November Artist Spotlight: Pavel Jany of Ticket to Brasil

Pavel Jany has received his degree in classical guitar in Europe, but his diversity and eclecticism in his guitar playing, composing and teaching have no boundaries. His classical guitar background was enriched by the influences from East European Gypsy music to American jazz, and his three year stay in West Africa.  His travels to Brazil and other South American countries deepened his interest in West African, Latin, and Afro-Brazilian music.

Q: What does being a COMPAS artist mean to you?

A: We feel honored and privileged that through COMPAS we have the opportunity to share our music, our knowledge and our experience with young audiences. We hope that this will spark their interest in global music and arts, and in learning about other cultures.

Q: How does teaching your craft to youth affect your own art?

A: Teaching and working with youth is extremely rewarding activity. It is very reflective. It is like stepping outside of yourself. Children and young audiences are very intuitive, they help you to better evaluate and recognize yourself as an artist as well as a person.

Q: How did Afro-Brazilian music as an art form become one of your main domains?

A: I was passionate about Latin and particularly Brazilian guitar music since my classical guitar studies in the early 80's. I have always been fascinated by the rhythmic liveliness as well as the melodic and harmonic complexity of Brazilian music. However, it wasn't until my 3 year stay in west Africa and later my travels to some of the south American countries (including Brazil) when my interest in Afro-Brazilian music significantly deepened. Having the opportunity to work and to perform with African and Brazilian artists and to discover their music and culture first hand was simply a life changing experience for me. I have been listening, playing, composing and teaching this music for nearly thirty years, and I can never get tired of it.

Q: How much of this experience is now reflected in your teaching and in your work with Ticket To Brasil through COMPAS?

A: A significant amount. Ticket To Brasil as a performing group is a large ensemble that is stylistically very complex. But when it comes to our education program taught through COMPAS, Brazilian percussionist Josue Alfaro and I focus on the very essentials of Afro-Brazilian music. Our program is oriented primarily to the traditional percussion music and rhythms. My guitar work and Joyce Perez's vocals are the additional dimensions to this concept, and it is the authenticity of our program where my Afro-Brazilian experience, combined with Josue's knowledge of Brazilian music and culture, is the most valuable.

Q: Will you share a piece of advice for aspiring musicians? 

A: True passion combined with consistent hard work in training and practice, and then persistence in finding the opportunity to perform, are in my opinion the most important qualities a musician should have.

Q: By the end of a performance, what are 2 or 3 things you hope most students have learned?

A: There is lots of truth in the saying that traveling is the best education. By teaching children about the global music, by taking them on our journey through the other cultures, we are hoping to open their minds, to expend their horizons, and to stimulate their creativity.