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"Inspiring...fusing traditional sensibility with an engagingly mature contemporary vision...a fine composer; the beautifully understated Latin edge of this exhilarating set would be at home as part of either a jazz or contemporary gig. It takes you to that place on is always searching for in music, both playful and deeply reflective."

(Songlines Magazine ****)

Velasierra has a deep relationship with keyless flutes, inventing and exploring techniques that allow him to navigate between contemporary harmony, modern jazz dexterity and a deeply emotional connection to traditional music with instruments he has redesigned. Brutally wild and atonal one moment, the purest melodies the next. Mauricio plays kena, sikus, mozeños and charango while using his voice as an accompanying instrument, often with an ever-evolving pedalboard. He constantly reinvents his musical language, creating both acoustic and electronic effects that become the embryonic blocks of a musical poem, and in his music one has the feeling of being on the edge of an inexhaustible source of musical forms. His experimental approach produces a vocabulary of sounds that are raw and animalistic, pure and melodic. His flutes scream through the mohzeño or transform the kena with guitar distortion and bass pedals, playing many characters that alternate schizophrenically between the sacred and the nervous.

As a composer and improviser, he leads a series of projects that have captured the imagination of international audiences. He has performed with his quintet in the UK and internationally, including the WOMAD Festival, and was selected as the world representative of the quena flute at the prestigious Rudolstadt Festival in Germany. He has produced and composed a number of highly acclaimed albums ("Rodar" and "Stories of I"), as well as material for award-winning filmmakers Yuri Pirondi and Ines von Bonhorst with experimental vocalist and guitarist Heidi Heidelberg.

"This is no straight-down-the-line trad album, although it's steeped in tradition...It's multilayered, melodic, percussive, unusually arranged and very arresting instrumental music." (FRoots)

His current full-time project is the composing and performing duo Witch 'n' Monk (with musician and composer Heidi Heidelberg), which has released two albums ('Fulafalonga' and' We Are Peering Over') and performed at prestigious festivals in the UK and internationally. Major appearances include the London Jazz Festival, Royal Festival Hall, Manchester Jazz Festival, live on BBC Radio 3's Late Junction, Umea Jazz Festival in Sweden, Dunkers Kulturhus and InJazz Festival in Holland. Witch 'n' Monk is currently producing a two-part album as part of the Fluid Form project: a movement of musicians struggling to produce freely, outside the corrupting force of categorization and the confines of genre classifications. He has collaborated and recorded with some of today's most notable artists including MOBO award winner Zoe Rahman, classical guitarist John Williams, and UK finalists Tom Herbert and Dave Okumu.

 

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