The main purpose of the conference held by Prof. Antonio Arnedo (Universidad Nacional de Colombia) at Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa in November 11th, 2019, was to discuss and share material on the “New Colombian Music”, placing musical elements in its historical, geographical and aesthetic contexts. According to Prof. Arnerdo, there’s a route that links musical elements that are common to traditional and contemporary Colombian music. He presented examples that served to illustrate the existing two category relationship: music-region, and music-community.
Prof. Arnedo analyzed the rhythms and the melodic features of specific pieces and also contextualized the use of these elements, explaining the way rhythmic and melodic motifs were transferred and used in the compositional process. The corridor, currulao, cumbia and porro are examples of traditional elements involved in the development of new materials.
Keywords: Antonio Arnedo, jazz, Colombia, corridos, posso, cumbia, currulao, composition, improvisation
Antonio Arnedo is a well known Colombian composer, saxophone player and cultural manager, highly influential in the contemporary scene of popular music in Colombia and Latin America. Through his relation to jazz and his exploration of Colombian music he has achieved a unique and distinctive musical language. His creative capacity has enabled him to captivate different audiences, standing today as a representative and consolidated figure.
Arnedo proves that music is only one, and that the roots of Colombian folklore can enrich any genre. (Mauricio Becerra, El Tiempo, 1992)
Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Arnedo started his musical studies at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. In 1991 he was chosen from a large number of participants to represent Colombia in the world saxophonists contest sponsored by the Thelonious Monk Jazz Institute and the
Smithsonian Institute in Washington where he was one of the finalists. His talent was then rewarded with a scholarship at the Berklee College of Music, where he was later awarded the BCM Award for best student, and graduated Cum Laude in 1994. Among many other distinctions, he was the first artist to be granted a Colfuturo scholarship, and he also obtained the creation grant of Bogotá's Instituto Distrital de Cultura y Turismo with the work entitled Palabra Última (Last Word).
His first experiences with Colombian popular music go back to the Macumbia project undertaken together with Francisco Zumaqué, with whom he also worked for the ceremony in honor of the national composer Lucho Bermúdez. On this occasion, he received his first standing ovation at the Jorge Eliécer Gaitán theater (1984). He has been solo player with Bogota's Phliharmonic Orchestra and Colombia's Symphonic Orchestra, and he has been invited to perform in the most important theaters and festivals in the country. In various occasions he has shared the stage with outstanding musicians such as Hermeto Pascual (Brazilian composer and instrumentalist of world reknown), Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and Jerry González, among others. He has participated in projects with well known artists as Totó la Momposina, Armando Manzanero, "Chocolate" Armenteros, Carlos Vives, Fito Páez, Julio Iglesias, among many others. In New York's scene, he has worked with big names such as Ben Monder, Bruce Saunders, John Hollenbeck, Chris Dahlgren and Satoshi Takeishi, and among others.
His music has been heard in different places and by many audiences in the world. Representing Colombia, he has traveled to Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Spain, the US, Uruguay, Peru, Portugal, Mexico and Venezuela.
He is at present engaged in the following projects:
-Colectivo Colombia: aimed at uniting and strengthening different groups and projects committed in exploring and enhancing the various types of Colombian musical languages, offering a communication channel for all of them.
-Ensamble latinoamericano: conceived as a meeting place for South American soloists working in similar projects as those assembled in Colectivo Colombia.
-Creation lab: conceived as a place where creators are invited to develope their projects in a context where experimentation is welcomed, backed by a continuous exchange with musicians from different stylistic backgrounds.
At the moment he is preparing three recordings which are part of a whole where he reshapes elements from different local Latin American traditions. He works in Bogota, Buenos Aires and Rio do Janeiro with local musicians from these cities.
Throughout his musical career, Antonio Arnedo has been a disciple of masters such as William Pierce, Joseph Viola, Hal Crook, Jerry Bergonzi, Alonso Bautista, George Garzón, and of his own father, Julio Arnedo.
According to the critics both in Colombia and abroad, his records Travesía (1996), Encuentros (1997), Orígenes (1998), and Colombia (2001/2005) represent a very important contribution to Colombian music.
His latest work Hay Otra Orilla (2006) was published in Argentina. He is currently teaching at The National University of Colombia.