The Pagliuca-Mena music project is the result of the continuous-searching for artistic expression of brothers Silv and Ange. It's the medium with which they can freely let their ideas fly and be theirselves
The Brothers Silvano Pagliuca-Mena (pianist, double bassist, guitarist and composer) and Angelo Pagliuca-Mena (percussionist and composer) are two Venezuelan musicians of Italian and Spanish ancestry. They were raised in a family of artists and intellectuals. Their father is an empirical musician and their mother is a dancer.
From an early age they showed inclination for the arts, especially for the music. In their family environment they were exposed to several musical genres like Italian Popular Music, Flamenco, Venezuelan Folk Music, Latin-American and Caribbean Music, Jazz, European Classical music, Pop and Rock, among others, which would later influence in their artistic expressions.
Around the age of 7 years old, they started to participate in musical ensembles, estudiantinas and Venezuelan folk groups, and at the age of 12, in several rock and pop bands. Later, at the age of 17, they started to be part of symphonic ensembles. At the same time, they were starting their first experiments with Jazz, always keeping a high rate of musical activity.
With the passing of the years, Pagliuca-Mena brothers have come building a successful and promising musical career: playing, arranging, composing, working as live and studio session musicians, and in this way earning the respect of recognized artistic and intellectual personalities in their home country and internationally.
In the year 2014, Silvano and Angelo decided to make their own project official: Pagliuca-Mena ensemble, a group which they began working with some years back in cafés, bars, social clubs and events in the city of Maracaibo. The musicians in the project might vary depending on the occasion, arriving to play in formations from duo to ten-piece ensemble, but always keeping the two founder brothers. In their journey, an experienced Venezuelan musician, Elvis Martínez, joined them on the double bass, recognizing the Pagliuca-Mena brothers as “a fundamental piece in the new generation of the Venezuelan Art Music”.
Maestro Elvis Martínez became important part of the ensemble. He is one the most important Venezuelan musicians at the present, with tours around more than 30 countries and collaborations with artists known worldwide like Aldemaro Romero, Alexis Cárdenas, Carlos “Nené” Quintero, Jorge Glem, Huáscar Barradas, among others.
The first official show of Pagliuca-Mena trio with this new alignment was on October 15th of 2014, when they offered a sold-out concert in the central hall at the Center for the Fine Arts of Maracaibo. The success of that night created more interest among the Maracaiboan and Venezuelan public in the musical proposal of the Pagliuca-Mena brothers. On December of the same year they were invited to play at the grand hall of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Zulia State for the closure of “The Piano Week” festival, organized yearly in Maracaibo by the Cuban pianist Vivian Rodríguez Uranga.
The year 2015 was charged with a lot of activity for the Pagliuca-Mena brothers through recordings, interviews and shows. On March 21st they played an important concert at the Auditorium of the Center for the Fine Arts of Maracaibo for the celebration of the 67th anniversary of this important cultural space. This time other musicians joined the trio, Arianna Ruiz Leonardis (violin), Luis “Luki” Zambrano (trumpet), Maestro Jan Oczkowski (accordion) and José Alirio Chirinos (guitar) which expanded their format to an ensemble. They also invited the baila’ora (dancer) Anna Mena “La Tarabita”, mother to Silvano and Angelo.
During the following months of that year, they had several live shows in Maracaibo. At the same time they kept working as session musicians for recordings of numerous national and international artists, where they even served as arrangers and producers as well.
The year 2016 was very fruitful, especially recording and producing works, among them it’s important to mention the “Für Elise” project, in which the German musical company Sonokraft commissioned them to produce ten original and free version of this famous bagatelle by Beethoven in genres and styles like Jazz, Flamenco, Salsa and even Venezuelan rhythms like Gaita de Furro, among others.
In the month of May, they started a musical residence at Nutopia, a place of reference in the city of Maracaibo for live art events. In June, they participated in the Flamenco tabla’o (group) of the recognized Venezuelan baila’ores (dancers) Paola Tamayo and Fabián González. In July, they were invited by the television channel URBEtv to record a documentary about their music and career. In October, they played two nights in the Jazz Festival organized by Santa Frida Café in Maracaibo, both shows were sold-out. In November, they played in the seat of the French Alliance of Maracaibo, in an event where the French ambassador and great part of the French diplomacy in Venezuela were present.
