Harmony Ridge Music

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  Irene Farrera
Irene Farrera Plumbing the depths of passion and scaling the heights of joy, vocalist Irene Farrera and her virtuoso ensemble, Venezuela Viva, travel the sumptuous landscape of Venezuelan music. The journey is rich with nature, culture and tradition, yet bursts with ingenuity and creativity. The artist¹s velvet voice and impassioned interpretations breathe new life into the music of her homeland.

Serenata traverses the territory¹s diverse regional styles, weaving in four original Farrera songs along the way. The highly syncopated, flamenco-influenced joropos, driving fulia and gaita rhythms of the coastal regions, and unique native instrumentation create a spellbinding and sublime musical experience. The recording features the diminutive and deep bodied 4-stringed cuatro, an extraordinary array of drums, maracas, violin, acoustic guitars and bass.

"I wanted to pay homage to our composers, the beloved Simón Diaz and the lesser known such as Maria Luisa Escobar" says Farrera. The opening cut is a strong, jubilant rendition of the traditional golpe, "La Bella Del Tamunangue" (The Beauty of the Tamunangue). Escobar¹s "Desesperanza" (Despair) is a poignant, heart wrenching song of heartbreak. In the title cut, "Serenata," Irene transforms a danzón into a steamy bolero, a tribute to Venezuela's living tradition of a lover's serenade as the most romantic expression of amor. One of Irene's most powerful original compositions, "El Mismo Mar," is restyled to the irresistible beat of a tambor de patanemo, one of the many Afro-influenced drum styles of Venezuela, culminating in a riveting solo by master percussionist Alexander Livinalli.

Music was Farrera's first language. Her earliest memories of growing up in Caracas are full of song and dancing feet. "Music is part of every celebration and social occasion," she says. By the time she was six Irene could sing dozens of aguinaldos (holiday songs) and at the age of nine had her first and only lesson on the cuatro.

Truth-seeker, creative soul, cultural fugitive and romantic rebel, Farrera fled Caracas in search of solace and fertile ground in the Pacific Northwest. She branched out musically–her first three albums venture into Brazilian, Latin Jazz and Nueva Canción. Contemplating new directions for a fourth CD, Farrera felt her strong Venezuelan roots pulling her homeward.

She found herself digging below the surface of a landscape littered with Burger King, Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys, to uncover her country¹s hidden treasures. A fateful meeting with master musician, arranger, composer and soul brother, Aquiles Báez in a friend's Boston kitchen made everything click. "Aquiles lives with one foot in Venezuela and one foot in the US. We were instantly committed to working with the best, and we did."

They called Alexander Livinalli, a percussion scholar who knows every town and its unique rhythms; Ernesto Laya and David Peña, two members of Ensamble Gurrufio, foremost interpreters of Venezuelan instrumental music and other leading artists to complete theVenezuela Viva ensemble. Farrera marvels, "After twenty years I came back to play my music in front of a Venezuelan audience, my mother and my sisters, surrounded by outstanding, sensitive players. I felt complete as a woman, as a musician and as a venezolana."

CD $14.99 catalog# ifcd-102
Soy De Ti
CD $14.99 catalog# ls1015
Soy De Ti
For The World
Walking in the Jungle
CD $14.99 catalog# ifcd-103
Walking in the Jungle

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