Sara Rodriguez, who goes by the name Saranaide when performing, is having a break-out year in Buffalo. She had a sold-out capacity show at the Hotel Henry Jazz Concert Series where she featured her love for Bossa Nova. Nearly 250 people, some dancing, gained a further appreciation for this multi-talented artist. Saranaide followed up with a well-received appearance at the Northwest Jazz Festival in Lewiston, NY in a trio setting. She will also be opening for the much-anticipated concert featuring 3-time Grammy Nominee Jane Bunnett and Maqueque in a Latin Christmas concert.
Since, she has been preparing to break-out further with the release of a new single and accompanying video on Saturday, November 15. A release that will shine a light on her Latin heritage and culture. (There will be a video watch party from 7 pm to 8 pm at the Gypsy Parlor located on Grant Street in Buffalo.)
In many ways, she is continuing a lifelong journey of learning that included traveling the world to study Maracatu in Canada and Brazil and traveling to Ghana to immerse herself more fully in West African drumming and dance. In 2018, Saranaide was invited as a guest of the Brooklyn College Choir to perform two sold-out nights at Carnegie Hall with Joe Hisaishi in a symphonic concert that performed the music from the Studio Ghibli films of Hayao Miyazaki. The versatile musician and composer not only sings jazz vocals but performs with her various guitars, incorporates solo electronic looping, plays the flute, and performs with the ukulele.
Recently, JazzBuffalo caught up with Saranaide for this interview:
For the people who don’t know you, what would you like to tell them about who you are and how you developed a passion for music?
I would start by saying I am a Mother and artist trying to make a contribution to my community through music. Music has always been a part of my life since I started playing the piano at 4 years old. My family has always been musical- I remember my grandfather on my mother’s side being an amazing guitar player. I have memories of father blasting music and dancing all over the house. It has always been a source of community in my world. Music has always been my medicine and a necessary part of my overall well-being. I can definitely feel in my mind and body if I’ve gone too long without practicing or singing.
Which artists, as you were growing up, became an inspiration for you?
Important artists that have shaped my love for music as I was growing up are Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Ani DiFranco, Earth, Wind & Fire, Nina Simone, Tito Nieves (who will salsa-fy any classic hits), Celia Cruz and any Putumayo compilation CD I could get my hands on.
Musically, what are you focusing on in terms of your style and genres?
I’m focusing on ways to highlight and blend my Afro-Latino roots into my original compositions as well as steering more towards Latin jazz in general. I think the scene here is definitely wanting more Latin Jazz music and I’m hoping to be one of the artists that are helping to fill that void. One of my goals for this year was finding a team that would help me kick off a bossa nova project I’ve been itching to do for years now. It was well received and I look forward to finding ways to keep that genre alive and relevant here in WNY.
You’re about to release a new song and video. What can you tell us about the song and what you hope people will hear?
I originally wrote the song, “La Vida Que Me Da”, for the Raíces Theatre Company’s short play festival called “Desde El Puente”. This year, they made it a musical edition and I was approached by one of the founders (Victoria Perez) to write the music for one (out of 9) of the plays. I later signed up to be part of the trio that would play the music for the 11-show run. Spending time with the music I wrote for someone else made me fall in love with it even more and gave me ideas as to how to make it my own.
How would you say your music has evolved over the past few years?
My music has become more polished and refined over the past few years. I have a clearer vision now as to which direction I’m going in, while still be able to reflect and blend the styles and genres that best suit my voice and musical tastes. Now, I can easily discern where my strengths and weaknesses are. I have even incorporated new gear to help me bring layers to my performance when I chose to do solo gigs.
The recent sold-out “Bossa Nova” concert at the Hotel Henry Jazz Concert Series and the enthusiastic response to your performance at the Northwest Jazz Festival has people asking where you will be performing. What can you share with our readers about upcoming performances and plans?
Notable performances I’m looking forward to are:
-November 19th, 2019- Afinación 2019- 7-9p at the Kavinoky Theatre (320 Porter Ave, Buffalo, NY) featuring Saranaide, Son Borikua, and Padre y Hijo feat. Luis Carrion
-November 27th, 2019- “Flip Hunger the Bird: A Concert To Benefit The Food Bank of WNY”- 8-12a at The Cave (71 Military Rd, Buffalo, NY)
-December 14th, 2019- Saranaide & Friends: A Night of Bossa Nova at Pausa Art House (19 Wadsworth St, Buffalo, NY)
-December 15th, 2019- Opening for Jane Bunnett & Maqueque!!!
Be sure to catch Saranaide when you can. Another rising star in our community reshaping jazz and the arts in Buffalo. Certainly for the better!
Here’s a peek at the upcoming song and video:
(Photo credits: by Alana Adetola Website: Alana Adetola Arts Photography, LLC)