Fandango at the Wall
Fandango at the Wall
Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
with special guests Villalobos Brothers and the Congra Patria Son Jarocho Collective
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Fandango at the Wall – West Coast Tour 2021
Arturo O'Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
Arturo O'Farrill, piano and artistic director
Roman Filiu, alto sax
Adison Evans, alto sax
Iván Renta, tenor sax
Jasper Dutz, tenor sax
Larry Bustamante, baritone sax
Abdulrahman “Rocky” Amer
Jennifer Wharton, bass trombone
Vince Cherico, drums & timbales
Carlos Maldonado, percussion
Keisel Jiménez, percussion
Bam Rodríguez, bass
Conga Patria Son Jarocho Collective
Patricia Hidalgo, jarana and vocals
Ramon Gutierrez, requinto and vocals
Tacho Utrera, leona and vocals
Maria Claudia Cao Romero (Wendy), vocals, jarana, and zapateado
Fernando Guadarrama Olivera, jarana and vocals
Jorge Francisco Castillo, jarana and vocals
The Villalobos Brothers
Ernesto Villalobos, voice and violin
Alberto Villalobos, voice, violin, and viola
Luis Villalobos, voice, violin
Emily Silva, vocals
Aaron Hauser, cello
Generously supported by the Koret Foundation.
PROGRAM SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Please be considerate of others and turn off all phones, pagers, and watch alarms. Photography and recording of any kind are not permitted. Thank you.
HEALTH AND SAFETY: In accordance with Santa Clara County Public Health, masks are encouraged to be worn by all at crowded outdoor events.
El Maquech: Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
El Siquisiri: Conga Patria Son Jarocho Collective
El Cascabel: Conga Patria and Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
Xalapa Bang: Villalobos Brothers and Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
Jaiicasosebaime Noone: Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
La Morena: Conga Patria and Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
Amor Sin Fronteras: Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra with Emily Silva
Bemba y Tablao: Conga Patria
EL Pijul: Villalobos Brothers and Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
Somos Sur: Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra with Emily Silva
Cupido: Conga Patria
La Bamba: Conga Patria and Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
Conga Patria: Everyone
Day of the Dead (Día de Los Muertos) Suite: Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
About the Program
From the barrage of "breaking news" alerts on the 24-hour news cycle to the incessant buzz and chirp of social media, there's no shortage of reminders of the things that divide us: walls being built, lines being drawn, the notion of "difference" being wielded as a political weapon.
That's what makes an artist like Arturo O'Farrill such an important voice for these times. As a pianist, composer, bandleader, educator, activist, and founder of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, O'Farrill has dedicated his life to not only crossing artificial borders but to erasing them in his wake. With his latest project, Fandango at the Wall (Resilience Music Alliance: September 28, 2018), O'Farrill has created a stunningly ambitious and profoundly moving work that showcases the rich fruits that can grow from common ground.
Fandango at the Wall brings together brilliant voices from a variety of cultural and musical traditions to tear down a variety of walls that isolate us—physical, musical, or cultural. The piece was inspired by Jorge Francisco Castillo, a musician and retired librarian who has organized the Fandango Fronterizo Festival for the past decade. The annual event gathers son jarocho musicians on both sides of the border wall between Tijuana and San Diego for a celebratory jam session.
"I found that idea so touching and elegant in its activism," O'Farrill recalls. "I held it inside my soul and spoke to everyone I could about my hope to join the Fandango Fronterizo and record at the border, bringing special guests and making it a true collaboration."
O'Farrill's esteemed Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra and Castillo's son jarocho musicians came together at the border, joined by a more than 60 gifted musicians representing both sides of that divide as well as several of the countries targeted by President Trump's travel ban: Broadway singer-actress Mandy Gonzalez (Hamilton, In the Heights); jazz greats Regina Carter (violin), Akua Dixon (cello), and Antonio Sanchez (drums); multi-talented Mexican violin trio The Villalobos Brothers; son jarocho greats Patricio Hidalgo, Ramón Gutiérrez Hernández, and Tacho Utréra; French-Chilean rapper-singer Ana Tijoux; Iraqi-American oud master Rahim AlHaj and his trio; Iranian tar virtuoso Sahba Motallebi; the Young People's Chorus of NYC; and many others.
