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“QUEEN OF AFRO-PERUVIAN SOUL”
After 5 years, Eva Ayllón releases new CD,“Kimba Fa”
Queen of Afro-Peruvian Song follows sold-out Carnegie Hall with Tour of East Coast
LISTEN TO EVA AYLLON FEATURE ON NPR’s ALL THINGS CONSIDERED
EVA AYLLON SUMMER TOUR
JULY 12 NEWARK, NJ Peruvian Festival 2009
JULY 17 NEW YORK, NY Blender Theater at Gramercy
JULY 18 NEW YORK, NY Blender Theater at Gramercy
JULY 19 HAPPAUGE, NY – Sheraton Hotel (DirectTV Mas/PeruSur TV event)
"A strong and outrageously good singer"
NEW YORK TIMES
"One of her country's most talented and influential vocalists"
"Eva Ayllón is an icon of Afro-Peruvian culture and tradition”
"The Tina Turner of Afro-Peruvian music, energetic and playful, sexy and fully charged”
LOS ANGELES TIMES
Peru's most celebrated musical artist EVA AYLLÓN the “Queen of Afro-Peruvian Soul” returns to the U.S. stage this Spring, celebrating the release of her first CD in over five years. The new recording, Kimba Fa, is set for release on March ___ on Times Square Records. She follows the CD with 2009 U.S. tour beginning March 13th, performing her magnificent interpretations of her country's folkloric música criolla - a soul-stirring blend of native Peruvian, African and Spanish music. The two-time Latin Grammy nominee, who has made millions of fans around the world over a 30-year career, continues her unstoppable U.S. success story, celebrating an historic sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall this past November, the first Peruvian artist to perform there since the late Yma Sumac [1922-2008].
Called “The Tina Turner of Afro-Peruvian music, energetic and playful, sexy and fully charged” (Los Angeles Times) Ayllón's performance features accompaniment by an eight-member band which includes two outstanding young soloists, guitarist Luis Manrique and pianist Moises Lamas, plus a powerhouse rhythm section led by the Campos brothers from the group Perú Negro who are masters of the authentic Peruvian cajón, a crate-like percussion instrument that is said to have been first played by slaves in Perú. Her repertoire ranges from the romantic Spanish songs known as “valses” of coastal Peru to the distinctive rhythms brought by African slaves: the sensual lando, the throbbing festejo, and the bawdy, insouciant alcatraz.
Among the highlights of Ayllón's performance is her rendition of the Afro-Peruvian standard “Toro Mata” - a number that showcases the star's exhilarating vocals and exuberant dance moves. Eva’s art is music with a mission. The Washington Post writes: “Peruvian singer Eva Ayllón is a diva, but she’s also a folkloric artist with a message about race, class and self-esteem.”
Recognized as the leading exponent of Afro-Peruvian music, Ayllón has 4 platinum records, 10 gold records, and two Latin Grammy nominations for “Eva” Leyenda Peruana” (Eva! Peruvian Legend) and "To My Country," an album she recorded with Los Hijos del Sol and Alex Acuña. On her new CD “Kimba Fa” she continues to expand Peru’s folkloric traditions into new directions, adding Afro-Cuban batá drums, West African djembe, jazz keyboards and salsa-style horn sections. While other Peruvian musicians are criticized when they stray from tradition, Eva Ayllón seems untouchable. She makes frequent trips to Peru to assuage her fans, who were distraught when she moved to New Jersey recently.
Eva's last release was 2004’s “Eva! Leyenda Peruana” (also on Times Square). In 2006 she released the concert DVD “Eva Ayllón en Vivo: Live from Hollywood” which captured her sold-out appearance at LA’s Ford Amphitheatre.
Eva Ayllón - Biography
Eva Ayllón was born María Angélica Ayllón Urbina on February 7, 1956, adopting the name "Eva" after her maternal grandmother who initiated her in vocalization at the age of three. A Peruvian singer with a powerful voice, commanding stage presence, and versatile flair for many music styles, Eva Ayllón began performing in Peruvian peñas (nightclubs) in the 1970s. By the 1980s, she had produced popular recordings and collaborated with established Peruvian groups such as Los Kipus. In 1989, her performance as lead vocalist with Alex Acuña’s Los Angeles-based Peruvian jazz band Los Hijos del Sol sealed her status as a Peruvian national star. Many would agree that, by the 1990s, she had become Peru’s most popular living singer of both música criolla and Afro-Peruvian styles, with several platinum records and an adoring mass of Peruvian fans around the world. In 2003, Eva Ayllón garnered two Latin Grammy nominations in the “Best Folk Album” category, and in 2008 she sold out the house in Carnegie Hall, reputedly the first Peruvian singer since diva Yma Sumac (in the 1950s) to perform at the prestigious U.S. venue.
In Lima, it is impossible not to know the name Eva Ayllón—nearly every record store prominently features window displays of her CDs, her smiling image are plastered across public spaces on hundreds of posters in commercial districts, and private parties and discos tend to end the evening with recordings of her well-loved songs. Ayllón’s move to the U.S. a few years ago was the cause of great distress to her Peruvian fans, but she returns frequently, and her U.S.and European success shows her appeal is not confined to Latin America.
Ayllón’s musical roots are in two coastal Peruvian styles: música criolla (Creole music) and Afro-Peruvian music. Peruvian música criolla—the legacy of the multiethnic coastal culture that developed among the working classes in 20th century Lima—involves strophic songs with lyrics about lost love, romance, patriotism, and nostalgia for colonial Lima. Genres include the marinera and the vals (waltz), the latter of which is one of Ayllón’s specialties. Música criolla has been performed, since the mid-twentieth century, on two core instruments that symbolically express Lima’s European and African heritages: the guitar and the cajón (box drum).
Although Black Peruvians have long been known alongside their European-descended neighbors for their contributions to música criolla, a common perception was that African-descended music had disappeared in Peru by the first half of the twentieth century. Beginning in the 1950s, an Afro-Peruvian revival re-created the forgotten music, dance, and poetry of Black Peru.
While other Peruvian musicians are criticized when they stray from tradition, Eva Ayllón seems untouchable. For example, Eva Ayllón has long been known in Peru as the “queen of landó,” and she has moved this folkloric genre in a new direction since the Afro-Peruvian revival, re-imagining it as a kind of sensual and highly syncopated popular ballad with varied instrumentations. An innovator in both criollo and Afro-Peruvian styles, she adds Afro-Cuban batá drums, West African djembe, jazzy keyboards, and salsa-style horn sections to the mix. Yet, Eva Ayllón’s style remains both fiercely individual and distinctively Peruvian.
Since moving to the U.S., Ayllón has broadened her repertoire and increased her already impressive versatility with respect to style. This is no surprise; Ayllón is continuing the voyage she began in her native Peru. As this recording demonstrates,), Ayllón continues on her journey to connect her music with the sounds of her multiethnic heritage.
Adapted from Black Rhythms of Peru: Reviving African Musical Heritage in the Black Pacific Heide Carolyn Feldman (Wesleyan University Press, 2006)