Thursday, September 10, 2009

never enough harp

I just discovered that the musical Castañeda family, masters of the Colombian folk harp, have set down roots right here in the Triangle. Patriarch Pavelid Castañeda Sr. (pictured), the harpist I raved about at La Fiesta this year, makes his home Chapel Hill. (He and his wife moved here from New York in 2006 when one of their sons received a soccer scholarship to Duke.) A full-time musician and music educator, Pavelid wowed Fiesta audiences with his solo take on "Oye Como Va," as well as traditional llanera music of Colombia's eastern plains.

It turns out, I've been listening to the music of Pavelid's children for years, and didn't know it. Johanna Castañeda has sung backup on Jimmy Bosch's great salsa dura albums, and takes center stage on one tune on Jimmy's latest, A Millon!. Johanna, also a folk dancer and a harpist, gigs regularly in the New York area as a cuatro guitarist and vocalist.

Her older sister, Angela Pilar Castañeda, also sings and plays the Venezuelan cuatro professionally. She and her father performed as a duo for over a decade. Now Angela is an active church musician who resides in Florida.

Youngest son Pavelid Jr. played "soccer for Duke and harp for my family," according to his myspace. The Duke '09 grad plays both these days in the New York area, coaching soccer at Nassau Community College and playing harp at a Colombian restaurant.

Meanwhile, eldest son Edmar Castaneda is breaking paradigms with his introduction of the Colombian folk harp to jazz's highest echelons.
Edmar's jaw-dropping live renditions of Latin jazz tunes are the stuff of legend, and Edmar is frequently invited to play with top guns in the Latin and Jazz worlds such as Arturo O'Farrill, Wynton Marsalis, Lila Downs, Candido Camero and Paquito D'Rivera.

Married to Colombian vocalist Andrea Tierra, Edmar will perform with her at 7 pm this Sunday (9/13) in Asheville at the Diana Wortham Theatre. The concert is sponsored by the WNC Jazz Society.

Want to hear the Castañeda magic a little closer to home? Pavelid Sr. plays the Colombian harp weekly for dinner guests at Dos Taquitos Centro in downtown Raleigh, Thursdays from 7-9 pm. He also plays at The Umstead for brunch and afternoon tea several times a month. Catch him while you can; father and son will be travelling to France and Israel together in October and November.

No comments: