A string of wind connects and unleashes the beauty of this record, aerial like Ngen-kürüf, the spirit who in Mapuche cosmology owns the air and is said to manifest in the wind’s song. Such mood guides this journey and ties it together, a journey where the musician takes his beloved homeland to other lands, paying on the lightest and clearest of all strings: the whisper of music.
Throughout eight compositions the Chilean guitarist Álvaro Severino gives a new interpretation of the diverse sound geography of South America, exploring some of its rhythms and the meaning these develop when, faraway from home, they return though the spiral shell of remembrance. Joropo, chacarera, cueca, vidala, jazz harmony, contemporary music and cross-cultural memory add up to the wonderful personal journey proposed by this delicate work.
If to remember is to re-play the strings of the heart, then Álvaro Severino plays this fabric weaved onto his guitar’s fingerboard, proving his extraordinary talent and poetic vision in his first work. The artist, currently based in the German Ruhr Area, joins a quartet with talented musicians from NYC, Bogotá and Santiago de Chile, to draw a map of integration and introspection, ranging from North to South and leading us to the greatest of treasures: the intimacy of his personal sound.
The Chilean wind, the Northwind, can be heard whistling above the first theme, a passage inspired by traditional chacarrera and vidala, lift up by the jazz air of Ryan Carniaux.
In this mood we reach the second theme where Huayno is reborn under a funny name: Cucaracho. This word combination, coined by the artist’s mother in his childhood, combines the allusion to the resilient cockroach and to the devil, known as “cuco” in Chilean folklore and central to the Andean celebrations called “Diabladas”. Here, a dark bass solo from the hands Joan Chávez calls us awake to quickly stride through the cheerful and shiny mountain carnival, reinterpreted in a 7/4 meter.
Zamba inocente, the third theme, is an exploration, mature and richly nuanced, inspired in the harmony of Bill Evans’ “Turn Out the Stars”. Lyrical and deep, the pure acoustics of the guitar fills us with the wonder of the stars inscribed in the music sheets of night.
Aires de Joropo, the fourth theme, plays the word “air” in the sense of “similarity”. It consists of a respectful approach to the folkloric aspect of joropo, releasing it for personal and cultural associations, to create a graceful and intuitive intimacy with its Arabic-Andalucian origins. The swift-paced constructive digression resonates with dance, leading to the percussion solo of Pablo Sáez, who articulates a fast, dazing sequence of beats on sticks and drums, tripling the Afro-Latin beat. The steady hi-hat unveils the rhythmic foundations of the theme and calls back to dance in the piece’s final coda.
The following slowdown is a rest before the journey continues: Interludio. The metallic wind reappears, first in unison with the guitar, than as a counterpoint to it.
We would gladly stay in this loving prelude if it wasn’t for the oceanic call of the fifth part:
Deep Blue, an abstract composition where the rhythm of Venezuelan merengue would seem to delve into its deepest forms. It invites us onto an amazing jazz improvisation, a solo on a 5/8 meter including a passage in 9/8 to show the quality of the musicians who modulate this tempo with a masterful skill.
The Afro-Peruvian Landó is a gesture to point out we are close to home. This is the time when the south wind takes us back to Chile. Viento del Sur is a light-footed cueca, the atavistic dance of the original soil. The celebratory song is in the mouth of the instrument, the center of the guitar. There is the wind rose with its fire petals and burning hair, weaved onto the table, the garden, the games, the bed and, finally, the warm home which still retains our own breath.
released December 7, 2018
ALVARO SEVERINO guitar & composition
RYAN CARNIAUX trumpet & flugelhorn
JOAN CHÁVEZ double bass
PABLO SÁEZ drums
Produced by Alvaro Severino
Music Supervisor Pablo Sáez
Recorded in “Salon de Jazz” Köln by Philipp Bardenberg
Mixed and Mastered by Dave Darlington at Bass Hit Recording, NYC
Art & Design by Alvaro Severino
Text by Miguel Veras Cifras English Translation by Glauconar Yue