Edmar Castañeda was born in 1978 in the Colombian city of Bogotá. A master of beautifully
complex timing and lush colors, his virtuosic command of the harp has revolutionized the
way audiences and critics view the instrument.
Not unlike others who have transformed their lives through art, Castañeda's journey has
humble, inspiring beginnings. The son of a musician and a mother who nurtured her child's
natural talents, he embraced the noble folkloric traditions of his native country. The
joropo dance classes he attended with his sister were a master class in movement,
accompanied by the harp. In the mid-1990s, he moved to New York and briefly studied jazz
trumpet before returning to the harp. Today, on stages all over the world, it is remarkable
how Castañeda's body engulfs his Colombian harp as he crafts almost unbelievable feats of
cross-rhythms layered with chordal nuances.
Castañeda has released three recordings, collaborating with artists such as John Scofield,
Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Miguel Zenón, and Marshall Gilkes. His performing career has included
feature spots at the DC Jazz Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Tanglewood
Jazz Festival, 10th World Harp Congress, and Paquito D'Rivera's tribute at Carnegie Hall.
In addition to D'Rivera, Castañeda has performed with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at
Lincoln Center Orchestra, John Scofield, Chico O'Farrill's Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, John
Patitucci, and Marcus Miller. He has also opened for Rickie Lee Jones, Diana Krall, the
Yellowjackets, and Paco de Lucía.
A committed teacher, Castañeda's residencies have included a weeklong initiative and
performance at The Banff Centre with Dave Douglas and other jazz luminaries, as well as an
interactive workshop at the Berklee College of Music that focused on Latin culture,
culminating in a tribute to the great Mambo King, Israel "Cachao" López. He is frequently
invited to give master classes and workshops in diverse musical contexts worldwide, and is
also increasingly recognized as a composer.
Together with the French manufacturer Camac Harps, Edmar Castañeda has developed a new
instrument: The EC Llanera is a state-of-the-art version of the traditional arpa
llanera of Colombia and Venezuela. Alongside its many structural improvements, it is
also the first arpa llanera with levers, increasing the instrument's potential for
For more information, visit edmarcastaneda.com.
Grammy-nominated saxophonist Shlomi Cohen has had a multicultural music education,
thanks to his time in Tel Aviv (where he was born) and in New York City (where he now
lives), as well as from his Moroccan and Yemeni heritages. This mix of styles in his sound
has made him a sought-after musician.
Shlomi was part of the Grammy-nominated album Frutero Moderno by Gonzalo Grau and
La Clave Secreta. He regularly collaborates with various musical projects around New York
City and beyond.
Drummer and percussionist David Silliman's exciting rhythmic energies add color and mood
to any musical performance. Highlights of his past work include concert tours with Al Di
Meola, Cassandra Wilson, and Leslie Uggams, as well as four years in Blossom Dearie's trio.
He has also performed with Aretha Franklin in New York, including the 2001 VH1 Divas
Silliman was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he was exposed to a wide
variety of music. His first studies were in the classical field, studying snare drum,
xylophone, and timpani. Later studies exposed him to jazz, Latin jazz, funk, and Brazilian
music. Silliman's current setup, when needed, includes a standard American drum set
augmented with a South American cajón; drums from the Middle East, Africa,
and the Caribbean; and various other percussion (some his own creations).
Hailing from Medellín, Colombia, Andrea Tierra blends Latin American rhythms with jazz and
poetry to create a one-of-a-kind musical experience. Her songs focus on love, life, and the
land (Tierra is Spanish for "Earth"). Her new project is a quartet that includes exotic
instruments in which she creates poetry that draws upon Latin rhythms, including
cumbia, bambuco, and joropo (Colombia); zamba
(Argentina); lando (Peru); bossa nova and samba (Brazil), and flamenco
Tierra's first CD, Melodía Verde (2008), is a trip around Latin America with a
New York sensibility. Two years before that, she released her first book of poetry called
Canto (Singing), mixing her Colombian roots with her adopted US culture.
She has performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and festivals throughout
Colombia, Uruguay, Panama, Italy, Spain, Germany, and Austria. She has also appeared at
such venues as Jazz at Lincoln Center, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Kennedy Center, the
Blue Note, and Madison Square Garden, among others.