Gao Hong and Ignacio Lusardi Monteverde

Chinese Pipa Meets Flamenco Guitar

Listen to:   Single ‘Skylark Call’

Album Release Date : February 23rd, 2024

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Order Album Release Concert: February 23rd at The Cedar, Minneapolis

Album Trailer

Reviews:

“Different instruments, different methods of sound production, different fret systems - but two hearts of two talented people beating in unison - Alondra will not leave you indifferent..." - JazzQuad

"...Alondra is more than an album; it’s an exploration of shared experiences, celebrating the magic that happens when diverse talents converge.

In an exclusive interview, Gao Hong shares insights into the collaborative process, the challenges of blending Pipa and Flamenco, and the joy of creating something beyond individual imaginations." - Serenade Magazine

"...the pipa player has teamed up with Ignacio Lusardi Monteverde, a flamenco guitarist, and turns in an equally impressive set. This is Gao's first encounter with this particular style of guitar playing. The title means "Skylark" and suggests the creative inspiration found in nature, such as bird calls. The challenge the two musicians faced, in blending very different styles of music, was met in the celebrated Abbey Road studios in London where they got to know one another in a lively musical conversation. Not all jamming is worth preserving, but here the two are cautious and respectful as they feel out the spaces in the music. Gao's response to the flamenco flourishes are poetic which leads in turn to Monteverde pulling out all his best licks. Birds are an apt image as the music does swoop and soar. " - Alastair Johnston

February, 2024: Top 40 Transglobal World Music Chart!

A Beautiful "Fairytale' Story

This is a "fairytale" story of how I got to record an album at Abbey Road Studios in London, just three days after we met this summer. A wonderful singer/pianist Vivian Fang Liu asked me to record a track for her upcoming album. When she asked me to do the recording I was out of town in Seattle. She wanted me to record my tracks as soon as possible, but I had to head to London straight after, so she asked me to record there. One of her dreams has always been to record in Abbey Road Studios. Since she couldn’t be in London, she allowed me to fulfill my dream. She checked with Abbey Road and learned they required a minimum of a full 10-hour recording session to book a studio. She told me she’d try to find another studio in London to record in. When I got off my plane in London, I checked my email and discovered she had gone ahead and booked Abbey Road Studios for a 10-hour session to record her song, since her song would only take a couple hours to record, she was so sweet and generous and told me I could use the rest of the time to do anything I wanted!

I first thought I would do a solo recording of improvisations and some of my own compositions. But then I realized it was such an incredible opportunity for me to work with another artist from London. So, I wrote to ARC’s CEO and asked if he could recommend an artist for me to collaborate and improvise with and record an album. In 2021 I recorded an album with Senegalese kora player Kadialy Kouyate that got wonderful reviews and airplay worldwide and won two gold medals from the Global Music Awards. Because of the success of this album I discovered how great a pleasure it was to work with such amazing artists. The ARC CEO got back to me within an hour and sent me a list and websites of incredible artists from Iran, India and other countries. I chose Ignacio because I had never worked with a flamenco guitarist before and felt that would be the biggest challenge for me. I love to take risks.

So there we were with less than a week before we had to record our album in Abbey Road Studios and we hadn’t even met each other. Three days before our recording session, we had a Zoom session and talked about what might be possible. We later went to a studio just to find out what our music might sound like. We started playing together and immediately realized that we had some similarities but so many differences in our playing styles. After talking and playing, the third day we went into the studio and recorded our album in six hours.

So here is one of my most exciting collaborations. It has been a great honor to collaborate with Ignacio and work again with ARC Music! I love to collaborate with musicians from different cultures throughout the world. I always believe that music has no boundaries. My concept for such collaborations is to blend each other’s music together. I want the music we create to bring people together. On this album, our music is not specifically from China or Argentina. It combines elements and musical languages from both of our roots into a new one-of-a-kind musical expression.