Qairo leaps from speakers like the soundtrack to someone’s well eared travel journal.
By Jennie Orton
Qairo soundtrack is a fitting sonic landscape for a tight-knit 8-person ensemble of nomadic dancers and conservatory trained musicians; a group who seasoned their flamenco backbone with genre influences from Seville to the Balkans to Turkey and the long roads in between.
The result is a buoyant but dramatic feast of tracks, alive in their tempo but also grounded in the vivid flavours of their influences. A tribute to crossing musical pedigrees, Qairo is a cathartic and warm listening experience.
Though each artist brings an essential element to the stories being told, it is flautist Lara Wong and clarinetist/saxophonist Dorian Zavatta that stand out in the tracks as the emotional touch points. Wong bringing cheeky flutters to the up tempo tracks, a playful element best on display while dancing with Manuel Vazquez’s flamenco guitar in Aixa. Zavatta’s clarinet in the Háblame de Silencio seduces; with earthy elegant groans that stay with you long after the song ends.
The music is tethered to a sense of world worn experience and symbiosis between the members of the group. Musically finishing each others’ sentences and delivering crafted phrases of emotive instrumentation and genuine joy, Qairo feels like a family album a listener can flip through. A useful sensation this particular spring, when we are all so isolated and in need of family.
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Jennie Orton has been a freelance writer for 12 years in the Vancouver and Calgary area. When not writing adventure fiction about her dog, she covers music, film, travel, and the fruits of the food and beverage scene in Vancouver. She lives downtown with her handsome partner and with the memory of her Pomeranian muse.