The year 2017 started with numerous artistic commitments, recording sessions, new compositions, and new musicians in the ensemble such as the Cuban-Venezuelan Albert Mora (double bass), who already had played with them since some months ago. Also Eduardo Vega (saxophone) and Nelson Pacheco (trombone) joined them.
In the month of April, the Pagliuca-Mena Ensemble together with the Center for the Fine Arts of Maracaibo celebrated with an emotive concert the International Jazz Day in Maracaibo 2017. The line-up for that night consisted on the Pagliuca-Mena brothers with “Luki” Zambrano, Eduardo Vega, Nelson Pacheco, Arianna Ruíz Leonardis, Albert Mora, José Alirio Chirinos and also the special guests, “La Tarabita”, Andrea Surena (vocals) and Maestro Jan Oczkowski. The repertory was integrated by 10 original compositions by the brothers, and 5 of them were world premiere.
On December 2017 was the launch "El Templo de las Ideas" ("The Temple of the Ideas"), the first studio album by the Pagliuca-Mena brothers. It was completely produced by themselves at their studio, "El Cuartico", in the city of Maracaibo between the years 2016 and 2017. It also features the participation of Albert Mora (bass), Luis Alfredo "Luki" Zambrano (trumpet), Eduardo Vega (tenor saxophone), Francisco Arteaga de Pool (tenor saxophone), Nelson Pacheco (trombone) and Gregory Boza (trombone). Together with the Pagliuca-Mena brothers, they explore the borderlines between the Venezuelan, Latin, Jazz and Classical music in six of Silv's original compositions.
Among the several artists the Pagliuca-Mena brothers have collaborated with are noted: Oscar de León (LatinGrammy winner), Huáscar Barradas (LatinGrammy nominated), Ángela Uzcátegui (LatinGrammy winner), Ulises Hadjis (LatinGrammy winner, university professor, conferencist at Berklee School of Music), Edward Bradley (LatinGrammy winner), Vocal Song (LatinGrammy nominated), Aquiles Báez (LatinGrammy winner, former professor at Berklee School of Music), Alexis Cárdenas (Concertino of the Symphony Orchestra of La Île-de-France), Angelo Pagliuca (worldwide known Italian musician, current musical principal of the Teresa Carreño Theater in Caracas and former conductor of the Venezuela Symphony Orchestra), Luca Belcastro (worldwide known Italian composer), Victor Hugo Márquez (LatinGrammy winner and Venezuelan folklorist), David Rahn (Venezuelan orchestra conductor with international trajectory, current conductor of the Maracaibo Symphony Orchestra), Jan Oczkowski (Polish pianist and accordionist), José Alirio Chirinos (Venezuelan flamenco guitarist), Agustina Parra (Venezuelan singer), Juan Gil (Venezuelan bassist), Esteban Matheus “Esteman” (Colombian singer-songwriter), Antonio “El Tabanco” (Spanish flamenco dancer), Yanilú Ojeda (Venezuelan filmmaker), Ander Carrero (Venezuelan flamenco singer), “Arti” Hernández (Spanish-Venezuelan flamenco guitarrist), Miguel Hernández “El Gitano” (Spanish flamenco singer), Mirna Maldonado “La Rubia” (Venezuelan flamenco dancer), Tony Yetzer (US-American musician and producer), Carlos Hernández-Mata (Mexican-US-American singer and guitarist), Gloria Enedina Álvarez (Mexican-US-American writer), Marion Sila (French singer, accordionist and composer), Diana Patricia “La Macarena” (worldwide known Venezuelan flamenco dancer), among others. They have also collaborated with institutions such as the Venezuelan Network of Orchestras (“El Sistema”), which invited them to an artistic residence in Caracas to work in the “Alma Llanera” program, a project by El Sistema to preserve the Venezuelan Folk Music.
The music of the Pagliuca-Mena brothers is eclectic, as a product of the continuing search for expressions through the art of music, experimenting several genres and styles of music which join with a very open aesthetic that merges Jazz, Contemporary Music, Classical European Music, Venezuelan and Latin-American Music, Flamenco, among others. All this fusion makes its appearance not only in their rendition of the standards or classics of the universal music, but also in their own compositions, which are fundamental part of this project: Pagliuca-Mena ensemble.