Alondra – Gao Hong & Ignacio Lusardi Monteverde
Release date: 23rd February 2024
Label: ARC Music
Alondra – the latest collaborative album from Chinese Pipa Master Gao Hong and featuring renowned Flamenco guitarist Ignacio Lusardi Monteverde – will see its global release on February 23rd, 2024.
The eponymous Alondra (Spanish for ‘Skylark’) – is perhaps the perfect totem of inspiration for such an album. This remarkable bird is known for singing some of the most complex melodies of the avian world as it flies higher than most of its kind. The song, of course, is performed in search of companionship. A romantic notion that has stimulated countless imaginations throughout the ages, it is believed that the Skylark has inspired more songs and poems than any other bird.
As art often allows, a delicate parallel between the natural world and creative endeavours can be found. Here, in the nature of the Skylark and the becoming of Alondra.
Fresh from the resounding success of her previous collaboration with Senegalese Kora player Kadialy Kouyate – the award-winning Terri Kunda – Gao Hong found herself with an enviable opportunity to record at the famed Abbey Road studio. A chance to etch a little of herself into the history of arguably the world’s most famous recording venue was too good to miss. Due to a tight timeframe, Gao at first considered a solo session of improvisations and self-compositions. Yet, would such an experience not be better shared? Like the lark, Hong rose from her nest to seek a partnership. Ever intrepid, her innate urge to push boundaries and explore new musical landscapes invited her to discover something new and untried. Fortunately, London is a fertile hunting ground if searching for musical talent.
The call was met enthusiastically by Flamenco virtuoso Ignacio Lusardi Monteverde. Having never worked in the genre, the risk-taking Gao was equally excited to combine their considerable talents and create something entirely novel. Upon hearing Gao’s playing, Ignacio recalls feeling an ‘awakening – like a call to a new day.’ A sentiment shared in the first single from Alondra – Skylark Calls, releasing Feb 2nd, 2024.
Blending ostensibly disparate genres and influences comes with challenges, yet the rewards are far greater than the adversity. Ignacio’s regimented flamenco rhythms provide a fantastic framework for Gao’s ingenuity of improvisation. Monteverde’s mastery of many styles – a core principle of modern flamenco – leaves Gao, in her own words, ‘flying freely, like butterflies’. The result, much like the song of the Skylark, is intricate and complex.
As the artists got to know each other, so did their respective instruments. Gentle musical introductions grow into intimate reflections, sincere heart-to-hearts, and lively instrumental conversations. Tentative steps soon circle and entwine into a cross-cultural dance as the performers share not only their talents but also personal experiences. Throughout the songs of Alondra, we touch on tales of history and the lives of lovers. We lament the loss of those who leave us but remain consoled in the comfort of cherished memories.
More than a collection of songs from apex artists, Alondra is an exploration of the human experience and a celebration of collaboration. We see the benefits in the harmonious dance of minds. The catalyst that transforms individual brilliance into collective triumphs. A symphony where diverse talents converge, giving rise to ideas that resonate beyond the limits of solitary imagination. In this realm, boundaries dissolve, and innovation takes flight on the wings of shared inspiration. Each participant, a unique instrument, contributes a distinctive note to the composition, weaving a tapestry of creativity that surpasses the sum of its parts. Through teamwork, strengths amplify, weaknesses dissipate, and challenges bow before the combined force of collective ingenuity.
Beyond mere productivity, collaboration fosters a culture of mutual respect and understanding. It bridges gaps, nurtures empathy, and forges connections that endure. As individuals pool their talents, perspectives, and skills, the resulting synergy becomes a beacon of shared success, illuminating the path to new horizons.
A testament to the belief that together, we can achieve more than any one of us can alone—an ode to the magic that unfolds when minds synchronise, ideas interlace, and the collective spirit soars in pursuit of a common goal.
For together, we discover not only the power to overcome challenges but also the joy of creating something greater than ourselves.
Two artists imbued with the spirit of collaboration, Gao Hong and Ignacio Luis Monteverde, invite you to share in their melodious marriage of sublime strings and answer the call of Alondra.
Gao Hong is a renowned Chinese Pipa master, composer, and performer. Having already received accolades such as the Beijing Art Cup, she graduated from Beijing’s esteemed Central Conservatory of Music after studying with Pipa Master Lin Shicheng. She soon moved to the United States, where she performed at multiple notable festivals and concerts and continued to amass an impressive array of awards and honours. Also, the author of the first English language Pipa method book, Gao’s career is as colourful and varied as her music. A luminary steeped in the art of collaboration, Gao has performed across the globe and visited genres such as Afro-American jazz, bluegrass, klezmer, and pop, to name just a few.
Ignacio Lusardi Monteverde is a renowned London-based musician and recording artist from Argentina. Having grown up surrounded by music, Ignacio played his first guitar at six. Just three years later, he discovered what would become one of the defining influences of his successful career – flamenco music. Over the following years, Monteverde’s considerable natural talent was enhanced through committed practice. Yet what may make Ignacio such a unique artist is his exploration of, dedication to, and unbridled passion for the musical world. Indeed, the world at large has had an impact on Monteverde. Having travelled extensively, Ignacio has enjoyed absorbing influences from across the globe, each impressing an added depth to his performances and compositions. Much more than just a performer, Ignacio’s musical proficiency has traversed into the more technical side as an accomplished producer, arranger, and sound engineer. These skills have led to a veritable bounty of collaborations with notable artists across various musical styles. Widely recognised by his peers, Monteverde has garnered multiple awards and accolades for his outstanding contribution to music as both a performer and audio engineer.