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by paddonm
posted 06/09/2018

Elio Villafranca, music from the Congo via Cuba and New York

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New York based Elio Villafranca, is a pianist and composer who has won numerous awards in the USA and internationally for his compositions and recordings. Born in the Pinar del Río province of Cuba Elio Villafranca was classically trained in percussion and composition at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, Cuba before he changed his instrument and moved to the USA in 1995. He has performed with jazz greats who include David Murray, Wynton Marsalis, and Chick Corea, and teaches music at several of the most important music schools in the USA including the Julliard School in NY. Elio is in Australia on a short tour playing music from his latest double album Cinque. Elio spoke with Mick Paddon on Time and Space about his music and the years of research which went into the project which became the recorded CD

Cinque, pronounced “Sankay”, is a five movement suite inspired by the story of Joseph Cinque, who in 1839 led a successful revolt aboard the slave ship La Amistad, days after being sold and transported to a sugar plantation in Cuba. Elio’s project today, showcases the cultural diversity of five Caribbean islands, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti, The Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. It identifies and highlights the Congolese musical heritage woven into the fabric of each of these diverse nations, through the forced migration of Africans to the Americas in the slave trade

Elio performs his music in Adelaide on September 7th, Hobart on the 8th and finishes his tour with a performance at the Darlinghurst Theatre in Sydney on Wednesday 12th September , with a ten piece band accompanied by world class cuban dancers and where he will show videos he made of the music from the five islands which he has woven into Cinque

The interview was originally broadcast during Eastside radio’s regular program Time and Space on Wednesday September 5th