Valdés, Buika at Carnegie Hall

Chucho Valdes (left) and Buika.

Preeminent Cuban pianist and composer Chucho Valdés will be joined by Spanish Jazz/Flamenco/Neo-Soul singer Buika on the famed Carnegie Hall stage on Jan. 21. Carnegie Hall is located at 881 Seventh Ave, New York.

This special show will mark the first time the pair performs together in North America. Valdés and Buika recorded El Último Trago together in 2009 as a tribute to Mexican singer Chavela Vargas.

For Valdés this show is part of a U.S. tour with the Afro-Cuban Messengers throughout January and February 2012, which will feature tracks from the Grammy Award winning album, Chucho’s Steps. In his first solo project since 2003’s New Conception, Valdés once again speaks through his distinctive and extraordinary compositions and arrangements, reflecting his personal and creative evolution.

Born in Quivicán, Cuba, in 1941, Chucho Valdés is one of Cuba’s most famous pianists, bandleaders, composers and arrangers. Having began his music training with his father, famed pianist Bebo Valdés, when he was three years old, Chucho’s style melds his diverse experiences and skills: classical, jazz, bop, Cuban and swing, all combined by his virtuosic dexterity on the piano.

Perhaps best known for founding the influential Latin jazz band IRAKERE in 1972, Valdés continues to develop unique works of art, generating ideas for a change of style, orchestral format and concept, that nonetheless end up characteristically reflecting pure Chucho.

Chucho’s illustrious career has garnered him eight Grammy wins and 17 nominations over the past three decades. His most recent wins include a 2011 Grammy for Chucho’s Steps, a 2010 Grammy and a 2009 Latin Grammy for the record Juntos para Siempre, which saw him collaborate with his father, Bebo Valdés, a major player on the Cuban jazz scene in his own right.

Valdés has recorded more than 80 CD’s and performed with everybody who is somebody in the world of jazz, from Herbie Hancock and Dizzy Gillespie, to Wynton Marsalis and Chick Corea. His reputation as one of the greatest living Cuban jazz pianists has earned him appearances on the greatest stages in music, including Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center and The Hollywood Bowl.

Throughout the last several years, Concha Buika’s neo-soul, flamenco, jazz style has landed the Spanish singer much praise and success including a Latin Grammy; a role and two tracks featured in the new Pedro Almodovar film, “The Skin I Live In”; duets with R&B singer Seal; a new compilation CD, En Me Piel, and being named as one of the “50 Great Voices” of our time by NPR.

Even though Buika is now a resident of Florida, in many ways her heart belongs in New York and she is excited to perform on Carnegie Hall’s stage alongside Valdés.

“There is so much love and noise in New York; Like nothing I have ever seen before. It’s amazing to walk down the street in a place where everything belongs to everyone. The city has its own explosion of music and I feel it in my heart and brain,” said Buika.

Buika’s uniqueness lies not only in her smoky voice’s intensity and emotional depth, which has been called “something like Nina Simone’s but more flexible and virtuosic” by The New York Times, but also in her worldview and attitude.

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