The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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May 2, 2014

Godinez leads MSO in Latin-infused finale of MSO Symphonic Series

Godinez leads MSO in Latin-infused finale of MSO Symphonic Series

If Estaire Godinez is as entertaining in concert as she is pounding out the rhythms of her songs on conference room tables — then Sunday's guest performance with the Mankato Symphony Orchestra shouldn't lack for color and verve.

During a tour of local media earlier this week, the percussionist and singer arrived at The Free Press in lively form.

As she characterized her broad range of influences — from bossa nova and calypso to Motown, salsa and samba — she finger-drummed a portion of a song on her upcoming album. Without hesitation, she slipped into verse, showcasing her characteristically smoldering and velvety vocals.

She concluded her impromptu performance only to describe her elation at having heard her compositions being played by an orchestra during an earlier rehearsal.

"I called Pepper Williams during the performance," Godinez said, referencing the prolific California jazz composer and musician who arranged her songs for Sunday's concert. "I told him, 'Listen,' and just held my phone out."

Born in Oakland, Godinez has cut an eclectic path through the global music landscape.

She started out performing cabaret and playing salsa "with just about everybody" in San Francisco before moving to Europe where she first joined a band in Amsterdam before eventually making her way to the Spanish island Majorca where she played in house bands for TV shows, sang backup for Joaquin Sabina (among others) and fronted a pop-rock group on the side.

After moving back to the United States, she performed with a wide variety of bands and musicians, including George Benson and Larry Graham. During her lengthy stay in Minnesota, a place she lived for a time and still holds dear, she performed at Paisley Park with Prince.

She sings in three languages, has recorded on more than 60 albums and makes her own line of jewelry. She's working on a book and screenplay as well as a new record.

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