“Feral, virtuosic and breathtakingly fast.” – New York Music Daily
The video for “Fandango: Prueba de Fuego,” the opening song on the Cristina Pato Quartet’s latest album, Latina, begins as the band walks into a bar in New York City over a skittering 6/8 drum beat. Barstools have been pushed to the side as the band nestles in a corner. After a brief fill by Pato, the band erupts. A flurry of notes pour out of her gaita (Galician bagpipes); Victor Prieto’s accordion adds a rollicking accompaniment; drummer Eric Doob continues that propulsive, lopsided beat; and bassist Edwardo Perez anchors everything with complex, but grounded, bass lines. The tune tumbles through various solos, simultaneously referencing jazz, tango, Balkan dance bands, Celtic pipe tunes, music from all over Pato’s native Spain, and who knows what else. The music exhorts us to dance, and all that the video is missing is a crowd to heed that call.
While not every song on Latina packs such a ferocious punch, each contains the same cross-cultural, kinetic DNA. None of which is surprising given Pato’s musical history. She has always operated in the space between genres and traditions, playing with musicians as diverse as Arturo O’Farrill, the Chieftains, and Paquito D’Rivera. At the same time, she is also working to build the repertoire for gaita and orchestra, and she has performed with orchestras around the world. Unsurprisingly, she’s been described as “one of the living masters of the gaita” by the Wall Street Journal. On top of that, she’s also an accomplished pianist in an equally wide range of styles.
Attentive Carolina Performing Arts patrons will recognize her as a member of the Silk Road Ensemble and from her appearances last season with Abigail Washburn and Lil Buck. That long association with CPA culminates here in her sixth performance in Chapel Hill, her first as a band leader.
About that band, we left them just as the drummer was finishing a clattering solo with the band about to fly through the main theme one final time. Accordion countermelodies chime beneath the pinched tones of the gaita, and the whole whirling contraption ends with a flourish. A moment passes and Pato lets out a small, enthusiastic cry, a final overflowing of the song’s—and the band’s, and Pato’s—brimming energy, a promise of more to come.
Friday, November 3 at 1 PM
Armfield Atrium, Michael Hooker Research Center
The Gillings School of Global Public Health and Carolina Performing Arts invite you to a talk and Q&A with world-class artist and interdisciplinary educator Cristina Pato. Internationally acclaimed Galician bagpipe master, classical pianist and passionate educator, Pato has built her career on transcending national, cultural, artistic, and disciplinary boundaries. After a short talk by Pato, Dr. Lewis Margolis will discuss with Pato how her interdisciplinary and global work in the arts and education Cristina intersect with global public health. The Cristina Pato Quartet will be performing their latest work, Latina, in Memorial Hall at 8pm on November 3rd.