Four-time Grammy award winner Vince Mendoza has distinguished himself during the last 20 years as one of the most important arrangers, conductors and musicians of contemporary jazz. The American is constantly looking for exciting unique projects breaking the mould of conventional music. His latest production for chamber orchestra in fall 2008 Blauklang (ACT 9465-2) has been welcomed enthusiastically as a “musical celebration in blue” (Stereo) and was prized with a GRAMMY nomination. Now Mendoza is again in the public eye together with the Dutch Metropole Orchestra as their Chief Conductor, and casts light on the musical facets of the famous Spanish writer Federico García Lorca (1898-1936).
García Lorca was a great lover of the folk songs of his country and also a great admirer of flamenco. “It seems to me that flamenco is one of the greatest inventions of the Spanish people”. The work of the Spanish writer shows a deep connection to the gitanos who in his view represent the essence of Andalusia. For him, the duende, that specific disposition and sentiment which is essential to the performance of flamenco artists, was his own poetic inspiration. As a natural consequence Lorca’s writing found its way into the flamenco repertoire.
The García Lorca Project has a long history. It started off with a project the writer himself initiated in 1931. Lorca, who was an excellent pianist, recorded ten adaptations of folk songs titled „Canciones Populares Antiguas“ (Old Folk Songs) together with Encarnación López ‘La Argentinita’. They were quite a success and the folk songs were thereby saved from oblivion. In 1979, almost half a century later, legendary flamenco singer Camarón de la Isla immortalized a few of the writer’s poems, which Ricardo Pachón had set to music, on „La Leyenda del Tiempo“. The record turned out to be a musical revolution and, over the years, became a classic of flamenco history. Initiated by the centennial of Lorca’s birthday in 1998 people set to investigate his poetry also in the Netherlands. Bass player, pianist and composer Niko Langenhuijsen wrote the arrangements in an ambitious way by means of a line-up that would do justice to both jazz and flamenco. His repertoire also included the revised versions of those folk songs that had been recorded by Lorca himself. The premiere took place on November 25th 1998 at the Muziekcentrum Vredenburg in Utrecht, and the audience was entranced by the profoundly harmonious amalgamation of jazz, flamenco and poetry.
El Viento - The García Lorca Project makes reference to all of those antecedent projects. Vince Mendoza and the Metropole Orchestra fuse the different strands of development and shed a new light on them. Twelve pieces have been recorded in cooperation with guest soloists, merging Lorca’s lyric, flamenco and orchestral jazz in the most unique way. El Viento includes revisions of four folk songs which Lorca himself had recorded, and is augmented with three Lorca adaptations of Ricardo Pachón as well as the musical versions of two poems set to music by Flamenco Nuevo pioneer José Ortega Heredia ‘Manzanita’ („Ángeles Negros“) and Niko Langenhuijsen (the triptych „Historietas del Viento“). The folk song “La Tarara”, which had been interpreted by Camarón de la Isla in 1979, is also part of the record.
Four of the pieces have been arranged by Vince Mendoza himself for El Viento: „La Canción del Mariquita“ by Ricardo Pachón, „Ángeles Negros“ by ‘Manzanita’ and the two folk songs „La Tarara“ and „Sevillanas del Siglo XVIII“. In unison with the Metropole Orchestra Mendoza has once again created an outstanding audio document: El Viento - The García Lorca Project is a declaration of love to flamenco, yet another proof that jazz as a universal language is beyond all bounds, and it is, above all, a homage to one of the greatest poets of the 20th century.
El Viento - The García Lorca Project – Vince Mendoza and the Metropole Orchestra – ACT 9490-2 – LC 07644
• The Metropole Orchestra
• Conductor: Vince Mendoza
• Rafael de Utrera – vocals
• Eva de Dios – vocals
• Daniel Méndez – guitar
• Udo Demandt – cajón
• Arturo Ramón – palmas
• Daniel Navarro – dancing
• Jennifer Barnes
• Cindy Bourquin
• Elin Carlson
01 La Canción del Mariquita (comp. Ricardo Pachón, arr. Vince Mendoza) 04:16
02 Historietas del Viento I: El Viento (comp. & arr. Niko Langenhuijsen) 04:40
03 Historietas del Viento II: Viento Estancado (comp. & arr. Niko Langenhuijsen) 05:19
04 Historietas del Viento III: La Brisa (comp. & arr. Niko Langenhuijsen) 06:05
05 La Tarara (trad., arr. Vince Mendoza) 08:36
06 De los Cuatros Muleros (trad., arr. Joan Albert Amargós) 06:23
07 Sevillanas del Siglo XVIII (trad., arr. Vince Mendoza) 03:44
08 La Nana del Caballo Grande (comp. Ricardo Pachón, arr. Niko Langenhuijsen) 06:10
09 Los Peregrinitos (trad., arr. Joan Albert Amargós) 03:33
10 Ángeles Negros (comp. Ortega Heredia, arr. Vince Mendoza) 05:27
11 Los Mozos de Monleón (trad., arr. Joan Albert Amargós) 09:22
12 La Leyenda del Tiempo (comp. Ricardo Pachón, arr. Niko Langenhuijsen) 06:59
• Recorded between 19 - 22 February 2008 at MCO Studios 1 & 3 and Wisseloord Studios, Hilversum, Netherlands
• Recorded, edited and mixed by Jonathan Allen
• Sound design by Ian Wilson
• Mastered by Geoff Pesche at Abbey Road Studios, London
• Produced by Vince Mendoza
ACT: The Art in Music
Cover art by the famous Spanish painter Eduardo Arroyo