Classically trained musician, Ricardo Sandoval was nourished by the musical traditions of Venezuela.
After completing his studies at the University Institute of Musical Studies in Caracas, he went to the Musikhochschule in Cologne to study with Marga Wilden-Hüsgen and Gertrud Weyhoffen. Winner of the international competitions of Varazze (Italy, 1998) and Schweinfurt (Germany, 1999,
he was then regularly invited to festivals in Europe, Latin America and Japan. He has performed alongside great international artists such as John Paul Jones, Hamilton de Holanda, Mike Marshall and Paco Peña.
He has recorded four solo albums: Nostalgia (2000), Antología de La Bandola Oriental (2004), Al Natural (2005) and Bandolina (2011). With guitarist Matthias Collet, he recorded two CDs: Café para Dos (2008) and Rosa Blanca (2009).
Through his research and his recordings, Ricardo Sandoval has become an essential reference for the mandolin and the “bandolas” of Venezuela. His composition “El Cruzao” is today a “standard” of Venezuelan music and has been performed by the most important artists of the country.
Ricardo Sandoval : mandolin, bandola llanera, bandola oriental
Antonio Giménez : cuatro, guitar
Cristóbal Soto : guitar
About the album “Nostalgia” (2000)
“In 1996, after finishing my higher education and having had multiple artistic experiences in Venezuela, I took the road to Europe, more specifically Germany, to deepen my musical training. The academic repertoire and technical work then demanded all my concentration and my will, because I had come to learn and discover, moreover, another culture and a rich history.
Even if this learning time was extremely interesting and profitable, I could not help but regret the living practice of music that I had known in Venezuela: every week, musicians’ meetings where we re-created the traditional repertoire, where the composers presented their new pieces and where we had fun improvising on typical themes and rhythms. I missed this ubiquitous music and wondered if I would not end up losing this ability to make Venezuelan music spontaneously, without score or repetition. The title “Nostalgia”, a piece by my friend Gerson García, a slow merengue (typical five-beat music), pretty much summarized my feelings at that time.
That’s why I wanted to dedicate my first recording to the repertoire that I usually played in the “parrandas” (musical meetings) in Venezuela, aware that it would be a little different, because I was now playing an instrument of slightly different manufacturing, with a technique and expressive resources that I had learned in Europe.
When I presented this work in Venezuela I had some apprehension, not knowing what would be the reaction of colleagues and of the public in the country, accustomed to certain sounds and well-defined styles. Fortunately, my recording was very well received and I was reassured not to betray but rather to inspire Venezuelan mandolinists with new sounds and interpretations.
The composers of the pieces are as follows:
1 Sapito lipon / Francisco (Chico) Eloy
2 Pena Tabua / Altamiro Carrilho
3 Aires de Mochima / Román Calzadilla
4 El Pollo / Ismael Querales
5 Nostalgia / Gerson Garcia
6 Apoteosis / Juan Pablo Ceballos
7 Diablesa / Juan Pablo Ceballos
8 Colinas de Sabaneta / Juan Esteban Garcia
9 Un secundo de lucero / Ismael Querales
10 Mercedes – el Parrandero / Daniel Mayz
11 Valse Corse / René Vallecalle
12 Entrada a Cumanacoa / Daniel Mayz
13 Cinco Companeros / Alfredo da Rocha Viana Filho (Pixinguinha)
14 El Porfiao – El Frutero / Alberto Muñoz-Cruz Felipe Iriarte
Cover painting by Vanessa Fanuele.
Ricardo Sandoval : composition, mandolin, bandola llanera, bandola oriental
Nelson Gómez : guitarron ( mexican bass)
Rafael Mejias : percussion
Cristóbal Soto : cuatro (venezuelian guitar)
About the album “Al Natural” (2005)
“For this album, I wanted a spontaneous recording, looking like a musical gathering with friends, without the coldness of the studio. With my accomplices Cristobal, Nelson and Rafael, we had a lot of concerts at that time and the repertoire had matured.
I was particularly motivated to record my compositions, because many of these pieces had been composed during our meetings. Cristobal’s cuatro, this little Venezuelan guitar, Nelson’s guitarron, a Mexican bass played with unparalleled flavor and Rafael’s creative percussion perfectly accompanied the mandolin and bandolas.
Where could we record then? The studio was, by the very concept of the album, excluded. On stage it would have been possible, but the diversity of conditions (sound, acoustics …) could alter the expected quality for this recording. Finally, friends who lived in the countryside offered to record in their large living room. François Dietz, the technician, installed all the necessary equipment in a room, connected with long wire.
The result was as we dreamed it: we played everything simultaneously, without a metronome and without editing procedures. This is how we recorded “Al natural” …”
Cover: © Vanessa Fanuele