From El Puente Latino



New York Group sets the poems of Jorge Guitart to music
The group Lake Affect has released a new CD featuring six poems by the Cuban poet Jorge Guitart, expanding the possibilities for interpreting his poetry even further.

The title, "Playing Guitart" is the first clue of what this mix of text and sounds has to offer, as created by the group based in Buffalo, New York.

The rhythmic variety of the pieces reflects the cultural diversity of Lake Affect. Singer Lorena Guillén and percussionist and keyboardist Alejandro Rutty are Argentinian, while the other two percussionists, Tiffany Nicely and Tom McCluskey, are American.

The group, which started in 1999, is dedicated to combining sound and word, using poetic texts as a starting point for creating original music.
"When Lake Affect began, we started experimenting with material from various poets," says Rutty, who has worked as a composer, director and done music arrangements in both Argentina and the United States.

"The group realized that Jorge’s poems were the perfect medium for exploring a sonorous universe that particularly fascinated us at the time," explained Rutty.

In effect, Guitart’s poetry is direct and crystalline, qualities that made it the perfect choice for the Lake Affect project.

The enviable precision of Guitart’s poetic expression is perhaps more due to his profession as a linguist than to his vocation as a poet.
Armed with precise words, the poet has the ability to explore rhythmic universes that go unnoticed by other poets.
"I feel an affinity for lingo-centric poetry," said Guitart, referring to the genre known in English as "language poetry."

The body of his poetic work is mostly in English, but it is the wordplay between English and Spanish that gives it its distinct sound.

The process of composition for Lake Affect includes free improvisation, analytical discussion of the poems and the images suggested by them.

"It all begins with the text," says Rutty, whose compositions have been played by the New York Music Ensemble and the National Symphonic Orchestra. An essential part of the project is the interaction with the poet, in recordings as well as in live performances of "Playing Guitart."

The six poems on the album were taken from Guitart’s first collection entitled "Foreigner’s Notebook" from 1993. Among those poems are "Lorca is Buried Here" and the unmistakable allusion to the Spanish poet in the first line, "The moon is not green."

"‘Playing Guitart’ is a solid piece of radiophonic music," observed the composer of electronic music, Rick Nance, adding that the recording "is skillfully musical without neglecting the clarity of its source.