"Thinking about this awful, awful moment in history—not just American history but world history—I wanted to confront the darkness that has overcome all our lives," O'Farrill says. "Faced with such stupidity and mediocrity, why not at least try to do something valuable? My first thought was to bring not just great artists but also people from marginalized nations. We understand that humanity and community are so much stronger than cultural constructs, physical walls, or geo-political borders. We saw this in action: we saw our people fall in love with their people and become one people."
What is most striking about the music of Fandango at the Wall is that for all of the anger, frustration and strife that fueled its creation, it is an intensely joyous celebration that exults in the universal language of music. That notion has become a cliché, but it's one that O'Farrill has always thrived on making vividly and unpredictably real. Hence the surprising hybrid of approaches on display: not just a mélange of world musics, but virtuosic jazz and striking contemporary classical approaches.
"It's not just geopolitical borders that offend me," O'Farrill explains. "It's also cultural construct borders—the idea that there's a high music and a low music, a high culture and a low culture. The belief that folk music isn't as impressive or as important as jazz, or that Middle Eastern music isn't valid because it's not born in America. I wanted to destroy these walls, and in fact I found out that the presence of borders and walls and constructs serves an incredible purpose—it unites us in opposition even more than it divides us."
About the Artists
Arturo O'Farrill, pianist, composer, and educator, was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City. Arturo’s professional career began with the Carla Bley Band and continued as a solo performer with a wide spectrum of artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Bowie, Wynton Marsalis, and Harry Belafonte.
In 2007, he founded the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the performance, education, and preservation of Afro Latin music.
Arturo’s well-reviewed and highly praised “Afro-Latin Jazz Suite” from the album CUBA: The Conversation Continues (Motéma) took the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition as well as the 2016 Latin Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Recording. In addition, his composition “Three Revolutions” from the album Familia-Tribute to Chico and Bebo also received the Best Instrumental Composition Grammy in 2018. Arturo’s most recent album, Four Questions, won yet another Grammy award in 2021.
In 2020 Arturo’s weekly online concerts with the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (ALJO), dubbed “Virtual Birdland,” topped the list of 10 Best Quarantine Concerts in the New York Times. Earlier this year he and the ALJO released selections from these recordings on the album Virtual Birdland, also on Zoho.
Arturo is Professor of Global Jazz Studies and Assistant Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and has been honored as a Steinway Artist for many years.
The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra blends the drama of big band jazz, the culture of Latin music, and the virtuosity of eighteen of the world’s most accomplished solo musicians. Fifteen years of critically acclaimed performances internationally have firmly established the ALJO as a standard-bearer. Their innovative repertoire pushes the genre forward, reflecting Arturo’s dual sensibilities of contemporary, improvisational jazz, honed by his work with the likes of Carla Bley, Lester Bowie and Dizzy Gillespie, with the Latin Jazz traditions pioneered by his father, the legendary Chico O’Farrill. ALJO has collaborated with and performed the compositions of noted artists like Antonio Sanchez, Miguel Zenon, Dafnis Prieto, Randy Weston, Michele Rosewoman, Lionel Loueke, Papo Vazquez, Vijay Iyer, and many others, including Arturo himself.
Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
The non-profit Afro Latin Jazz Alliance (ALJA) was established by Arturo O'Farrill in 2007 to promote Afro Latin Jazz through a comprehensive array of performance and education programs. ALJA produces the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra's annual performance season in New York, and maintains a weekly engagement for the Orchestra at the famed jazz club Birdland. The Alliance also maintains a world-class collection of Latin jazz musical scores and recordings. ALJA's education programs include the Afro Latin Jazz Academy of Music (ALJAM), an in-school residency program serving public schools citywide with instrumental and ensemble instruction, the pre-professional youth orchestra; the Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats, which prepares the next generation of musicians, and the Global Rhythms in Our Tribe (G.R.I.O.T.); a community music program that engages underserved youth in anti-violence activities. The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance maintains an administrative office inside the historic Minisink Townhouse in Central Harlem. For more information on the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, please visit afrolatinjazz.org.
