Volar is a collection of Venezuelan music expressed through the unique sound of Greek trombonist Liarmakopoulos and Cuatrombón. It is the sixth album released by Liarmakopoulos, who is also the trombonist for the world-renowned Canadian Brass.
This project began in 2018 when Liarmakopoulos formed Cuatrombón with three Venezuelan, Grammy and Latin Grammy Award-winning musicians: cuatro player Jorge Glem, maraca player Manuel Rangel, and bassist Bam Bam Rodriguez.
Liarmakopoulos himself is one of the most celebrated trombonists of his generation, and has successfully used his instrument as a vehicle for multicultural convergence. He performs as a soloist and member of the Canadian Brass, reaching audiences worldwide both live and through numerous recordings.
With Volar Liarmakopoulos pays tribute to the richness of Venezuelan music through dazzling arrangements that trace his personal and professional journey and reflect the influence Venezuelan music has had on his life since childhood. His mother and father (both Greek) lived in Venezuela for some time, and Liarmakopoulos grew up listening to the music of Juan Vicente Torrealba, Lilia Vera, Cecilia Todd, Gloria Martin, and Soledad Bravo. In this album, Liarmakopoulos explores the past and draws it into the present with composers such as Beto Valderrama Patiño, Hector Perez Bravini, Omar Garcia, Otilio Galindez, Douglas Velasquez, Marcos Granados, Paquito D’ Rivera, Ricardo Mendoza, and Ricardo Sandoval. Their work gives a brilliant and reminiscent style to the nine tracks of the album: “El Avispero,” “Los Helechos,” “El Rezongón,” “Pueblos Tristes,” “Besos de Sal,” “La Bella,” “Vals Venezolano,” “Portachuelos,” and “Soñar es Volar.”
“This is a unique album in which the trombone is the protagonist, a rare combination in this genre where the flute and clarinet usually play the leading roles,” says Liarmakopoulos. “In addition, we perform along with outstanding artists such as Nathasha Bravo—one of the best young voices of Venezuela, who currently lives in New York, singing the classic by Otilio Galindez—and the remarkable flutist Marco Granados, who performs his own compositions along with us. On the last track of this album, “Soñar es Volar,” we play along with trumpet superstar Brandon Ridenour, another member of the Canadian Brass, who shows his magical sound on the flugelhorn.”
Versatile and curious, Liarmakopoulos explored the style and repertoire of other South American countries through the trombone’s language in two of his previous releases. “While still paying respect to tradition, I always wanted to experiment by adding the sound of the trombone into the folk music of Latin America,” he says. “This region holds some of the most beautiful and inspiring melodies ever created. For instance, on my debut album, Tango Distinto, released in 2011 by the prominent label Naxos Classical, I played works of Astor Piazolla, replacing the violin and flute with the trombone. On my 2015 album Trombone Atrevido, dedicated to the Choro de Brasil, I took the melodies from cavaquinho and flute. Now on Volar, I take the melodies from the flute, mandolin, or bandola. I really hope that people enjoy this as much as we do.”
Liarmakopoulos adds that he wants to continue his work with Cuatrombón. “We’ll continue playing, recording, and exploring other genres with this unique combination: trombone, cuatro, bass, and maracas. We would like to go around the world sharing this music with audiences of other countries, and promote these beautiful genres to become more mainstream like Salsa.”
Volar was mixed by multi-Grammy Award winner David Darlington and mastered by the great Colombian mastering engineer Diego Avila.
Volar is available on the main digital music platforms since its release on March 5, 2021.
Achilles Liarmakopoulos is the trombonist of the legendary Canadian Brass. He has toured extensively throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, performing and educating in the world’s most important venues and institutions.
Achilles holds degrees from the Yale University School of Music, Curtis Institute of Music, San Francisco Conservatory, and the Philippos Nakas Conservatory in his hometown Athens, Greece. Upon completion of his studies, he won the position of principal trombone of the Greek Radio Symphony Orchestra. Achilles has also performed with the Malaysian Philharmonic, Jacksonville Symphony, and the European Union Youth Orchestra, among many others.
As a recitalist, Achilles has performed in China, Panama, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland, Greece, USA, and Canada, having been awarded honors at competitions around the globe. At the age of 18, he gave two solo performances at Walt Disney Hall as the Grand Prize Winner of the Pasadena Showcase House Instrumental Competition judged by members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has gone on to win prizes at the Christian Lindberg International Competition, the Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe (YMFE), and the International Trombone Festival’s Robert Marsteller/Conn-Selmer and Larry Wiehe solo competitions, to name a few. Achilles was also awarded the Alexandros S. Onassis Foundation and the Greek State Scholarship Foundation educational scholarships.
His discography includes five solo albums – “Obvious” with French Harp Soloist Coline-Marie Orliac, “Ethereal” with 20th and 21st-century lyrical works from around the world, “Trombone Atrevido” dedicated to Choro music from Brazil, “Discoveries” with contemporary compositions on the ODEG label, “Tango Distinto” with Astor Piazzolla’s music on the NAXOS label – five recordings with the Canadian Brass and numerous appearances on classical, pop, Latin, and other albums.
Achilles also performs around the world with Pink Martini and he has also performed with salsa icon Ruben Blades. He is also an adjunct trombone professor at Brooklyn College at CUNY University in NY and at Longy School of Music at Bard College, in Cambridge, MA.
El Avispero, composed by Beto Valderrama Patiño. Recorded Live at Brooklyn College for the album “Volar” Recorded by George Brunner Mixed by David Darlington.Mastered by Diego Avila at Droom402. Video editing & coloring: Dimitrios Polidoropoulos
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