Composer/vocalist Sabrina Lastman, whose duo SoCorpo is also a great fixture of the performing arts, is involved in another wonderful project. The Sabrina Lastman Quartet (and they also perform as the Sabrina Lastman Trio sans the drummer) are offering up the tantalizing combination of jazz and world music. Their CD The Candombe Jazz Sessions has been issued this month and was accompanied by a CD release show at Joe’s Pub in NY. They will be also appearing on March 10th at Pregones Theater in the Bronx. Sabrina had a few minutes to spare for a small chat.
CM: Can you tell us how you got the idea for this song project?
SL: This project started many years ago, when I arrived to NYC. I was interested on creation, and wanted a project that will mostly include my own compositions (written and improvised), and arrangements of songs by other composers that I was connected to. Stylistically, I draw from a broad range of sources. And as happens to many artists after leaving their home countries, time and distance inspired me reassess my own culture in general, and Afro-Uruguayan Candombe in particular. New York made me to look at what I had to say, take a moment to look at where I came from, what was my story, and what did I have to offer. And also in exploring Candombe, I found a desire to do original work, experiment with the vocal sound and truly express myself.
In a Place I’ve Been (Live: El Museo del Barrio, NY; 6/26/08)
We were already performing together with the Quartet for several years. In 2010, I felt there was a particular group of pieces that I wanted to record, and the band was sounding great. The result of this recording is our new album “The Candombe Jazz Sessions” (ZOHO Music) released last Sunday, March 4th. at Joe’s Pub.
This recording is a bit eclectic because, my tastes are eclectic. Besides, a record is just a snapshot of an artist at certain moment. This one sums up what I’ve been doing and what I’d like to do — singing great songs, writing, exploring sound with wordless vocal music, and doing experimental work. I have a need for both, the text helps me write and in certain instances it provides inspiration. But I’ve found great freedom in wordless singing and exploring sound, so what I aim to do is to balance both approaches. It reflects the many influences that I have experienced while living in my home country Uruguay, in Israel, and in New York. In this album we play arrangements of songs by South American composers like the amazing Egberto Gismonti (Brazil) and Rubén Rada (Uruguay), being some of my own compositions inspired by the poetry of renowned South American writers like Washington Benavides and Affonso Romano de Sant’Anna. My aim is to brings those experiences – so far away from each other – to an artistic unity, showing that cultural bridges can be built.
CM: Is the element of jazz a new territory for you?
SL: I started with jazz formally speaking while with my studies at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance in Israel, in 2000. I guess it is not new, but I continue deepening on it through performing, listening to other musicians, creating, and teaching voice & singing.
CM: What are the major differences and what are the factors in common between this quartet and SoCorpo, or other wordless vocal projects?
SL: SoCorpo is mostly a vocal ensemble with Sasha Bogdanowitsch, working in the areas of new music with elements of contemporary and world music. It is a more experimental project, very intimate. We use electronics, world instruments and layers of recorded voices. It is a more wordless project with an interdisciplinary perspective: the use of visuals, movement, and theatrical elements. The Sabrina Lastman Quartet is more jazz/ South American/ classical music oriented, with experimental elements.
In both projects, the idea is to have the possibility to work with the voice as a source of sound: telling a story through text and through worldless pieces, and being able to have spaces and balance between improvisation and written music.
CM: Are there any plans to continue working with the quartet on more music, and will there be more blends with jazz on other projects?
SL: Yes. The Quartet is a very important project for me. I would like to create a new repertoire for it, as well as invite other guest musicians to play with us.
I’m planning a new project in a trio format (like a string trio…) Most of the repertoire will be music that was composed primary for other instruments. The repertoire will come from jazz, Brazilian and classical music, as well as my original material.
We are planning the recording of a new album with SoCorpo for the piece “Inelement” that we presented at Vital Vox Festival in 2011.
Another solo project I’m in the process of creation now is going to be presented this summer. The work is an interdisciplinary performance which recreates Federico García Lorca’s vital and rich world through his poems, essays, drawings, and collected songs. Lorca was a Spanish poet, playwright and researcher of Andalusian culture.
A lo lejos (Live: El Museo del Barrio, NY; 6/28/08)
Sabrina Lastman Quartet
Saturday, March 10th, 8 PM
Pregones Theater 571
575 Walton Ave
The Bronx, NY 10451