216 union street
Seattle, Washington 98101


Genre: Vocal music from all over Latin America with a heavy dose of jazz.

Related Artists: Orchestra Zarabanda, Hermeto Pascoal, Airto Moreira and Flora Purim, Sergio Mendes

Join us for a lively evening of Funky Latin Jazz!

Elspeth’s interest in African roots music began in childhood with an obsession for Scott Joplin’s rags, but she later became immersed in classical voice studies, earning a BA in Music from Wesleyan University. She was still primarily performing classical music when she had her first significant encounter with Cuban music; it was an epiphany. The rhythmic counterpoint and call-and-response between the akpwon (lead singer) and ankori (chorus) were exciting and powerful, and in the ensuing weeks Elspeth put her classical voice training aside in order to focus on congas, Cuban dance, folkloric Cuban song, and Spanish language. "Concentrating most of my early efforts on drumming was a good decision," Elspeth explains. "Nothing could have better informed my singing in this style."

Elspeth has been singing for and directing Orchestra Zarabanda for the better part of a decade. Zarabanda has been her primary training ground, providing hundreds of performances and two major recording projects, although she has sung for a variety of other ensembles along the way. Not surprisingly, Elspeth’s new release features many members of Orchestra Zarabanda, as well as special guests Jovino Santos Neto, Marco de Carvalho and Anthony Blea, with whom Elspeth is honored to have had the opportunity to record.

Latin Soul is Elspeth’s newest project, and it allows her to draw on her rhythmic and improvisatory background while traversing a wide breadth of Latin American styles and vocal colors. One of the most satisfying aspects of Latin Soul is its profoundly skilled ensemble, which consists of Jovino Santos Neto (piano and accordion), Chris Stover (trombone), Jeff Busch (percussion) and Jeff Norwood (bass). "With a group that has this kind of collective skill and responsiveness, almost anything can happen during a performance. Unexpected moments of beauty materialize, drawing the audience in and energizing the whole room with the pure joy of it."

Jovino Santos Neto is one of the world’s musical treasures who has come to roost locally, teaching at Cornish, curating the voluminous and fascinating work of his mentor Hermeto Pascoal and continuing to pursue his own muse.

A native Brazilian, Santos Neto took up the piano at 12 and developed an early taste for prog-rock from King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. At a tender age, he found himself playing with Hermeto Pascoal, a towering, idiosyncratic figure in Brazilian music. Santos Neto stayed 15 years, from 1977 to 1992. He later toured with Sergio Mendes for a year and was a member of the Airto Moreira/Flora Purim group Fourth World for four years.

As thoroughly grounded as he is in Brazilian music, he is no slave to authenticity. He says: "I am more interested in how the grooves are built in the...collective interaction that happens all the time with this band."

For more information, visit www.elspethsavani.com and www.jovisan.net