Four Hands Melodies

Todo en Domingo

EL NACIONAL MAGAZINE – SEPTEMBER 28th 2014. ISSUE 775 – EL NACIONAL

Sisters at the piano

Prisca and Marieva Davila

Isabel Delgado [email protected]

Photography Mauricio Villahermosa [email protected]

Makeup and styling: Romer Ravelo (0412) 813 3814

Piano players Prisca and Marieva Davila joined forces and talents in the album Un piano, dos hermanas (One piano, two sisters), where they fusion Venezuelan music, flamenco rhythms, and jazz. Here they tell us all details about this production and the tough part of a simultaneous performance.

A cocker spaniel receives visitors with a shoe in his mouth. Apparently this is his “gift” to those he likes. Combo likes taking love from everyone; so much that he even crashed into a photo shooting. His owners accept with ease the pet’s reign, which has to fight for sharing his time with a greater competitor, the baby grand piano located at the center of the Davila’s apartment, a space with view to the Avila mountain, that can either serve to inspire creating repertoires, or calm down Prisca and Marieva’s students, who dream with reaching their teachers’ virtuosity.

They have both built a successful career of their own, as piano players, and now, they don’t only share what they know with new generations, but have also joined their skills in a common album.

Un piano, dos hermanas is the name of this production joining them and that made them play four hand arrangements in their instrument. The music has further united two talents that were already standing on their own and now demonstrate that, together, they are a matchless musical force.

More than a toy

Prisca and Mariela Davila grew up, literally besides a piano. The instrument arrival marked their childhood and would define their vocation in the future. Their games and learning were, by equal parts, responsible for their musical training. Prisca tells us: “The piano was bought when we had recently moved and we grew up with the instrument as the center of our home. It’s very difficult to find a piano inside a home. We had it and played with it. My father plays the flute and the saxophone, and he made us identify the musical notes or the high pitched sounds which we said were angels, and that the bass sounds were demons, ugly things.”

What at first was just entertaining over time became academic. Both sisters studied music and then graduated as piano performers. At the university, Prisca studied History; while Marieva studied Communication Sciences and also started to dance flamenco, a music genre that then inspired her sister: “When Marieva started to dance, I included her in my concerts. We did that for a few years and then she prepared her piano repertoire. For launching her album, we thought about performing the concert Un Piano, Dos Hermanas. However, the format evolved up to becoming one piano, four hands.”                                         

“It’s peculiar, because we had the same teachers, but have different approaches and when we get together we reach synchronization. We must play as if it was only one individual,” states Prisca Davila  

Musical Synchrony

With several individually produced albums, and concert experience, the time to perform together had come. Un piano, dos hermanas includes a repertoire of four hands arrangements and pieces (as soloists) where they fusion classical, jazz, and flamenco music with Venezuelan music. In this project they are joined by their father Eduardo Davila in the saxophone and flute, and Goyo Reyna as special guest.    

However, making the musical arrangements is one thing, and the performance is something else, as they could evidence: “We made the four hands arrangements, and tailored them to us both, because the piano repertoire available was not satisfactory for us. The first time I made an arrangement for us both, it was with my polo margariteño. We sat down, crashed against each other, and couldn’t stop laughing. Afterwards we started to learn, not only about the performance, but also about each one’s register,” explains Prisca; while Marieva adds: “In Margarita, we played a Beethoven sonata and there was an arrangement for piano. I finished playing the sonata, and my sister was all over me because we couldn’t stop. We had to be synchronized.”

To keep the high performance level they have, practicing is essential. Marieva explains that, besides the baby grand piano, they have an upright piano, so they use them by turns, every day of the week, for four hours a day. When they have a concert, the practice time is eve longer. They also go on with their improvisation and composition training with Professor Gerry Weil. The musician said a few words to emphasize the Davila sisters’ background. “What they are doing is very important because it has a personal touch. They have been influenced by jazz, and have released a praiseworthy and high quality product. The Venezuelan music movement shows a valuable revival and there is an absolute need for that. Brazil has had an important musical movement and in Venezuela we can see a trend of new talents. This is a good time for music in our country.”

The Davila sisters contribute to enrich the Venezuelan music repertoire with a fresh proposal. Marieva explains, “There are many people working on, and contributing to, the musical sphere from their own genre, and that makes the Venezuelan audiences to get familiar with our country’s music, beyond the cuatro (a small strings instrument) and maracas. It’s a rediscovery from different optics. Anyone who listens to jazz or flamenco music can become familiar with our music on a quicker way, and I think that’s our contribution.”                

Latin American Journey                      

In addition to the album Un Piano dos hermanas, Prisca and Marieva are embarking in a new adventure. Travesia Latinoamericana (Latin American Journey) is the name of the concert they will be offering on October 5th within El Hatillo Sound concert cycle. In this concert they will make a journey throughout significant pieces of the Latin American Repertoire, with Aberlardo Bolaño in the drums, Hilda Hernandez in percussion, Heriberto Rojas in the bass, and their father, Eduardo Davila in the sax and the flute. El dia que me quieras, Amaneci otra vez, and Chega de Saudade, are some of the regional classics they will be performing. The concert shall be held at Teatrex El Hatillo theater at 12:30 pm. Tickets shall be priced at 480 bolivars. Further information at www.teatrex.com.ve   

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