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Imani Winds - Welcome to the South!

That was quite a trip!

Welcome to the South!  Not that South:  no mint juleps or Spanish moss. This South included a tour conducted by Imani Winds, and it was all cachasas and  picante. No passport needed; just imagination and enjoyment of five master musicians who performed the music of six composers with whom you may not have been on familiar terms. Of course, you’ve met Hector Villa Lobos and Astor Piazzolla. Their vibrant, evocative music is often performed – but not these compositions. And are you on good terms with Pixinguinha, the musician of futbol? I didn’t think so!

The sonorities, the complicated rhythms and the intertwined melodic lines demonstrate a level of perfection rarely if ever achieved by a wind quintet. 

Sunday’s concert was really a trip. Accompanied on the journey by a gold flute played by Brandon Patrick George; an oboe played by Toyin Spellman-Diaz; a clarinet with Mark Dover at the reed; a horn played by Kevin Newton; and, bringing up the sonority, a bassoon played by Monica Ellis, Imani Winds delivered a memorable performance. From the slightly jazz-tinged La Fleur de Cayenne by Paquito D’Rivera right through to a pair of spicy tangos by Piazzolla, the Imani covered a broad swath of Latin America. In a program entitled “De Memorias: A Latin Perspective,” the quintet lived up to its press raves.  They are versatile, masters of instruments which are not the easiest to play, especially as played by this quintet.  Their selections were often playful, but always deeply felt.  The sonorities, the complicated rhythms and the intertwined melodic lines demonstrate a level of perfection rarely if ever achieved by a wind quintet. And the energy and pure joy with which they performed this unique music was evident.

They manifest an understanding of Latin American music as it is today.  (Not your father’s samba!)

For 20 years, Imani has been adventurous, to say the least.  Their sound is dynamic, their repertoire is new and daring.  They manifest an understanding of Latin American music as it is today.  (Not your father’s samba!) To adventure with them to places you have heard of but never experienced is mind opening.  Sunday’s concert was certainly a trip!

They have been nominated for a Grammy and – stay tuned – they’ll probably acquire one.

– E Doyle