Grammy award winner, Cuban musician and composer Paquito D’Rivera teams up with Paraguayan "guitarist extraordinaire," Berta Rojas in this new album titled, Dia y medio | A Day and a Half.
The concept for this album came to be in 2011 during Rojas and D’Rivera tour of the Americas. The tour included a stop in Paraguay, so short that it lasted only a Day and a Half. Paquito complained on that occasion, commenting that it was not enough time to get the entire feel of Paraguay, but the visit was so intense that the emotions are reflected in this CD dedicated entirely to the music of Paraguay. “The repertoire is very beautiful and varied. Most of them are compositions of the great Agustin Pio Barrios, Mangore, one of the foremost guitar composers of all times, but there are also some pieces I grew up with like Recuerdos de Ypacarai, Pajaro Chogui, Mis Noches sin Ti; pieces that were played both the Paraguayan and Cuban ways,” said D’Rivera.
Rojas commented that “collaborating with D’Rivera is a constant creative challenge that brings me great joy. I feel privileged to be Paquito’s partner in this project, recreating Paraguayan compositions that are jewels of the Latin-American music. As I said on a show in Paraguay, it seems that dreams do come true. Recording with Paquito was that: a dream come true”
The album was recorded in Washington DC on the weekend of February 3rd. In regard to the fast paced weekend, Rojas commented that “they were truly sublime moments. I felt that with Paquito [D’Rivera] we were able to transmit the best of Paraguay’s music and that hopefully this CD will be a worthy tribute these pieces that are still largely unknown. Overall it was en experience I am sure will last me a life time.”
When talking about his experience with Rojas, D’Rivera shared that “I have been a dear admirer of Berta’s exquisite art for years. When this extraordinary guitarist invited me to join her on this project in honor of Mangoré, with a repertoire of the master himself and other renown Latin-American composers, I felt as if I were in a dream; as if Charlie Christian had invited me to play and record all of Duke Ellington’s songs.”
Defined as “an ambassador to the classical guitar” by Classical Guitar Magazine, Rojas is renowned for her flawless technique and innate musicality. Ranking among today’s foremost classical guitarists; she has been praised as “guitarist extraordinaire” by the Washington Post.