“If you aren’t watching Castaneda in action, you might think you’re listening to an ensemble rather than a solo player. His left hand pops and slaps the strings, dancing across minor-key ostinatos, while his right hand arpeggiates chords and invents spontaneous micro-melodies. Between both hands, you hear the overlapping polyrhythms of joropo, a complex, triple-meter dance from South America.” – Hartford Courant
Edmar Castaneda was born in 1978, in the city of Bogotá, Colombia. Since his move to the United States in 1994, Edmar has quite literally taken the world stage by storm with the sheer force of his virtuosic command of the harp—revolutionizing the way audiences and critics alike consider an instrument commonly relegated to the “unusual category”. Paquito D’Rivera, Edmar’s frequent collaborator, has remarked: “Edmar is an enormous talent, he has the versatility and the enchanting charisma of a musician who has taken his harp out of the shadow to become one of the most original musicians from the Big Apple.”
Even now, on stages across the globe, one notes how Edmar’s body seemingly engulfs his Colombian harp as he crafts almost unbelievable feats of cross-rhythms, layered with chordal nuances rivaling the most celebrated flamenco guitarist’s efforts. Edmar’s latest recording “Double Portion,” (which features Miguel Zenon, Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba & Hamilton de Holanda on Mandolina) has caught the attention of reviewers and his legion of fans. Rob Young of “Urban Flux Magazine” says of the recording “Edmar Castaneda’s caliber redefines depth, skill and emotion.”
In addition to his acclaimed performing career as an instrumentalist, which includes Paquito D’Rivera’s Carnegie Hall tribute, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Tanglewood Jazz Festival, and the 10th annual World Harp Congress, Edmar has also performed with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, John Scofield, Marcus Miller, John Patitucci, and Chico O’Farrill ‘s Afro-Cuban Jazz Big Band.