Yilian Cañizares Quintet

  • Violin and Voice
    Yilian Cañizares
  • Piano
    Daniel Stawinski
  • Double Bass
    David Brito
  • Drum and Percussion
    Cyril Regamey
  • Percussion
    Inor Sotolongo

Oct. 07 Saturday – 21h30

  • Origin
    Switzerland / Cuba
  • Gender


Cañizares grew up in Vedado, the neighbourhood next to Havana’s Plaza de la Revolution.  Aged seven, she won a place at the prestigious Manuel Saumell music academy, to study piano and violin.  She won the National Violin Contest of Cuba four times.

Cañizares was 14-years-old when she was offered a scholarship to study in Caracas, Venezuela.  Two years later, a masterclass with a visiting Swiss-based teacher changed her life.  “He told me I was gifted, and encouraged me to apply for a place at his music conservatory.”

In 2000 Cañizares found herself in western Switzerland, where her playing and technique hit a whole new level.  Big name orchestras beckoned: on moving to Lausanne she spent six years contributing note-perfect takes to symphonies, concertos and operas.  Along the way, she began to feel like she was losing something.  Craving a creative outlet, she quit.

“I was so inspired by [French jazz violinist] Stéphane Grappelli.  The possibilities just blew me away.  I wanted to translate this Grappelli universe to my tradition, and make it just as beautiful.”

She assembled a quartet of musicians from Germany, Venezuela and Switzerland (and later Cuba) and named it Ochumare, after the orisha deity of rainbows.  Six months later, they won the 2008 Montreux Jazz Festival Competition.  It’s been upwards ever since.  In 2011 she graced Giles Peterson’s Havana Cultura project, and has gone on to share stages with jazz gods including Ibrahim Malouf and Omar Sosa.  More recently, she’s sung in French and Yoruba, the language of her West African ancestors, enhancing the lyrics with AfroCuban percussion.

Two acclaimed albums, 2013’s self-produced Ochumare and 2015’s Invocación, helmed by Alê Siqueira (Roberto Fonseca, Omara Portuondo) have strengthened Cañizares’ reputation as a trailblazer and boundary crosser por excelencia.  Not for nothing was she declared ‘revelation of the year’ by French weekly Le Novel Observateur: with her charisma, tapestry of influences and the ease with which she sings and plays violin simultaneously, Cañizares is a bona fide discovery.

From: http://www.yiliancanizares.com