Monday 9 December, 2019

Etienne Charles explores Venezuelan roots in Creole Christmas concert

Photo by Sarah Escarraz

Photo by Sarah Escarraz

Internationally celebrated son of the soil Etienne Charles will return to the stage in Trinidad on Thursday 5th December 2019 for the concert Creole Christmas 2.0: Venezuelan Roots at Lord Kitchener Auditorium, NAPA.   

Creole Christmas 2.0: Venezuelan Roots is a musical celebration of the Christmas season with an emphasis on the myriad influences from our closest neighbouring country and is timely considering the number of Venezuelan migrants now resident here.

The concert will feature special guests including New York-based folk singer Betsayda Machado who is known as ‘the Voice of Venezuela’ and has been hailed by New York Times as “vital, accomplished, local, unplugged, deeply rooted”, World-Renowned Trombone soloist, composer and recording artist Wycliffe Gordon,”, and local favourite Relator who alongside Wycliffe Gordon was featured on Charles’ 2015 classic album, Creole Christmas. 

Known for his powerhouse performances and first-rate bands, Charles has assembled a uniquely stellar line-up of musicians for this concert.  Returning to Trinidad will be his long-time collaborators Sullivan Fortner (piano) who recently won a Grammy Award for his work with Cecile McLorin Salvant, Haitian-American saxophonist Godwin Louis and the exciting dynamic, Latin Grammy Award-winning Venezuelan cuatro virtuoso Jorge Glem.  Coming to Trinidad for the first time will be Israeli bassist Or Bareket, young drumset phenom Savannah Harris and Venezuelan percussionist Daniel Prim. 

“This concert is a reunion. This concert is family, love and fellowship through music.  The energy of the Christmas season in T&T is palpable and I can’t wait to celebrate with so many amazing musicians,” said Charles.

In addition to his dynamic performances, Charles has become well-known for his arrangements, specifically those to feature vocalists.  Creole Christmas 2.0 will showcase his myriad arranging styles for this ensemble and its guests. 

In March 2019, Charles was featured in the New York Times for the worldwide release of his landmark album Carnival: The Sound of a People Vol. 1.  He was described as having “developed a magnetic sound on trumpet — clear and mellifluous, with a deep sense of economy; redolent of both Roy Hargrove and Chocolate Armenteros — and he’s becoming a composer to be reckoned with”

Charles most recent tour included Madrid, Paris, London, Munich, Trieste, Martinique, St. Vincent, New York, Accra (Ghana), Cotonou (Benin), Gainesville (FL) and Miami (FL). 

Charles has appeared on stages with notable musicians including Wynton Marsalis, Monty Alexander, Gerald Wilson, Roberta Flack, Frank Foster, the Count Basie Orchestra, Maria Schneider, Johnny Mandel, and Benny Golson.

Charles has won numerous awards including the Sunshine Award (2018), Jazz at Lincoln Center Millennial Swing Award (2016), Florida State University Reuben O'D Askew Young Alumni Award (2016), Michigan State University Teacher Scholar Award (2016), John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in the Creative Arts (2015), Caribbean Heritage Trailblazer Award (2013), US Congressional Record (2012), The Juilliard School William Schuman Prize (2008).  In 2015 he was the youngest Inductee into the Fatima College alumni hall of fame.

Creole Christmas 2.0: Venezuelan Roots will be presented by Monlo Music Ltd on Thursday, December 5 at 7pm at NAPA. Tickets are $300TTD. Ticket hotline 682-1070.

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