Latin Divas: Eliana Cuevas and Valeria Matzner @ Lula Lounge, Toronto [23 October]

Latin Divas: Eliana Cuevas and Valeria Matzner

20:00 - 01:00

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Lula Lounge
1585 Dundas West, Toronto, Ontario M6K1T9
Eliana Cuevas
Through years of touring around the world, across Canada, and collaborating with Juno Award-winning performers, Eliana Cuevas has grown into an accomplished singer-songwriter and bandleader with unlimited colours in her compositional and lyrical palette. Among her honours are the National Jazz Award for Latin Jazz Artist of the Year (2009), a nomination for Best World Music Solo Artist at the Canadian Folk Music Awards (2008), a Toronto Independent Music Award for Best World Music Artist (2007), a nomination for Best Latin Song (‘Llegó from ESPEJO) at the Independent Music Awards (2014) and, most recently, an Independent Music Award for Best Latin Album for ESPEJO (2014), and another Toronto Independent Music Award for Best World Music Artist (2014).

Born to a musical family in Venezuela, Cuevas grew up to the sounds of salsa, pop and Brazilian music, writing her first song by the age of 9. After moving to Toronto, she boldly began using a fake ID to play the city's top jazz clubs despite being underage. Singing for Brazilian, flamenco and jazz ensembles influenced her eclectic sound on her debut EP Cohesión (2001) and first two albums, Ventura (2004) and Vidas (2007). Her engaging voice and songwriting on topics from adventure to forgiveness wowed the local music scene, hailing Cuevas as «Canada’s emerging Latin music queen» (680 News).

Acclaim spread internationally as Cuevas played festivals and theatres in countries from Venezuela to Germany. Following her second album Vidas (2007), Minor Music Records released in Europe an anthology of her music: Luna Llena (2009). She has performed with Juno-winning Latin artists Alex Cuba, Jesse Cook and Jane Bunnett. Cuevas also continues to collaborate with diverse ensembles including Caribbean Jazz powerhouse CaneFire, the Jorge Miguel Flamenco Ensemble, and Juno-nominated jazz composer Darren Sigesmund, touring venues as far as Australia and Japan.

Her latest album Espejo (2013) is a true testament to Cuevas' growth as an artist. Shaped by her international performances and work with acclaimed artists, Espejo seamlessly blends genres from blues to pop with Cuevas' signature soaring vocals and Latin jazz sound. Ingenious producer and composer Jeremy Ledbetter played a key role in encouraging Cuevas to push her creative boundaries on the album, resulting in an eclectic and captivating musical journey.

«Llegó,» Cuevas' funkiest number, describes the excitement of starting a new journey with a driving bass as strong as her voice and an irresistible drum beat. «El Tucusito» demonstrates her full vocal range amidst a blend of jazz and the fast-paced traditional Venezuelan rhythm of «joropo:» Ledbetter composed the track specifically to showcase Cuevas’ vocal range and skills. The lead single «Melancolía» is a moving story of the hardships of immigration told with delicate vocals and piano. With songs describing everything from her daughter Leila to life after death, Espejo is truly Cuevas' most dynamic work.

And more good things are on the way — Cuevas is back in the studio recording her fourth full-length album “Golpes Y Flores” set to be released in the fall of 2017. She has written some fine new songs for it and they include a powerful number confronting the current economical crisis in Venezuela, a song inspired by the beauty of Algonquin park and another that celebrates the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity. In fact, despite Eliana’s fabulous voice, it is her songwriting that makes her a unique presence on Canada’s music scene. Whether you hear Cuevas online, on a recording or in person, you're sure to be spirited away by the versatile powers of her sound, words and soul.

Valeria Matzner
Born and raised in Uruguay, in the veins of this eclectic singer/songwriter flow the rhythms and melodies of her native South America. The excitement of Brazilian samba, the sweet seductiveness of bossa nova and the passion of tango insinuate their way into her music. Valeria is releasing her solo album entitled Anima in the fall of 2017 supported by Scott Metcalfe on piano, Max Senitt on drums and Scott Kemp on bass.

Since arriving in Canada Valeria has collaborated with many accredited artists such as Juno award winners Hilario Duran, Darren Sigesmund, Aleksandar Gajic, Darryl Jahnke, Celso Machado, Salvador Ferreras and Lache Cercel among many others. Valeria has also performed at numerous recognized music festivals The Vancouver International Jazz Festival, The Vancouver Folk Music Festival, The Toronto Jazz Festival, The Sacred Music Festival, Shambhala Music Festival, New Forms Festival, The Victoria Jazz Festival and the Beaches Jazz Festival, among others, as well as at various national and international jazz venues in New York, Montreal, Vancouver, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Manila, Tokyo and Toronto. In 2007 Valeria recorded live for CBC Radio as part of the Jazz Series in Vancouver and in 2008 she performed for the International Association for Jazz Education Conference in Toronto alongside many international and national artists.
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