Harpist Edmar Castaneda brings wholly original voice to jazz

Harpist Edmar Castaneda brings wholly original voice to jazz 

Colombian virtuoso headlines Passport Series—Music Haven at Proctors

7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30

SCHENECTADY, N.Y.—NOV. 19, 2018—Since arriving in the United States in 1994, Colombian-born harp virtuoso Edmar Castaneda has forged his own distinctive path in music. He brings not only an unfamiliar instrument but a wholly original voice to jazz, branching out into a world of different styles and genres.

Castaneda headlines Passport Series—Music Haven at Proctors, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30.

His wide-ranging career has been remarkable for discovering a brilliant role for the harp in jazz, then continuing to innovate and spark creativity from a wealth of formidable collaborations. His latest disc, Live in Montreal, features the latest in an ever-growing history of thrilling partnerships, an utterly unique duo with the electrifying Japanese pianist Hiromi.

Castaneda, who took up the harp as a teenager to play the folkloric music of his homeland, was ushered into the jazz community by Paquito D’Rivera, who recognized Castaneda’s passion and took the young harpist under his wing. D’Rivera has called him “an enormous talent.”

“Edmar has the versatility and the enchanting charisma of a musician who has taken his harp out of the shadow to become one of the most original musicians from the Big Apple.”

Castaneda, indeed, has taken New York and the world stage by storm with the sheer force of his virtuosic command of the harp, revolutionizing the way audiences and critics alike consider an instrument commonly relegated to the “unusual category.”

The amazing Banda Magda follows Castaneda in the series (Friday, Feb. 15), fearlessly moving from samba to French chanson, from Greek folk tunes to Colombian cumbia and Afro-Peruvian lando. 

And Zimbabwe’s Mokoomba closes the season (Thursday, April 11) with a Music Haven reprise of traditional Tonga, Luvale, & Nyanja sounds laced with international styles from soukous to soul. Mokoomba opened the 2014 summer season in Central Park, making its North American debut while wowing a large, happy, dancing crowd. The band will shake the walls at the GE Theatre.

Tickets to entries in the Passport Series, $25, are available the Box Office at Proctor, 432 State Street, Schenectady; by phone at 518.346.6204; and online at proctors.org.