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Reviews Dayron Ortiz in his tribute concert to Marta Valdés. Photo: Susan Leal. Dayron Ortiz in his tribute concert to Marta Valdés. Photo: Susan Leal.

From Dayron Ortiz to Marta Valdés: a tribute to feeling

They said she would be present at the tribute concert that guitarist Dayron Ortiz would dedicate to her during the Jazz Plaza Festival. So I arrived very early at the theater. The sound check prolonged my existence in one of the seats of the Covarrubias hall. It had been a while since I had been in here. It's dry cold, the lights still don't match well with the projection and the music. Cry, for what you never were.... sounds melodically on Dayron's guitar. I, inside, am happy and warm; it's one of my favorite Marta songs. 

She, who has given her all for Cuban music, who has always been a reference for me -for her confident voice, with her passionate way of rubatoing harmonic progressions, with her strong and unique timbre on the guitar-; she, composer and performer, sometimes fragile, sometimes scornful and powerful, is the absolute inspiration of this concert. In times of Shakiras, there is a Marta Valdés. Many have sung her, covered her, paid tribute to her. It is only fair that they continue to do so. Her imprint still has a strong impact (and a lot) on the young generations.

Finally, the concert begins: 

song from another world. The background images are blurred, like the sensations that this almost rock version leaves you with. The format is well defined, the percussion sets sound like two spaceships about to explode. 

Now playing on the electroacoustic guitar En la imaginación along with the first guest of the evening, trumpeter Mayquel Gonzalez. He has an airy sound; there are phrases that I don't quite understand, but I think it's part of his improvisational style and musical personality. What a pleasure to hear jazz again in this space, what a pleasure to hear it in these voices, some new and some not so new. I fondly remember the last edition of the Jazz Plaza Festival, but today, living the event a little more from the inside, I think it starts off on the right foot and with very good music. 

Dayron Ortiz and Mayquel González. Photo: Susan Leal.

Dayron Ortiz and Mayquel González. Photo: Susan Leal.

Now a nice atmosphere is created with the entrance of the coros (Gabriela Díaz Miranda, Annys Batista and Nurimar Asunción) which, by the way, blend perfectly. The harmonies are very open are one size. There is a tremendous energy and Dayron is getting more and more loose with the guitar, he is feeling more at ease, in his habitat; the sound picks up everything and the delicate work of each arrangement is noticeable. 

At times I feel like I'm in the countryside, outdoors, with nature. I hadn't mentioned it, but the theater is packed. Someone says that Marta is enjoying the concert from the backstage(At some point in the end she will come out on stage, say thank you and embrace Dayron with a long, sincere, touching hug).

But now it's time to improvise and Arthur Luis Álvarez on piano makes his debut in this concert with La Tropa. This guy never ceases to amaze me. I have seen him playing everything: funk, timba, jazz. He feels the music of Valdés in the best way, from his harmonic accompaniment work to his more experimental melodic thinking.

The vibe is beautiful on stage. The lights change, everyone finds safe refuge in their instruments and in the melodies that Marta gives through her songs. I must say that Dayron's instrumental arrangements of these songs that have passed the test of time, are very good: she gives them her essence, her distinctive sound, that proposal that she has been offering to the public for several years, full of textures and feelings.

Do not pay attention and Easy song  flew by. There are times when it is impossible for me to write and listen attentively at the same time. And I have come to enjoy the music.

Dayron Ortiz in his tribute concert to Marta Valdés. Photo: Susan Leal.

Dayron Ortiz in his tribute concert to Marta Valdés. Photo: Susan Leal.

 Arrives I play to forget you and between lights of purple tones the sounds of the tenor sax of the next guest, Emir Santa Cruz, are dispersed. There is humility in his playing, which combines with the improvisations of Armando Osuna and Jorge Coayo on percussion. Each one will have a leading role during a concert that they masterfully set the mood.

Piano and guitar sounds Like a river, in the manner of Rodrigo García Ameneiro at the piano. How beautiful! A moment full of subtleties, motifs elaborated with the utmost precision and detail. Then Annys joins us, whom I only knew through social networks, but had never heard live. In her melancholic and subtle voice, I hear the river running. The canvas is perfect. 

Too much to ask, me I also say at the moment of welcoming Ernán López-Nussa on stage with Dayron Ortiz and La Tropa. It surprises me for good how Ernán, so supposedly consecrated, links his passions with those of the new generations and does not stop doing for Cuban music and jazz, both inside and outside the island. 

All the songs have the same calm and although they are very different, they bear the stamp of the guitarist's productions. The arrangements combine with the harmonic wisdom of Marta's repertoire; some songs not so well known by the public can be heard along with others of worldwide scope. Dayron leaves for the closing Tú no sospechas and WordsThe album has been interpreted and recorded before by excellent singers such as Elena Burke, Miriam Ramos, Haydée Milanés and Gema Corredera.

Dayron Ortiz and Marta Valdés. Photo: Susan Leal.

Dayron Ortiz and Marta Valdés. Photo: Susan Leal.


Marta Valdés, about the tribute concert given in her honor by Dayron Ortiz

Cry opens a wound in my life that closes in the mature voice of Marta Valdés. Now, in this version that I listen to at the Covarrubias, Gabriela experiments with the pedalboard and the violin seems to have the timbre of a guitar. During the concert she has equalized her instrument at will, supporting the timbres of the protagonist of the evening. It is the most improvisational theme. Dayron sways while he feels, Julio Cesar Gonzalez is contagious on the bass, until they all end up in a small percussive fanfare.

This feast of the senses is almost over, but with Tú no sospechas the magic does not break. Gabriela Díaz from the violin gives us the beautiful melody of this theme. At the end, there is a sepulchral silence in the hall and seconds later the maximum applause of the audience breaks. 

The delicacy of the love and heartbreak songs that typify the work of this great composer were the leitmotiv of the night. In closing, Dayron thanked his musicians and all those who made it possible for his dream of interpreting Marta Valdés to finally come true.

And it sounds Words. This time in 6/8 tempo, in guaguancó. Words, words that the coristas take advantage of to insert in subtle vocal games fragments of other works of the author. Words that run wordlessly through Arthur's keyboards, Julio César's bass, Dayron's improvisations and the marked rhythm of the percussions and go down to the seats and find us mute and with our souls in suspense, as if we were also, each one of us in the audience, embraced by the composer and the interpreter from the stage. 

Avatar photo Meily Tellez Always running around Havana. A nervous one who falls asleep watching series. Her time is for music and her family. She dreams of producing and singing on many stages. A musicologist with roles wanting to be many things... More posts

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