Jazz meets flamenco on ‘Latinfluence’


Flamenco, African and jazz influences come together at the official launch of the Latinfluence CD, a collaboration by flamenco guitarist Demi Fernandez and jazz pianist Neil Gonsalves at the KZNSA Gallery on Friday.

The pair’s musical partnership has grown out of a years-long “mutual admiration of each other’s musicianship and the need to develop a creative outlet that would explore, at least initially, the orchestral potential of the guitar-piano duo format and the vast terrain of Latin music”, says a press release.

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COLLABORATION: Flamenco guitarist Demi Fernandez, pictured, and jazz pianist Neil Gonsalves launch their album Latinfluence at the KZNSA Gallery on Friday.COLLABORATION: Flamenco guitarist Demi Fernandez and jazz pianist Neil Gonsalves, pictured, launch their album Latinfluence at the KZNSA Gallery on Friday.

Tonight caught up with the duo to learn more about their debut CD and what’s to be expected of the launch.

Gonsalves describes the sound of the album: “It’s mainly Latin music and flamenco, rumba and obviously some jazz in a South African aspect. The album represents our mutual love and appreciation for Latin music.

“We have six tracks on the CD and there are two original songs of Demi’s, two of mine and then there are two Latin standards. But with all the tunes, we were trying to showcase the two of us playing instruments that are self-contained.

“Demi as a guitarist can play by himself and doesn’t need any other instrument. The same can be said for me with piano.

“Between the two of us we were trying to create a sound much bigger than just the two of us. We were trying to create an orchestral sound bigger than the two, bigger than it actually is, its through our arrangement and we try to make it more developed.”

With decades of experience in the music industry, Fernandez and Gonsalves have also taught as music teachers at Technikon Natal and currently at the University of KwaZulu Natal for 20 years.

On working with an old friend and colleague, Fernandez says: “It’s inspirational. I come from a flamenco background and he’s more on the jazz side and African stuff.

“But we’ve been working and teaching together for over 20 years and it’s not always easy to do an album like this when you are teaching. It’s taken some time and it’s nice to work on new material.”

As for the launch, which will be produced by iSupport Music Business, Gonsalves says: “We’re playing at KZNSA Gallery and normally the shows are done outside in their restaurant area, but because it’s two of us and it’s acoustic, we’re going to perform inside the gallery.

“We will have a grand piano there because that’s part of the sound. To have just a keyboard there, it won’t work.

“We also going to try to do some video recording. Because the gallery is bleak and it’s a big space, we are going to make it more intimate and try to use soft materials so we can get the acoustic set to work.”

The launch is supported by Concerts SA which is a joint South African/Norwegian initiative that aims to stimulate live music in South Africa by finding and implementing ways to create regular, sustainable performance platforms.

It also aims to develop an interest in and appreciation of live music by showcasing music performances and conducting workshops at schools.

lCatch the launch of Latinfluence on Friday at the KZNSA Gallery. Doors open at 6pm. Tickets are R60. For information and bookings, call 031 201 9969.

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