Conga Patria Son Jarocho Collective
The Conga Patria Son Jarocho Collective is an “All Star” group featuring some of the most important and influential performers in the Mexican folkloric tradition of the “Son Jarocho”, a style of music most often associated with the Vera Cruz region which is the style of Mexican music most influenced by the rhythmic roots of Africa. Coming together officially for the first time in May 2018 in Tijuana, the members of the Conga Patria Collective gathered together to participate at that year’s edition of the Fandango Fronterizo Festival, which also featured the recording and filming of the project Fandango at the Wall.
The Fandango at the Wall album, released on September 28, 2018, via Resilience Music Alliance, brought together brilliant voices from a variety of cultural and musical traditions to tear down a variety of walls that isolate us – physical, musical, or cultural. The piece was inspired by the Fandango Fronterizo Festival, which for over the past decade gathers Son Jarocho musicians on both sides of the border between Tijuana and San Diego for a celebratory jam session. This unique gathering has since been recorded and displayed in the award-winning film documentary of the same title, Fandango at the Wall, currently available on HBO and HBO Max. The album and film are co-produced by the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance.
Since that memorable gathering at the border, The Conga Patria Son Jarocho Collective has continued their creative collaboration with Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra with several remotely recorded online presentations, most notably in the Virtual Birdland program and the “Arturo O’Farrill & Borderless Friends - ShapeShifter Sessions” performance film.
Emily Silva, guest vocalist
Originally from Santa Ana Ca, Emily Silva is a fourth-year Global Jazz Studies Vocalist at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. She has been singing for the past fifteen years in various genres including commercial, classical, pop, jazz, Latin, and musical theatre, and Gospel music. She aspires to create, write, and perform music that brings Love and Joy to all who listen. Emily performed as Chiffon in the student-run Color Box Production of Little Shop of Horrors. She is currently a member of the UCLA's premier competitive a cappella group the Scattertones and recently won 1st place in the UCLA's annual school-wide audition-based Spring Sing 2021 talent competition with an original composition called "Dance in Your Love." You can find more about her @emilyysilvaa on Instagram.
The Villalobos Brothers have been acclaimed as one of today’s leading Contemporary Mexican ensembles. Their original compositions and arrangements masterfully fuse and celebrate the richness of Mexican folk music with the intricate harmonies of jazz and classical music.
The ensemble’s virtuosic performances have delighted audiences throughout Latin America, India, Russia, Canada and in more than 30 states across the US. They have performed in historic venues and events including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Latin Grammy Awards, Davies Symphony Hall, Montreal Jazz Festival, the Ford Theatre in Hollywood, the 60th Anniversary of the United Nations, the New Victory Theatre on Broadway, San Jose Jazz Fest, Celebrate Brooklyn, the 66th FIFA Congress in Mexico City, the Blue Note Jazz Festival and the Apollo Theatre.
In 2018, they joined forces with Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra for the “Fandango at the Wall” project. This ambitious undertaking, produced by Kabir Sehgal, united legendary international musicians for a live concert at the Tijuana-San Diego border wall which resulted in a live album and documentary film released in 2019.
The Villalobos Brothers recently premiered their Symphonic Project, performing sold-out concerts with both the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and the Walla Walla Symphony.
The ensemble has collaborated with legendary musicians including Grammy winners Bruce Springsteen, Dolly Parton, Antonio Sánchez, Regina Carter, Eduardo Magallanes, Dan Zanes, Sierra Hull, and Ana Tijoux.
The Villalobos Brothers are actively touring the United States, delivering a powerful message of love, brotherhood and social justice with brilliance, cadence and virtuosity. Their latest album Somos was released in 2019.
Generously supported by the Koret Foundaton.