April 20, 2024

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Interview with Marialy Pacheco: I would avoid the intellect taking over the soul

Interview with pianist Marialy Pacheco. An interview by email in writing.

Dear readers, get to know more about our US/EU Jazz – Blues Festivals and the activities of our US/EU Jazz – Blues Association in the capitals of Europe, we will soon publish program for 2024, enjoy in the July – August – Brussels, Berlin, Prague, Warsaw, Sofia, new addreses this year, also in Amsterdam, Budapest and Liverpool.

JazzBluesNews.com: – First, let’s start out with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music. How exactly did your adventure take off? When did you realize that this was a passion you could make a living out of?

Marialy Pacheco: – I come from a musical family. My mother is a choir conductor, my father is an opera singer, my untie is a guitarist and a songwriter, so music was always around me from the moment I was born. When I was little I wanted to be a ballet dancer but my interest took a fortunate turn when my father took me to a classical piano concert for the first time. I instantly felt in love with the piano, I can’t quite put into words exactly what I felt. I just knew I wanted to play that instrument. So, my mother took me a couple of years later to the Alejandro García Caturla Music Conservatorium in Havana and after the admission exams I started my classical piano studies at the age of 7.

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To this day playing the piano is my life, my love for that instrument is unconditional. In Cuba, we have a music education system that focuses on preparing you to become a professional, so I guess it was clear from the very beginning of my piano studies that I wanted to be a professional pianist. There was never a plan B for me.

JBN: – How has your sound evolved over time? What have you been doing to find and develop your own sound?

MP: – Even as a little child I always wanted to do things in my own way. It was a constant struggle for my piano teacher with classical pieces, because – for example – I always questioned why did I have to play a piece in a certain way when I felt totally different in terms of interpretation. So I believe that, unconsciously I was trying to find my voice and my sound. Playing jazz opened a door to individualism and endless creativity and allowed me to be myself and tell my stories trough music. I wouldn’t say that I am doing something specific to develop my sound, it has been more of a process of listening to who I am and then translate it into music. And of course, my sound has evolve as I have evolved and grown as a person.

JBN: – What routine practices or exercises have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical proficiency, in terms of both rhythm and harmony?

MP: – I used to do lots of scales, specially for my technic. I don’t do them anymore as often. Now I play as much classical music as I can, specially Bach. I love warming up with Bach. I also love playing Ballads and work on the touch and legatto without using pedal. I don’t like to use pedal. I believe we can do everything with our fingers, so I do work a lot on bringing the piano to sing and to sound beautiful without any help from the pedal.

JBN: – Have you changed through the years? Any charges or overall evolution? And if so why?

MP: – I wouldn’t say I have changed. I believe that in our core we never change who we truly are. I do have evolved and grown as a person and as an artist. I left Cuba in my early 20’s and came to Germany a country with not only another culture and language but with a completely different political system. I had to adapt. I had to learn. It wasn’t always easy but I am grateful even for the hard times.

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JBN: – In your opinion, what’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

MP: – In my humble opinion, I would avoid the intellect taking over the soul. Art and music are a gateway to the soul and to our most deepest – sometimes hidden – emotions. If you try to rationalise art it looses it’s purpose. I do believe, though, that it’s possible to find a balance between the intellect and the soul.

JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; are you okay with delivering people the emotion they long for?

MP: – Well, I can’t know what emotion people at my concerts or those who listen to my music are longing for. All I do is open myself and my heart and share my stories with the audience trough my music. And I do believe that if the music you are playing is honest and from the heart it touches people’s soul and at the end of the day, that’s the most important thing.

JBN: – How can we get young people interested in Classical Music when most of the works are half a century old?

MP: – 🙂 See, for me music is one and there are only two types of music: good music and bad music. We have divided music into categories and that it’s so wrong in my opinion. The problem I see with jazz is that it can be so philosophical at times, that it becomes – even for musicians – hard to understand and quite intimidating. Imagine for someone that has no music knowledge. We need to make music that touches the heart, that comes from the heart, no matter what style of music it is. Music has to be fun and approachable. It needs to be for everyone to enjoy, not just for musicians. That’s the only way.

JBN: – John Coltrane once said that music was his spirit. How do you perceive the spirit and the meaning of life?

MP: – It’s hard for me to put into words how do I perceive the spirit since our perception of the spirit and the spiritual world isn’t something we can touch or see. Music is my way to connect with the spirit. I have experienced moments of total ecstasy while playing the piano, moments where I am so consumed with joy that I can literally feel my body light up from head to toe at the sound of a simple major chord. These moments are indescribable. They also make me feel humbled by the power we can unleashed within ourselves. These moments give sense and meaning to my life.

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JBN: – If you could change one single thing in the musical world and that would become reality, what would that be?

MP: – I would create more opportunities for musicians with real talent. Not just for those who know the right people and have the resources.

JBN: – Whom do you find yourself listening to these days?

MP: – Pat Metheny Group.

JBN: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine: where and why would you really want to go?

MP: – Definitely back to the 90’s but not in Cuba without internet and possibilities, but travelling around the world, experiencing life and and music. There was such cool music in the 90’s and we missed all in Cuba. It’s quite sad for me.

JBN: – She’s a blank, body musician, and this interview was done 2 years ago, we’re just publishing it so you know the pointless shamers of this industry as well.

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Interview by Simon Sarg

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