“Captivating vocals, outstanding musicianship and a creative blend of jazz with music from Spain, Africa and Latin America”
New York based singer and composer Lara Bello presents her new album Sikame, produced by Gil Goldstein, one of the most acclaimed arrangers and composers. This new work features world-renowned artists such as Richard Bona, Lionel Loueke, Jorge Pardo and Carles Benavent. Lara Bello conveys the music of her hometown: Flamenco, Arabic melodies and Mediterranean roots masterfully fused with African and Latin American rhythms. Her magical voice expressively touches your heart whilst her poetic lyrics take you on a beautiful journey.
Bello was born in Granada, Spain, and through her work as a songwriter and singer, she investigates the cultural roots of her homeland and its connections with other musical cultures.
Winner of numerous national and international awards as a singer for her first album, Girl Fish (2009), she was also voted Best Spanish Artist of 2010 by the European World Music Charts (WMCE).
“She´s brilliant!” Martin Taylor, virtuoso guitar player.
“In a perfect world everyone would know her music” Bill Piburn, Fingerstyle Guitar Journal Editor.
Considered by the jazz critic and historian Ted Gioia as “the Andalusian Eva Cassidy”, Raya is a rare thing in art: “She has developed a style where voice and guitar seem to breathe at the same time”.
Songwriter, classically trained guitar player, European awarded jazz singer and jazz guitar graduated, Susana combines her singer-songwriter spirit with a jazz touch, which is enhanced by her Spanish roots.
Susana grew up playing classical guitar at the Conservatory of her hometown, Córdoba (Spain). Apart from that, she was always writing songs as a way of expression since she was thirteen. Soon, she felt attracted to jazz and improvised music and started to attend to workshops and masterclass (Judy Niemack, Pat Metheny, Deborah Brown, Jamey Aebersold, Maria João, Deborah Carter…). Inspired by a duet album of guitar players Maarten van der Grinten and Jesse van Ruller, she decided to establish in Amsterdam to finish her studies in jazz guitar at the Conservatory where they usually teach.
“My music is the result of being inspired by artists that have resonated in me profoundly. My biggest love has gone to Chet Baker, Pat Metheny, Elis Regina, Antonio Vega, Eva Cassidy, and many others…”
She was mentioned in the new book of Ted Gioia, “Jazz Standard: a guide to the repertoire” (Oxford University press, 2012) that recommends her “My one and only love”.
Her collaboration with the legendary jazz bass player Steve Swallow in Upstate New York at 2013 opened the door to record her new album Wind Rose, that includes songs cooked for the last five years. Providence brought her the joy to make it with a five start team: Clifford Carter, piano, (James Taylor, Art Garfunkel), Ira Coleman, double bass, (Sting, Dee dee Bridgewater), Leo Amuedo, guitar (Ivan Lins, Chris Botti), Cyro Baptista, percussion (Paul Simon, Yo-yo Ma, Herbie Hancock). The cd was recorded at the Clubhouse Studios, Rhinebeck, NY.
The producer, Gary Burke, says: “Susana Raya is the most accomplished debut artist I have ever come across in all the years I have been doing this. She can sing, she can play and she can write. A triple threat as we say here in the States.”
– First Prize “International Young Jazz Singers Contest Nomme Jazz” Tallinn, Estonia, 2006.
– Second Prize “International Jazz Singers Contest Lady Summertime”, Finland, 2006.
– Third Prize “International Jazz Soloist Competition”, Monaco, 2007.
– SECOND PRIZE “International Jazz Competition for Singing Musician”, Zory, Poland. 2011.
– Finalist “International Massimo Urbani Award” (Italy), 2006.
– “Best Spanish Group” II International Jazz Granada Festival Contest. 2003
Susana was invited by the legendary Dutch guitar player Jan Akkerman to play her songs at Royal Theater Carré (2002) and Melkweg (2016) in Amsterdam.
Susana was invited to perform as soloist with the Córdoba Symphony Orchestra at the New Year concert (2009) and a tour with the Basque National Orchestra (2011). The repertoire included Cole Porter and Chick Corea’s songs arranged and conducted by Enrique Ugarte.
Susana has performed at international jazz festivals including: Holland Festival (Netherlands, 2011), Silk Road Festival (Syria, 2011), Music Festival Amman (Jordania, 2011), Südtirol Jazz Festival (Italy, 2008), Pori Jazz (Finland 2007), Kaunas Jazz Festival (Lithuania 2007).