"Great vibe. Great atmosphere. Great dancing. Matt & Phred's Jazz Club was bumping and grinding on Thursday night... where were YOU???
We all agreed that there was a different energy about the band on Thursday night. In a positive way! Perhaps because we premiered 4 new original compositions, and for the 1st time played a set that was 2/3 originals and 1/3 covers... Diáspora is sounding less like a 'salsa band' and more like a 'band' - it is forming its own identity... Still brilliant on playing traditional and contemporary salsa and Latin jazz, nonetheless, Diáspora is taking the music in a more rootsy, original direction.
How to describe our sound? I'm not so sure... I guess that your average music aficionado will not take immediately to the term 'fusion' and perhaps it is easier to apply hooks such as 'Latin' and 'salsa' to understand where we are coming from... But at the same time, these will instantly strike up comparisons and conventions against which we do not want to be critiqued.
Diáspora is effectively a fun, colourful band that play groovy, funky rhythms and jazzy chords, with catchy soulful melodies and refrains. We play music to make people happy, to make people dance, and to make people feel TRANSPORTED. Yes there are open repeated sections upon which we can unleash the dragon, but there are also transition moments which move the music into another realm!
The music of Diáspora could be essentially a dialogue between Ango-American pop and Afro-Latin rhythms. But it is more than that. We try to encourage a cosmopolitan mix, not only with the musicians who we work with, but in the collision of influences itself. We like to sprinkle in sounds from other destinations from which we've borrowed, but we never like to tell you where these destinations are - we would rather leave that to your imagination!
It's all about creating the sounds and sensations that we and you want to hear and feel, and then fusing it in the sparking dialogues between structure and improvisation...
A bit about the new songs themselves...
Conundrum is a crazy funk problem that goes around in circles. The [C] section of this song is adapted from a composition that I wrote when I was 17 called 'Number 2' which I played with Downfield Jazz Ensemble ('Jazz Cats') during my school days. The [A] and [B] sections came about when I was walking up and down the stairs in my student halls in Fallowfield, Manchester, when I was 22. The [D] section was done in 2010 when I first wrote Conundrum (but it was never performed). I basically put all 4 sections together to create the problem which is why it sounds like 4 completely different compositions in 1.
Lullaby (In Dying Light) was written in half an hour on a beautiful winter sunday, when I should have been out running in the park! It was written late afternoon, while it was getting dark (hence, In Dying Light). Alyss wrote the lyrics which fit the song perfectly!
Superstarlight was originally written when I was around 14 / 15. I was listening to a lot of European / American rock music around that time, which is why the song has a definite rock / pop sound to it, especially with the piano figure in the intro / break sections. I reworked this song in the summer of 2010, but I did not think that it was suitable for Diáspora at the time because of its bittersweet nature. But we decided to risk it, and actually it works great because all the rest of our songs are so happy and upbeat anyway that it makes a nice change to have something that is a bit more mellowed out.
Sign of Love was written in on 30 April last year (2011), the night before that crazy 3-hour 11-piece band gig that we played at Matt & Phred's. We had just been rehearsing the brass section, and I was just playing around on the piano amidst a flat littered with chairs and coffee cups when this song just came to me! 15 minutes later, I had it all scribbled out. I've still got the scribbled mess, but you won't be able to read it! The montuno and breaks sections came later."
The gig featured Alyss Rose (vocals), Rory Duffy (alto saxophone, flute), Andy Stamatakis-Brown (piano), Will McGee (bass), Jack McCarthy (drums) and Arturo Aranguen (congas).
Our friend Grevel Lindop (www.grevel.co.uk) popped by and he said "Great gig last night at Matt and Phred's - so much energy! Keep it going and let's have another gig soon with the whole band! ¡Hay na' ma'!" and we also met M&P new salsa teacher Jordan Toderov.
The band is currently working on 3 timba style compositions (Creeping, Follow Me and Reggae-Reggae-Reggaeton provisional titles) plus in May, you'll get to hear James' song Emigra ("Without your visa you are nothing and no one / they use and abuse you like a dog on the run").
Thanks SO MUCH to everyone for coming down and supporting, it was a real pleasure to play for you all! Looking forward to more of what 2012 has to offer. Stay tuned!
PS - happy April :-)
UNITED IN THE LATIN BEAT