@skopemag Q&A Featuring – Corina Bartra & Afro-Peruvian New Trends Orchestra Present ‘Cosmic Synchronicities’

Dave Morgan on tenor, Cecilia Tenconi on alto, Marvin Carter on alto, Roger Garcia on trumpet, Eli Asher on trumpet, Erick Stockman on trombone, Santiago Belgrano and Holman Alvarez Dávila on piano, Juan Carlos Polo on drums, and Pedro Diaz on the Peruvian cajon and conga. Engineering and recording; Peter Karl Mixing and Mastering: Paul Schellak

@skopemag – Nice to kick off 2024 with this Q&A – what is a music based resolution that you have for this year?

This coming year, I will keep promoting this new Album of the Afro Peruvian New Trends Orchestra project. I will also start planning ideas for my next CD with my sextet, which features me on vocals. As well, I will keep working on some ideas for my new CD with the Prisma Project. I am going to Europe to share my music this summer and at the beginning of the fall. I have aligned a couple of concerts in Peru and a couple here in the U.S. I am a music adventurer and constantly venture into different music ideas and musical landscapes. Likewise, I chose to express who I’m and not be molded by an industry that sees you more as a commodity than an artist. To live genuinely with what resonates within me is how I want to spend time in this short existence.


@skopemag: At what age did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in music and was your family supportive?

When I was in high School, at age 14, I started to listen to Rock, Jazz, and world music. I started trying to imitate some amazing singers and icons, such as Janis Joplin, Sara Vaughan, and others. I also started to do some yoga and dreamed of going and visiting India sometimes in the future, which I did. This experience was the inspiration for a couple of chanting CDs I recorded. My family was never supportive. They chased me around the clubs and venues where I was performing and got me off the stage. One time in front of the audience with a slap on my face. My father one day offered a boyfriend a job to marry me that year when he heard I wanted to come to New York to study jazz. I found out what he was apt to and ran very quickly out of Lima to come to New York and learn with the masters.

@skopemag: What was something that happened that made you realize that people were really connecting and enjoying your music and art?

In Lima, I once played at a huge park where 1000 people were sitting. They seemed all mesmerized by the intensity of the music and expression. Also, it was a style they had never heard of before, which was challenging for me. The music had a lot of improvisation. I remember there was a musician from the Andes also playing his quena and zampona. There was a deep silence in an audience that was really entranced and listening. The applause was very supportive, and it felt they were all enjoying the musical experience. This response was very moving to me and influenced me to go into music.

@skopemag: What kind of environment must you be in and mental state to be creative and perform and make music?

I need to be quiet and relaxed to be able to compose music, play percussion, or sing in a way that is meaningful and creative. I have managed to sometimes retreat into my apartment or go into nature a couple of months a year and work on music composition. Likewise, I am trying to learn to compose on music software programs since I am delving into electronic music.

@skopemag: The new album is out now – Cosmic Synchronicities. Where did you do most of the writing and recording for this collection?

I planned the recording during the pandemic, which made me stay in my apartment longer. I also had a couple of the tunes arranged and planned all the logistics for the recording, which was quite challenging. We recorded the CD here in New York with top-notch musicians. It was not easy to have them rehearse together since there are many of them. It was a bit stressful and rewarding at the same time.

@skopemag: The album has 13 songs – how many songs did you have to pick from and how did you finally settle on these 13?

I chose the tunes that would be great to be performed in this orchestral setting. I have always been fascinated with big bands such as Charly Mingus, Duke Ellington, and Sun Ra.

@skopemag: You work with an array of musicians who are all so incredible. Do you all live near each other and how do you balance keeping the group on the same page in regards to your music and vision?

Picking the musicians was very challenging, as was organizing them to rehearse together. Most of the musicians I have previously worked with are from this band. Some of them also played on my CD “Uniting Beats also by the Afro Peruvian new trends Orchestra which I founded and artistically directed.” All these musicians are also top-notch and capable of being versatile and open to new challenges, as they capture the vibe, groove, and other elements of music in this style.

@skopemag: If someone reading this is totally knew to your sound what two songs from the album would you have them listen to first?

If they would listen to my music for the first time, I would have them listen to Ecstasy Green and Osiris. Also, a Cuban-inspired tune, Vinilo y Café.

@skopemag: Do you and the band plan to play the album live and in front of you fans?

We are playing the album in New York before this interview comes out. Also, we are playing this CD in the spring of 2024. It is quite challenging and demanding since there are many musicians involved in a project like this one. I am assembling some venues to share the new CD with various audiences.

@skopemag: I love the album title ‘Cosmic Synchronicities’ – how does that title describe the musical experience of this album?

Cosmic Synchronicities reflects, first, the tunes coming from my personal musical world, Peru and music from the US. Also, Cuba, Colombia and Brazil. All these elements come together in harmony and synchronicity in this album graciously. Also, the musicians come from different zones in the world and come together to share this music, sinking in with each other and tuning to the music in a flowing way. A couple of the musicians are Peruvians; there were also a couple of Americans, Argentinians, and people from the Caribbean. I can tell you, they did very well in expressing the Afro-Peruvian rhythms and grooves present and being accented in this project.