Women on the Scene: Maria Parra

Interview with Maria Parra in Madrid en vivo (Madrid live).

En formato trío, los próximos 8 y 9 de marzo, la pianista María Parra llenará de color las teclas blancas y negras del piano del Café Central en uno de los primeros conciertos del festival Mujeres en Vivo 2023.

In trio format, on March 8 and 9, pianist Maria Parra will fill the black and white keys of the Cafe Central piano with color in one of the first concerts of the Mujeres en Vivo 2023 festival (Live Women).

In 2020 you released Vision, your first album with original compositions, and in 2022, your latest album, GEA. What differences would you highlight between the two jobs?

I don’t think there are, a priori, many differences. Not beyond the very evolution of my personal language in a relatively short time between one and the other. Perhaps in GEA I see more of a tendency towards jazz that is implicit, deliberately, in the bonus track “Clouds“, the same song with which I start the album, I finish it with my trio, and it acts as a hinge towards the next work that I will release in jazz trio format this year.

You come from the world of academic music. Did you feel a certain creative constraint before you started publishing your own music?

Completely. Although sometimes one could get the illusion of getting to acquire a certain freedom interpreting music created by other composers, but it has more to do with technical skills developed through time and experience, along with your own vital and musical evolution. But I wouldn’t say so much that it’s about creative freedom, since what you’re actually doing is recreating something that already exists and was created by other composers for which you are a transmission tool.

Your performance is part of the Mujeres en Vivo festival. Are these types of initiatives a real boost for women’s art?

I would like to think that it is more of a framework where the focus can be centered, at a given moment, on the art generated by women, although there are already many whose drive and talent for themselves becomes evident throughout the year. Having said this, I also recognize that there is still a long way to go and that it is great that there are these types of cycles because they have an invigorating plus to the artistic proposals created by women.

Except for the last GEA cut, you record your compositions alone at the piano. What does the trio format with which you perform at Cafe Central contribute to your music?

The trio format has been a huge opening for me, a revitalizing lung that gives a more vital dimension to my music and fills the stage with more energy. The complicity of my colleagues towards me and the mastery and experience that they bring to my music, has gained enormous relevance for me. The public values it and welcomes it with enthusiasm.

What would you highlight about playing in a jazz room or cafe?

Without a doubt, the closeness. Everything becomes more organic, each person in the audience has their face and energy contributing to you, as if you were playing in your living room for a handful of friends. It is undoubtedly a very intense experience in both senses, for artists and public.

Has it been achieved that, finally, women have the same recognition as men in the world of music?

I think that depending on which sectors they do (pop singers, singer-songwriters, mainstream in general, solo performers of classical, folk…). In other areas such as jazz there is a lot of progress, and there is still a lot to be done in the field of classical conducting or programming female composers in the classical repertoire. Great efforts are being made and individual wills are being put in place, but there is still a way to go.

What current female music artists do you consider essential?

There are many and here it depends on personal taste in terms of musical genre and nationality. In the classical field and as an interpreter I would say Martha Argerich, in neoclassical piano, Hania Rani, in jazz, Diana Krall. At least these are living women who have inspired and do inspire me. There are many more that are no longer there, or many more in pop, both national and foreign, but the list would be endless.

What can the audience expect from your upcoming concerts at Cafe Central on March 8 and 9, within Mujeres en Vivo?

The public that listens to me for the first time, and that comes with nothing preconceived, leaves with the feeling of having discovered an artist pianist and composer who transmits her own, very eclectic sound universe, with many recognizable echoes, sifted through the filter of jazz sound, and handling emotion and energy with skill, and very well accompanied by her companions Gonzalo Maestre on drums and Miguel Rodrigañez on double bass.

You can read the full interview at this link.

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