A Personal Revolution of Jota

10. October 2016
Ines Margato

It was a cultural celebration: a fusion of the Autumn in Estonia and Spanish History.


Carmen Paris is a Spanish singer and composer, that fuses the traditional Aragonose Jota with jazz, tango, flamenco and other musical influences. The mixture of these rhythms and her charming presence enchanted the public tonight at Kumu’s auditorium. The room was almost full. The black auditorium was illuminated with golden lights and simply decorated by an Estonia piano, microphones and a drum.


Carmen Paris was born in the mediterranean area of Terragone but her main inspiration comes from the region of Aragon, where she grew up.


Dressed in greens, high heels and long curly hair, Carmen Paris homaged one element of her Spanish heritage: Aragnose Jota. This manner of singing developed in the 18th century and it helped to generate a sense of local identity and cohesion. However, Carmen challenges tradition so she cooks with Jota music, fusing it with tones and rhythms from Cuba, Mexico, USA with tango and flamenco as well. This rich mix of rhythms is difficult to describe but it was very welcomed by the public.


With her strong voice and humorous presence, Carmen shared music from all four of her albums. The first album Pa’mi genio (2002) was a revolution for the traditional Jota culture, where she celebrates the brotherhood between Jota and other musical influences. Carmen proudly sang Pa’mi genio, Savia Nueva and Cabecita de Alfiler in a playful and flirtatious way. From the second album Jotera lo serás tú (2005), Carmen shared Jotera lo serás tú and Cuerpo triste, autobiographies of women that explore multiple musical possibilities.


In her third work InCubando (2008), Jota was influenced mainly by the rhythms of Cuba and some science. Through Cositas in-solitas, Carmen explored the principle of synchronicity, which puts together meaningful coincidences, affirming that situations don´t happen by chance, they occur with for a reason, they have a deeper meaning.


With the bolero ‘Distancia espeluznante‘, she made a passionate declaration of love based on the fenomena of entanglement – when two particles are so deeply linked that they share the same existence.


In her last work Ejazz con Jota (2013), the singer combines the melody of Jota with the richness of jazz. The lyrics are in English and in Spanish with the intention to make Jota more international. A new step for old tradition, a vindication of world music, one more leap over the obstacles.


After one hour and half of concert, the public gave her a standing ovation and she was happily surprised. Her strong expression and the spark in her melodies kept the people connected and actively involved, creating a memorable first visit to Estonia.


Carmen Paris
Saturday 8th October 2016, 5 pm at the Kumu Art Museum (Tallinn)
Carmen Paris – composer, singer and pianist


Watch the photos from the concert here.