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SIMBEQUE project, vol III

Simbeque project can currently be found in the spotlight of the latest Canarian folk music scene. The band is made up of eleven musicians from the different islands in the Canary Island archipelago. These musicians have a remarkably wide musical trajectory on both the local, national and international scene. This Canarian band delves into the depths of Canarian Folk music whilst paying special attention to its most purest of sounds. They defend its contemporaneity and the idea of internationalization as did other folk music such as the Cuban Son, Brazilian music or Flamenco, with much success. By bringing together and fusioning jazz, rock, electronics, funk or drum and bass in their arrangements they have created the ‘Simbequenian sound’. Thanks to this phenomenon they are connecting to a diverse audience that goes beyond the usual labels or the initial interest in the Canary Island culture.

Amongst some of the festivals and stages that have hosted Simbeque Project are Fenway Center (Boston, EE.UU); Auditorio Alfredo Kraus (Gran Canaria);XXVII Festival Internacional Canarias Jazz & Más Heineken (Tenerife); Espacio Cultural Aguere (Tenerife); XXIX Memorial Nanino Díaz Cutillas (Gran Canaria); Semana Internacional de Jazz – La Laguna or Natura Jazz 2017 (Tenerife).

The group began their career in 2015, starting out as a practice combo for teachers and students belonging to the Asociación Sociocultural Musical Mousikê (Sociocultural Association Mousike music). In the Archipelago this association is an important reference point and is known for its pedagogical work providing information, teaching and enrichment in the field of modern music and in its work in bringing people closer to some of the lesser known areas of music. And now three years later Simbeque Project, led by guitarist and creative director of this association Miguel Manescau, has released two CDs Simbeque project vol. I (2016) and Simbeque project vol. II (2018). Both of which are enjoying success with listeners and the media.

n their discography they maintain words and traditional melodies that have been handed down through the generations and mix these with a fusion of a range of music which the band members have grown up with: funk, rock, jazz , electronics and drum and bass.

Simbeque project vol. I brings together the most pre-hispanic part of Canarian folk music, which has more African and Bereber influences. All the arrangements were composed by their musical director and were recorded, mixed and remastered at Superstereo Recording Studios (Tenerife).

The Second CD Simbeque project vol. II was recorded in New York, Boston and Tenerife. Here we find a continuation of the definition of the fusion of roots sounds together with eclectic elements from modern music and the idea of internationalization whilst external visons of Canarian folk music are explored. For this Simbeque have been able to count on the collaboration of excellent musicians from various parts of the world and discover new sound palettes. Above all, there has been a step forward in the learning process and an enrichment through these valuable and wide ranging visions.

Simbeque project is evolving. With each step forward they are coming closer to the philosophy and the sonority that they have been dreaming of. Tradition, vanguardia, music and poetry come together in this second volume, which differs from the first in that all the musicians have taken part in the arrangements. The featured musicians , an idiosyncrasy of the CD, are the Brazilians Munir Hossn (bass) and Alan Sousa (percussion); Cadiz born Antonio Lizana ( alto sax and vocals); Lanzarote born Diego Barber (classical guitar), Jonathan Kreisberg (electric and acoustic guitars) and Mark Lomanno (piano), both from USA, all bringing to bear yet more freshness and internationalization , if that be possible!

The tracks on Simbeque project vol. II, do not adhere to preconceived ideas, on the one hand there has been a desire to complete a cycle including songs from the different islands in the archipelago. They were guided by the musical possibilities that the original pieces offered and opened up and that have in turn brought about the development of a ‘Simbequian sound’, which has subsequently served to bring to fruition the project and the development of the personal seal pertaining to the project.

n this vein we should highlight the setting to music of the poem “La lluvia viene cantando” written Josefa de la Torre (Gran Canaria). This work puts the female figure in the spotlight and continues where a previous piece of work left off, in which Simbeque Project reinterpreted “Tambor de sequías”, a poem set to music by the Sabendeños some while ago.

Also worth noting is Beatriz Alonso´s participation as lyricist in “El Baile del Santo”. In this piece the aesthetics and structure of the original are conserved. Here the vocalist verbalizes a central theme around which the Simbeque philosophy revolves: “The customs of the old folk should not be left behind / the customs of the old folks should not be left behind/ this is the dance of the saint, the one they used to dance; the ideas of the younger ones should be respected too”. Another song that highlights the freshness and determination of this lyricist is “Romance palmero”: “Shout out loud, you are free to build bridges and pathways (…)”

Simbeque, semilla que germina