist, prolific composer and passionate, mesmerizing live performer, revealed as a featured member of the multicultural Silk Road Ensemble, led by cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

The first two tracks are different takes on the traditional muiñeira, a popular Galacian dance music. "Muiñeira for Cristina" is a vigorous rendition, with Pato displaying her skills as a spirited soloist. On "Muiñeira de Carmen," at a more subdued tempo, she presents her piano abilities in intense interaction with accordionist Victor Prieto. Having an intimate knowledge of the music of trumpeter Miles Davis since her collaboration with saxophonist Bob Belden on his Miles Español: New Sketches From Spain (Entertainment One, 2011), she takes on "Blue In Green," stretching the gaita to uncharted territory in an evocative interpretation of this jazz classic.

Pato's facility to twist and turn genres and styles is apparent in "Gaitango," where she is joined by pianist/arranger/producer Emilio Solla for a memorable take on the enduring tango. She brings in Indian tablaist Sandeep Das on the brisk and exotic "Remain Alert," reminiscent of her days with the Silk Road Ensemble. "Jota de Pontevedra" and "Pandeirada Bestia" are both traditional Galician folkloric songs given the Pato treatment of dramatic percussion, coupled with high energy gaita and enthusiastic shouts of encouragement. And for another side of her many aptitudes, Pato assumes the role of vocalist on Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Dindi." Singing in both English and Portuguese, she captures the laidback mood of a drifting samba. The original "Rosiña" is the other vocal ballad where, accompanied by Xan Padron on bouzouki, she plays a sorrowful flute, as if lost in a dream. The record closes Pato in duet with Suso Vaamonde, a fellow Galician gaita player, as they interpret an eclectic paso doble version of "Mala Entraña Ou/O Pasodobre de Paderne."

Migrations is the precise name for this recording, where confining genres and acquiescent ideas are intentionally blurred, revived and supplanted. Pato personifies a new breed of artist with impeccable credentials breaking out of her comfort zone in relentless exploration of musical possibilities and challenges, while introducing the world to her heritage. A superb embodiment of sustained creativity propelled with inspiring momentum.

Track Listing: Muiñeira For Cristina; Muiñeira De Carmen; Blue In Green; Dindi; Gaitango; Remain Alert; Rosiña; Jota De Pontevedra; Pandeirada Bestia; Mala Entraña Ou/OPasodobre De Paderne.

Personnel: Cristina Pato: gaita, piano, flute, vocals, pandeireta; Victor Prieto: accordion; Edward Perez: double bass; Eric Doob: drums; Emilio Solla: arrangements, piano (5); Edmar Castañeda:harp (1); John Hadfield: percussion (1, 3, 6-9); Colin Joacbson: violin (4, 6); Sandeep Das: table (6); Xan Padron: bouzouki ( 7); Mike Block: cello (4, 8); Roberto Comesana: accordion (10); Suso Vaamonde: gaita (10).

Title: Migrations | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records


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