Flamenco flair featured in North Okanagan

Jazz Club brings Stephanie Pedraza Quartet on stage

Paul Hunter

Special to the Morning Star

The Vernon Jazz Club will be hosting an evening filled with Latin, pop, roots, groove, and a lot of fun, featuring an encore performance by Stephanie Pedraza.

Pedraza is a unique combination of singer, songwriter, flamenco dancer, and cantaora (traditional flamenco singing) based in Vancouver. Born into a Latin American family and having moved to Colombia at a very early age, she has been constantly immersed in her Latin roots of song and dance. Pedraza’s fusion of musical flavours encompasses the flair and rock-and-roll of Santana’s guitar riffs, the retro feel of old son cubano of the 1960s, along with the heart and soul of fiery flamenco rumba.

It was at the age of 19 that she fell in love with flamenco and, ever since, has dedicated her life to mastering the art. In 2003, she moved to Andalucia, Spain after a four-year intensive training period at Vancouver’s Centro Flamenco with Rosario Ancer.

It was in Sevilla where she trained intensively both in singing and dancing at the world-renowned Fundacion de Arte Flamenco Cristina Heeren. She has studied with some of the most prominent figures in flamenco such as: Milagros Menjibar, Fuensanta “La Moneta”, Sonia Miranda, Joaquin Grilo, El Farru, Olga Pericet, Isabel Bayon, Andres Peña, and David Hornillo to name a few.

Her original musical compositions are an honest reflection of her rich Latin American background, of her experience growing up in Cali, Colombia, and a perfect blend of traditional Latin rhythms, root, rock, pop, as well as English and Spanish lyrics.

Over the past decade, Pedraza has toured extensively and taught workshops across Canada and internationally in countries such as Mexico, Spain, Colombia, Guatemala, and USA. She released her first CD titled Where I Rest in 2011 and, since then, has been featured on CBC Radio and Roundhouse Radio.

In 2014, Pedraza had the opportunity to open for legendary Latin songstress Ana Gabriel at the Estadio Pascual Guerrero in Cali, Colombia with an audience of 25,000 people.

Among her numerous performances, some highlights include: Festival de Artes Escenicas del Gran Caribe 2014 in Cartagena, Colombia, Noche Flamenca Colombia Flamenco Tour 2014, Expolatino Calgary, The Harmony Arts Festival, Cultural Blast, numerous shows throughout the years for the Vancouver, Victoria, and Calgary International Flamenco Festivals, Alma Vieja flamenco production in Guatemala, and the Vancouver International Film Festival.

This is Pedraza’s third appearance at the Vernon Jazz Club and, like every time, it promises to be a night of groovin’ and movin’! Joining Pedraza on stage will be Andre Stepanian on guitar and Davide Sampaolo on percussion.

Stephanie Pedraza Quartet will be onstage at the Vernon Jazz Club (3000-31 Street) on Saturday, March 21 at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. Cash only bar on site. Tickets $25 only available online at vernonjazz.com with a $5 rebate at the gig for VJS members.

Paul Hunter is with the Vernon Jazz Club, a volunteer-run, non-profit organization.

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