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BIOGRAPHY: Lourdes Pérez & the Dama de Noche Orchestra

"With her beautiful voice of thick smoke and clear honey, Lourdes Pérez leaves deep footprints that we will remember forever." - Gloria Anzaldúa, author of Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza and co-editor of This Bridge Called My Back (MORE REVIEWS)

LOURDES PEREZ (MAIN WEBSITE)

Considered by many to be "among the great Latin American female vocalists" and highly acclaimed internationally for her "ability to transcend language...with her achingly beautiful contralto voice," Puerto Rican-born Lourdes Pérez has performed duets with numerous legendary artists - from Argentinean singer Mercedes Sosa and Mexico’s master decimista Guillermo Velázquez to Canadian recording artist Jane Siberry. She is one of 1000 performers in the world profiled in the 2000 Music Hound World Essential Album Guide and her second CD, Vestigios, was given 4 1/2 stars. The album released tonight, Azul y Serena, is her fifth.

In her music, the spiritually and politically passionate genres of cante jondo, fado, nueva cancion, música jíbara and the versador traditions of Puerto Rico and Mexico, are incarnated in a modern, vibrant voice. Working closely with longtime artistic partner, Annette D'Armata Candela, she recently released, Pájaros de otro canto, the soundtrack from the film, "¿Adonde fue Juan José? A prolific poet, composer and arranger, Lourdes has collaborated and performed with musicians, choreographers, filmmakers, writers and human rights groups internationally in music festivals, performing arts centers, theaters, war zones and community spaces.

Her song for the people of Sierra Blanca, Texas was read into the U.S. Congressional record as part of a successful campaign to prevent that Texas border community from becoming a nuclear waste dump. A fiercely independent artist, she has received numerous commissions and awards for her work in dance, film and theater.

Lourdes grew up singing and playing guitar with 8 sisters and brothers and the men of San Sebastián, Puerto Rico but it was in 1992 and in San Antonio when she made her debut. She now lives in Guanajuato, Mexico.

Lourdes will be recording in Puerto Rico this January, as well as celebrating with her grandmother, Milita (subject of her 1997 song and music video, Toreando Un Siglo) who turns 100 years old on the 27th.

 

THE DAMA DE NOCHE ORCHESTRA

which takes its name from the night-blooming cereus flower, is:

+ TOSCA STRING QUINTET - (TOSCA WEBSITE)

Leigh Mahoney (1st Violin), Tracy Seeger (2nd Violin), Ames Asbell (Viola), Sara Nelson (Cello), Jessica Gilliam-Valls (Contrabass) - was formed in 1997 as part of the Austin-based Tosca Tango Orchestra. This popular group performs original compositions in the nuevo tango style and has released six recordings, including the soundtrack for the Richard Linklater film, Waking Life, and the Ballet Austin premiere of choreographer Stephen MillsTouch.

The group recently completed a yearlong tour and a recording with David Byrne. They have performed and recorded with notable artists such as Ray Benson, Willie Nelson, John Cale, Alejandro Escovedo, Lyle Lovett, Ray Price, Ian Moore, Russell Crowe, Double Trouble, and Shawn Colvin; they also appear on the Dixie Chicks' Grammy-winning album, Home. Their busy schedule currently includes performances with Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel, local fiddle/guitar legend Erik Hokkanen, Glover Gill’s traditional tango project Glovertango, and Austin favorite Bob Schneider.

Members of the quintet have participated in music festivals such as the Manchester Chamber Music Festival, Encore School for Strings, the Quartet Program, and the National Repertory Orchestra. The group has also performed in master classes for Mauricio Marcelli at the 5th World Tango Summit in Argentina; Ruggiero Ricci; Charles Castleman; David Harrington of the Kronos Quartet; and the Cavani, Debussy, and Audubon string quartets. All have studied at the School of Music at UT Austin, with one member currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree.

The Tosca String Quintet currently serves as the String Quartet in Residence at the Armstrong Community Music School of the Austin Lyric Opera. They recently won, for the third time, the Austin Chronicle’s Music Award for Best Strings in Austin (2002).

+ EVA YBARRA (WEBSITE)

is the undisputed "queen of the Tex-Mex conjunto accordion. " For Eva Ybarra, an energetic San Antonio-based composer, accordionist, singer, arranger and bandleader of 'Eva Ybarra y su Conjunto,' it is an honor that she takes seriously. A self-taught musician, Eva began playing at icehouses, restaurants and dance halls when she was six years old. Eva broke the barrier for other women accordionists and today remains one of the genre's most prolific accordionists.

An award winning, multi-instrumentalist, Eva has taught accordion and bajo sexto (12-string guitar) as Artist-in-Residence at the University of Washington and is currently teaching the button accordion at Palo Alto College. She has released two CDs with Rounder Records, A Mi San Antonio and Romance Inolvidable and has two new ones in the making. From San Antonio's restaurants to the Lincoln Center, Eva Ybarra has delighted audiences alone, with her conjunto and on tour with the "SuperTejanas."

+ OLIVER RAJAMANI (RAJAMANI WEBSITE)

was born in India and grew up in a family that loved music and dance. He began performing informally at the age of four, and was encouraged to develop his natural gifts. Over the years, Rajamani studied classical and contemporary music, often in unique settings. At the age of nine, he became a student of Mirdangam, a drum from the Southern region of India. He later had the good fortune to study classical tabla the ancient way, by living with and working for a great tabla master in India. His most recent tabla guru was the internationally renowned Pandit Aloke Dutta. He refers to his musical style as "Ruhjanam" (soul of the people). "Ruh" means" soul" in Hindi and "janam" means "people" in Tamil.

Rajamani learned various Gypsy styles of music such as flamenco guitar in the most authentic Roma Gypsy manner, from spending time among the Roma Gypsy community. He has done extensive traveling in Greece and Israel studying the Roma Gypsy communities and their music as well as Greek and Arabic music. He has also worked in the Romani Congress (U.N. Representation for the Roma Gypsys).  

Rajamani performs on these instruments: sarod (Indian lute); oud; dumbek; deff; and cajon; in addition to his extraordinary vocals.  He has performed and recorded with internationally acclaimed artists such as the Gypsy Kings, Glen Velez (Grammy Award winner), Aloke Dutta (internationally recognized tabla player), Lara and Reyes (Latin Grammy nominees); and many other prominent Indian, Middle-Eastern, and Flamenco artists. He recently released a CD, Pakiam, and another is in the works.