SAMBANOVA – ACOUSTIC BAND
Guitar Virtuoso – Aleksey Liapko
Lead vocal – Diana Pirags
Percussion – Miguel Hernandez Giraldi
Alexey Liapko ( Алексей Ляпко) – musician, composer, solo guitar virtuoso who is fluent in acoustic and electric guitar – jazz, blues, flamenco and other musical styles; in addition, he is interpreting his own, individual manner. He has completed the French horn class in Dushanbe in Tajikistan, completed the self-taught guitar, cultivating it to the incomprehensible virtuosity. During the Soviet era, he was one of the best guitarists in the USSR. For many years he lived in Germany and St. Petersburg. Liapko collaborated with such well-known both worldwide and in Latvia musicians as Paul Bollenback, Garry Burt, Raimonds Raubiško, Olga Pirags, Andre Yevsukov, Ieva Kerēvica, Jam Orchestra (LV) and many others.
Although Alexey has played in a variety of configurations ranging from duos and trios, ending with big bands,he feels best when playing one, just like Joe Pass and Tuck Andress, himself alone providing a full musical performance. Alexey Liapko plays guitar at a professionally very high level in all aspects. As Alexey has said about his playing: “I am thinking as a piano player creating polyphonic melodies, chords and bass lines and rhythm section at a time.” His chord combinations and phrases are carefully thought over, indicating a high level of jazz harmony knowledge. Also tonality of compositions is chosen so as to be able to combine the playing in the top positions, together with free strings, thus using all possibilities of guitar’s sound range. He plays both with fingers and mediators (plectrums), using different rake, hammer and pull-off methods in playing arpeggio, sometimes using the slide. Nevertheless, the so-called bends (sounds made with the left hand fingers stretching strings) are used rarely, because he believes that this approach is more typical to rock guitar players and it is not necessary for him as a musician with classical education. Melodic lines and phrases that he uses are subtly simple. All this leaves a strong impression on the audience, unwittingly creating the desire to listen to it all over and over again. In their reviews such musicians as Martin Taylor (USA), Paul Bollenback (USA), Alexandr Starostenko (RU) Aivars Hermanis (LV) and many others have appreciated his guitar playing.
Alexey Liapko currently resides in Riga and has recorded and published a number of new tracks. First of all, his jazz standard’s solo record “BLUES FOR JOE” should be mentioned in which Alexey has arranged and interpreted such evergreen compositions as “One Note Samba” (A. C. Jobim), “Afro Blue” (J.Coltrane),”Spain” (C .Corea). The album also includes his own original compositions like “Funky Town”, “Prairie ” and ‘Boogy’, just as an arrangement of the Latvian folk song “Pūt, vējiņi“. All songs are arranged for one guitar and performed in a fingerpicking manner(resounding strings with the right hand fingers, without using mediators).
Another his latest solo record is ”Alexey Liapko – Virtuoso”, which summarizes his best original compositions for acoustic guitar. This selection includes elements of folk and funk, blues and jazz, samba, tango and flamenco music merged together. Although the tracks are played on one guitar, sometimes it feels like an ensemble of several people is playing. The music is very much felt, emotional and beautiful. It is characterized by quiet intimacy and isolation from modern urban society.
The third record “Белые Ночи” (White Nights) is dedicated to a song genre. In this album Alexey Liapko reveals himself as a songwriter, poet and singer. All songs are in Russian, in a subdued “cocktail bar” style and, of course, about love. Alexey acknowledges that the cause of this music is truly survived events in the artist’s life. Besides guitars, Dmitry Archangel has recorded keyboards, and Leonid Nisarevs – double bass. All his records are available for purchase on CD at his own performances, as well as it is possible to hear them on internet radio Last.fm
Alexey Liapko’s life is exciting. As a traveling troubadour, nothing on earth can keep him in one place. Here he plays in Riga, there in St. Petersburg, Kazan, or the the cities of Germany. And you never know where he will end up. However, he is confident that all the best is yet to come – concerts, studio recordings and co-operation projects with outstanding musicians and a good manager. This is what we wish him as well.
