Visiting Artist SeriesGema Corredera, vocalist
The Williams College Department of Music presents Gema Corredera in concert at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 22 in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall. In addition, Gema Corredera leads a class on Cuban Popular Music on Monday, April 23 from 1:10 to 2:25 pm in the same venue. These free events are open to the public.
Raised on a hearty dose of Cuban rumba, son,”filin,” bolero, and Afro-Caribbean rhythms, Gema Corredera’s sound is as much influenced by her Cuban roots as it is by jazz, Brazilian music, opera, and flamenco. Her voice moves fluently across these genres fusing them into a sound all her own. Her stage presence is unassuming yet captivating. An earthy, yet sophisticated singer, she possesses a wide vocal range and versatile interpretative style that is intimate, smooth, funky, playful and seductive.
Gema Corredera’s musicality and singing prowess began to unfold early on. At age seven, she made her debut singing at the Hubert De Blanc Theater in Havana, and by age ten she was studying classical guitar. Her first introduction to jazz came at age twelve when her music teacher told her that there were traces of Ella Fitzgerald’s voice in her singing. Indeed, Gema was scatting before she knew what scatting was.
Her passion for music led her to the Escuela Nacional de Música de La Habana where she graduated with degrees in singing and guitar. She went on to earn a degree in musicology from Instituto Superior de Arte de La Habana, with a core concentration in contemporary Cuban composition, folkloric Cuban music (emphasizing rumba), and the works of Bach, Vivaldi, and Tchaikovsky. During this time, she also pursued studies in Bel Canto with Professor Carmen Godoy.
As a teenager in Cuba she met singer/songwriter and guitar virtuoso Pavel Urquiza, with whom she later formed the duo Gema y Pavel. After leaving Cuba in 1992 and moving to Madrid her career took a new direction.
During that time she toured extensively sharing the stage with an large range of international artists including Andy Montañez, Alejandro Sanz, Angelique Kidjo, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Jarabe de Palo, Lenine, Ketama, Pablo Milanés, Tito Puente, and Willy Chirino.
When not on stage performing she is teaching, passing her musical legacy to a new generation of artists. Her master classes combine lectures and performances to vocal students and students of improvisation. For participants the master class provides immediate feedback, and for the audience it is a chance to experience how a professional shares her knowledge of music with students. This combination of playing, demonstration, and discussion provides a fascinating window into the world of music and musicians.