Paul Anastasio began studying the violin at age nine. Initially classically trained, he soon began exploring the worlds of American popular and folk music, performing as part of a bluegrass band and competing in fiddle contests while still in his teens. A rare opportunity to perform and study with the legendary jazz violinist Joe Venuti in the mid-1970s did much to assist Paul in his pursuit of excellence as a performer of vintage jazz. At about the same time, he began working on the road with country music legend Merle Haggard. This was to be the first of several jobs he would work with top western swing and country music bands including Asleep at the Wheel, Larry Gatlin, Ray Price and Loretta Lynn.
Today Paul is considered not only a fine performer but a respected popular music historian as well, as he has spent almost fifty years seriously studying the role of the violin in American popular music. He has had the opportunity to play and study informally with the best fiddlers on the music scene, including country and Western swing legends Cliff Bruner, Joe Holley, Johnny Gimble and Buddy Spicher.
In 1996 Paul was introduced to the remarkable fiddling style of Juan Reynoso, who lived in an area called Tierra Caliente in southwestern Mexico. He was totally smitten by this fascinating blend of Spanish, African, Cuban and South and North American styles. Upon discovering that this music was in real danger of extinction, Paul devoted the next ten years to studying, recording and transcribing this music. Now, after over twenty trips to Mexico Paul has amassed an audio and video archive of 2700 hours of this music and has prepared sheet music transcriptions of over 700 pieces. Today he is still hard at work indexing and collating the music and performing it every chance he gets.
Louisiana musician Tina Pilione, who is probably best-known for the Cajun music she plays, was also smitten by this Mexican style. She visited Mexico and she and Paul studied together with Juan Reynoso. The duo has recorded two CDs of this music, with Tina accompanying Paul on guitar. They are both looking forward to playing together in the summer of 2012 in Louisiana.
Tina’s focus is on mastering the intricate and diverse guitar styles of Calentano music—the music of Tierra Caliente. To date, she has developed over 300 chord charts. Using notebooks of lyrics transcribed by Juan’s son, Hugo Reynoso, as dictated by Juan and other violinists of the region, Tina has learned to sing many of the gustos, boleros and other sub-styles of the region. Tina works with Paul indexing vast audio and video archives from his visits to Tierra Caliente.
This music is rarely heard live in Louisiana, which makes this event a unique one-of-a-kind experience for Lafayette--a mini-Festival-International type experience. Tickets may be purchased at the door for $8.00. For more information please call 337-291-1122