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Interview with Edmar Castaneda 

Bimhuis, NL, March 2009 


You grew up with Colombian folk music. When did you start to include jazz influences in your playing? 

Edmar: When I moved to the USA from Colombia, I went to high school there, and the school didn't have a harp. So I took trumpet lessons and leaned jazz on that instrument. In college, I studied jazz trumpet, but I had a gig in a restaurant for 6 nights a week playing harp. Everything I learned during the day on trumpet, I tried on my harp in the restaurant at night. 


Which musicians inspire you most? 

Gonzalo Ruvalcaba, Paco de Lucia, Chick Corea, Chopin, Piazzolla. And no harpists in particular, more percussionists actually. 


Are you working on a new CD? 

Yes, our new cd Entrue Cuerdas is coming out in May. It is our quartet plus John Scofield on guitar and Joe Locke on vibes. 


Do you think about harmonies and form while playing, or do you rely on only ears & flow? 

At the beginning I did, now I just play by ear. Although I do know where I am in the form and if you stop me and ask which chord I play, I would know. 


Do you have any advice for beginning jazz harpists? 

Listen a lot. And: do not be scared to fail! Just do it. If you're afraid what you do doesn't sound right, you still just have to play it, it's the only way to know. I did exactly that, those nights in the restaurant. 

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