January 2007

De Ti Ya No
Quiero Na’

Read our review
of Baile


Read our review
of Ojalà
Pablo Mayor – Folklore Urbano
January 12, 2007Lula LoungeToronto
Report by Amanda Martinez with photos by Roger Humbert
Toronto’s dinner crowd at Lula Lounge seemed to be warming up the room for the much-anticipated Folklore Urbano led by Pablo Mayor from New York City. Before the show began most of Lula’s audience were on the dance floor following dance teacher Miko’s lead. By the time the 11 piece band took the stage the full house was ready to be transported to Colombia.

The show began with the haunting sound of the gaita flute played by Ronald Polo and the slow steady rhythms of the alegre drum. Almost immediately the full house was seduced by the smooth vocals of Polo singing “Dobladillo a la lengua”, one of the highlights on Folklore’s latest album Baile.

Although the group had arrived from Montreal just hours before taking the stage, their infectious energy showed no sign of waning. Sheer joy was on the faces of the band members including the three guests who joined them from Toronto; Nick ‘Brownman’ Ali on trumpet, Bernardo Padron on Alto Sax and Marcus Ali on Baritone sax. All three local artists seamlessly fit into the group, each having the opportunity to share the spotlight with energetic solos.

Pablo Mayor the bandleader, arranger, composer and pianist, is the driving force of the band along with his wife, Anna Povich de Mayor, Folklore Urbano’s flautist who also manages the band. Mayor introduced the band and their excitement at performing in Canada for the first time, showcasing Colombian music. "This next one is about a woman who doesn’t like to dance so close to the men except when she dances with Pepe”, Mayor told the crowd.

Soon we were all seduced by the music and singer Sofia Koutsovitis who recently released her own album Ojalà. Despite the large size band, Koutsovitis’ powerful deep alto voice cut through the instruments easily and one could see why her talent is being recognized on her own solo tours. She and Polo shared the stage fronting the band, each taking the lead on different songs and providing both percussion and vocal back up.

Pablo Mayor

Sofia Koutsovitis & Ronald Polo
Folklore Urbano’s arrangements incorporate Colombian folklore fused with Mayor’s lifelong studies in jazz, with a big band sound that showcases both salsa rhythms and cumbia. The group features many of NYC’s finest jazz musicians each playing with such feeling that few people were left sitting in their seats.

Pablo Mayor is not only showcasing the music of Folklore Urbano, he is also on a mission to promote Colombian music on the world stage. Mayor and his record label Chonta represent many of NYC’s finest Colombian artists including Samurindo, La Cumbiamba Eneye, Coba and Ricardo Gallo. Most recently Chonta has released a compilation album called Nueva Colombia that features the New York based Chonta artists and vocalist Marta Gomez performing folkloric music fused with jazz, rock and hip hop.

On Friday night in Toronto, both Canadians and Colombians in the audience were equally dazzled. “I am in heaven” exclaimed one such Colombiano from Baranquilla "I cancelled my trip to NYC to hear another one of my favourite bands when I heard Folklore Urbano were coming here … it was worth it ... what a night”. A return trip will hopefully follow soon.

Pablo Mayor – Folklore Urbano
Pablo Mayor – piano/director/arranger/composer
David Hertzberg – bass
Ronald Polo – vocals and Colombian percussion
Sofia Koutsovitis – vocals
Nestor Gomez – Colombian percussion
Emilio Valdes – drum set
Antonio Orta – tenor sax
Anna Povich de Mayor – flute

Nick 'Brownman' Ali – trumpet
Marcus Ali – baritone sax
Bernardo Padron – alto sax

> www.folkloreurbano.com > www.chontarecords.com > www.sofiamusic.com
We welcome your comments and feedback
Amanda Martinez
• • • • • •
Roger Humbert
• •
The Live Music Report
Amanda Martinez is a singer and actress, she is the host and producer of Café Latino, heard on JAZZFM91 (Saturdays 4–6 p.m. on 91.1 FM)

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