Cantares at the NAC: A Latin Jazz Journey with Claudia Salguero

An edited version of this review was published by Apt613.ca

Our Apartment 613 contributor caught up with musician and visual artist Claudia Salguero in the run up to Cantares, her 6th annual Latin Jazz concert at the National Arts Centre.

A collaborative multi-cultural effort, Salguero will present a range of hand-picked Latin Jazz songs and be joined on stage by 10 musicians from nine different countries including: Peru, Colombia, Canada, Mexico, Chili, Brazil, Great Britain, Togo and the US.

Claudia-Salguero-Latin-Jazz-3

Salguero and musicians in concert

A traveller herself, Salguero hails from Columbia making Ottawa her home since 2001 while “never forgetting her roots.” Speaking of Bogota, Salguero shared “We grew up dancing and listening to music. We have it in our blood” and it is this gift, her love of Latin Jazz, that will be showcased at her concert.

Her expansive artistic scope and embrace of cultural diversity has guided Salguero’s curation of the program. Audiences can expect music beyond the familiar salsa and merengue strains and look forward to romantically emotive boleros, explore the African and Spanish roots of Latin Jazz and take in Latin-styled interpretations of North American jazz classics.  “It is not all Latin American music. I love old jazz and you will hear universally familiar classics interpreted in a Latin America style. “

“I sing songs that have meaning to me and that transport me.” Salguero has hand-picked compositions that deeply moved her, that are rich in emotions and that steeped in cultural history.

And it isn’t simply the music that elevates this performance but the dialogue that Salguero brings as she expounds on the compositions; their origin, the instruments on stage and her personal interpretations of the songs. “Though I sing mostly in Spanish I explain every song, what is happening in the narrative and why it touches me.” As the instruments change with the songs it provides a further opportunity to engage the accompanying musicians in the dialogue and deepen the experience for audiences as countries of origin and meanings are explored.

“Every song is different from the last. People like that and the interaction and conversations with the musicians on stage.” said Salguero, “Many people share that they come to the concert with an expectation of Latin American music and leave with a new and fuller understanding of the music, the countries, the instruments and the stories.”

Salguero is flattered by the interest and attendance at her concerts which are frequently sold-out and the opportunity it provides for her and the other musicians.  As such, a portion the proceeds are donated to further the advancement of artistic talents back in Bogota.  Salguero has always selected a foundation to donate to and for a 2nd year the proceeds will go to Casa Taller Las Moyas, a charity in the impoverished Barrio San Luis that promotes and teaches music, art, cooking and other skills to underprivileged children.

“We chose this charity as it mirrors my outreach as an artist here in Ottawa. I work in different communities to bring the artistic experience to low income children and neighbourhoods.  My projects are often about creating art objects, be it a mural or piece of visual art, with the idea that “art creates a better society.” Participants learn about equipment, techniques and produce a tangible work that is a lasting part of their community. This outreach is about empowerment and belonging while learning a skill that hopefully leads to further work.  When I visited Casa Taller Las Moyas, saw their work and the impact they were having on these children the fit was obvious.

Cantares” Salguero summarises, “is a professional, polished and elegant night of Latin Jazz” with the added bonus of a musical and educational resonance that crosses borders.

Claudia Salguero – CANTARES
May 28, 2016
NAC – Studio

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