Miguel Andrés Hernández Giraldi, Chilean percussionist and composer, residing in Latvia. At the age of 19 he decided to leave his own land and travel abroad. His idea was to seem smell, experience and feel what he has never seen and felt before. Due to this travel he had an opportunity to gain knowledge, got to know different people, their traditions, the way they think, their expressions and, surely, their music. All this cultural wealth made him a great musician; Miguel was able to develop his skills and talent wherever he’d go. He had an opportunity to participate in different international projects, playing all the types of music: rap, pop, R&B, electronic music, folklore, Latin music, jazz, funk and many others.
Among the projects and festivals, in which Miguel had the luck to participate are “Viking festival” in Alesung, Norway; “Expo Garden“ in Kunming, China; “Fringe Festival” in Edinburgh, Scotland;, “Pepsi music” in Buenos Aires, Argentina; “Festival Raizes” in Mina Gerais, Brasil; “Festival de la Reconciliacion” in Potosí, Bolivia. Then, after having travelled so much and with a lot of experience, Miguel moved to Latvia and kept playing so that Nordic people had the opportunity to get acquainted with something new. In collaboration with other musicians, he took part in such festivals as “Dziesmu svetki” in Riga, Latvia; “Jazzon” festival in Tallinn, Estonia; “World Jazz Festival” in Riga, and much more. Up to now Miguel forms a part of an international project “Rhythm Caravan” and does not only play, but also teach percussion to children and adults in school “TJN Annas 2”.
It’s rather clear that he doesn’t forget about the promotion of Latin-American and African cultures in Latvia and neighboring countries. Don’t forget also, that society gets even more interested in learning new culture and their rhythms. Apart from his working life, Miguel still participates in different musical projects in Riga both with local and international musicians.
“… I am a latin singer !”
Truly hard to believe that this hot tempered lady, who sings with no accent latin jazz standard in spanish and portuguese was born in Riga, by the frozen Baltic shores.Daughter of the legendary jazz singer Olga Pirags, Diana Pirags has inherited of the utmost jazz education. She sings since 5 years, plays piano and flute. A talent enhanced by Pavula Jurjana Music School and the Teacher Training and Educational Management Academy.
At eight years old, she recorded “Riga” ; a song that the Latvian Radio does still regularly display. And participated throughout her childhood to many concerts.At 19 years, she won the first festival she participated to, The Berliner Perle, astonishing the audience by a cover of her favourite singer, Chaka Khan. The past ten years, many other festivals invited her to display her captivating vocalist skills inaz Stars” (Latvia),I prize „Saules Starini”(Latvia), I. Prize “Star Chance”(Latvia), Nominated in competitions: “Morning Star” (Russia – Latvia), “Slavianski Bazaar” diplomant and nomination for special prize (Belorusia), Finalist of Eurovision song contest(Latvia), competition “Lady Summertime” (Finland) diploma, competition “Sony Jazz Stage” diploma, competition “Jazz Voices” (Lithuania) diploma. Festivals like: “Bildes”, “Rigas Ritmi”, “Saulkrasti Jazz”, “Liepajas dzintars”(Latvia), “Moscow Jazz”,(Russia), “Jazz in Odessa”(Ukraina), “Sing Jazz” (Liethuania), Eurovoice Song contest 2010 – Greece,Musu Zelta Dziesma 2011 (TV3) , Jazz Joy Spring 2013 (Daugavpils), Magic Dance Cup 2013, Sharq Taronalari 2013 (Uzbekistan),Rigas Ritmi 2014(Latvia),World Jazz Music Festival(Riga).
Nowadays, the accomplished singer, composer participates to eight different bands, sings in eight different languages (latvian, russian, english, spanish, portuguese, french, italian, arab) a large repertoire of jazz, latin, pop, folk, house, rock, lounge world music.. living up her philosophy that music establishes bridges between worldwide souls.These past years, her video premieres became the most sought after event in Riga ; being recognized among the most perfectionist and reliable local artists. If she sings and claims her attachement to Latvia, international producers, events organizers chase her talent, skills and professionalism. The Music World does already count on her.