Entertainment

Jazz artist well versed in flamenco dance/singing

Latin-Canadian singer-songwriter-guitarist Stephanie Pedraza brings her band to the Vernon Jazz  Club Saturday. - photo submitted
Latin-Canadian singer-songwriter-guitarist Stephanie Pedraza brings her band to the Vernon Jazz Club Saturday.
— image credit: photo submitted

The Vernon Jazz Club will be moving to the beat as Latin singer, songwriter, and guitarist Stephanie Pedraza warms up the stage Saturday, Jan. 25.

Pedraza will be joined by Andre Stepanian on both acoustic and electric guitar, Brent Gubbels on acoustic and electric bass, and Lyndon De Witt on drums and percussion.

The band will be showcasing tunes from Latin America, some originals, as well as songs made popular by Ketama and Santana.

Pedraza is a unique combination of singer, songwriter, flamenco dancer, and cantaora, a traditional type of flamenco singing. She was born into a Latin-American family who moved to Colombia when she was young.

Although she did return to Canada, she remained fully immersed in her Latin roots of song and dance. This explains why her original compositions are a seamless blend of traditional Latin rhythms, pop, and jazz, with both English and Spanish lyrics.

Her album Where I Rest, released in 2011, has been featured on CBC Radio as well as on the CBC stage during the Vancouver Jazz Festival. She also released a musical video for the song Brisa.

Pedraza was one of the 70 selected musicians out of 1,500 artists to take part in the Bogota Music Market, one of Latin America’s biggest music platforms for artists to network with music buyers and record labels, including Sony Records, Warner Music, and Rhythm Foundation.

She has lit up the stage at numerous festivals including Expolatino Calgary, The Harmony Arts Festival, Cultural Blast, and both the Vancouver and Calgary International Flamenco Festival to name but a few.

Stepanian is currently involved in several music projects including The Sumalao Latin Band.

During his college years, he teamed up with fellow guitarist Martin Simpson to form the band Alma Libre. As a member of Alma Libre, he released two successful albums, opened for the Rite of Strings at the Vancouver du Maurier Jazz Festival and performed with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. The group was also nominated for Best World Release and Best Instrumental Release from the West Coast Music Awards.

Gubbles has been a Vancouver-based professional musician and teacher for more than 20 years. He has performed with multiple orchestras across the country such as the Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, and Regina Symphony Orchestras. He has toured extensively throughout North America and Europe and has graced the stage at innumerable festivals.

He can be heard on recordings by Gypsalero, Juno nominees Susan Crowe, Compadres and the Hard Rubber Orchestra as well as Juno winners James Keelaghan and Oscar Lopez.

De Witt was raised in Vancouver and born in Columbo, Sri Lanka. He began playing drums at the age of seven and later enrolled in the Douglas College music program where he had a chance to take private lessons with Vancouver’s great Sal Ferreras.

De Witt is currently playing with Pedraza and Doug Towle and can be found teaching private drum lessons in White Rock.

Their music can be heard at www.stephaniepedraza.com.

Stephanie Pedraza takes the stage at the Vernon Jazz Club (3000-31st St.) Saturday, Jan. 25 at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:15. Tickets are $20 at the Bean Scene, Bean to Cup and at www.vernonjazz.ca.

 

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