“Samba Loca” (Four-hand piano concert to benefit Ojalá Niños)
By Mauro Ledesma
“If a man comes to the door of poetry untouched by the madness of the Muses, believing that technique alone will make him a good poet, he and his sane compositions never reach perfection, but are utterly eclipsed by the performances of the inspired madman.”—Socrates
“Inspired Madman” is a great way to describe Maestro Ramses Peña, a pianist and composer who, despite his young age has received national and international awards. From an early age Peña showed a unique talent for different musical instruments although he knew from the beginning that his true passion was the piano. At the age of fifteen he was admitted to the Institute of Bellas Artes at the University of Colima, where he pursued his bachelor’s degree in music with a specialty in piano. Now, two years after earning his bachelor’s degree, Maestro Peña has been admitted to the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy, where he will begin his master’s degree in jazz composition this coming year.
Maestro Peña is a determined professional whose discipline and down-to-earth personality have earned him the respect of his teachers and colleagues. When asked what he thought of Maestro Peña, internationally known concert artist Ken Bichel said: “In the 12 years I’ve lived in Mexico, I’ve yet to meet a young musician more talented or accomplished than Ramsés Peña Díaz. His drive and ability to focus, coupled with his outstanding musicianship, will undoubtedly provide him the trajectory to accomplish whatever goal he may choose to set for himself. This young Titan is deserving of any and all possible support in his journey to greatness.”
But underneath his calm face and proper manners, this “inspired madman” is wildly jumping from one note to the next, chasing the arias and rhapsodies the muses dictate to him. On November 26 Maestro Peña will be performing in a four-hand concert in San Miguel de Allende at Bellas Artes. At this concert we will be listening to some pieces from Schubert and Ravel, but we will also have the opportunity to listen to Maestro Peña’s newest composition, “Samba Loca.” This four-hand piano composition was written by Maestro Peña for his colleague and friend Maestro Mauro Ledesma, a well-known and accomplished pianist from San Miguel de Allende. In “Samba Loca,” Maestro Peña combines the classical technique with the spontaneous rhythms of samba. Both Maestro Peña, the author of the piece, and Maestro Ledesma, to whom the piece was dedicated, will be playing it together in public for the first time, but it will not be the last, for “Samba Loca” will be included on their upcoming recording.
It is important to mention that part of the proceedings from this concert will be donated to Ojalá Niños, a nonprofit year-round program that gives 100+ indigenous children in the rural community of San Miguel Viejo the opportunity to explore their strengths through art, music, and literacy. Ojalá Niños´ mission is to be a model for extracurricular education in rural communities in Mexico for children of all ages, using art, music, and literacy in a space for learning that inspires creativity and develops critical thinking skills and self-confidence.