From the very first track of her first CD, Tania Cordobés leads with her heart in the opening song, "Music and Time."
This is her manifesto: that music enables her to slow down the inexpressible, fast-moving inner life that we all have and find momentary peace in a song. And while the answers in life aren't always clear, the emotions in a song are, and "the music soothes what time can only figure out."
A mixture of honest emotion with the beauty offered up in Latin rhythms and harmony are what you can expect...
Tania Cordobés is a singer-songwriter with an original sound that is best described as contemporary Latin fusion, based on American folk and Cuban, with additional influences like bossa nova, flamenco, samba, and pop. In a recent review of her latest recording, “Containers and Jars”, Mario Tarradell, music critic for the Dallas Morning News, wrote: "She writes songs to brighten the soul and move the emotions, such as the uplifting little gems "Seguiré", "Cantico Santo", "Miracle", "Eternidad" and "Dreams".
Creating an honest, organic expression is important, along with both preserving and innovating with Latin rhythmic styles. Cordobés, bilingual, talks about her writing style, “Growing up with my feet in two cultures (Cuban and American), I've found that sometimes thoughts happen in one or the other language and with a mix of musical flavors. Rather than let it be a source of frustration or ignore who I am, I choose to embrace it. There are many people like me who have mixed ethnic or racial heritages and can relate to what I'm talking about in that respect-feeling like you don't fit in one or the other but somewhere in-between. It’s probably more authentic for me as an artist to do it that way, you know, not try to force the song into one or the other [language].”
Ms. Cordobés has released three CD’s of original material. Her most recent CD, containing songs in English and Spanish is entitled, “Containers and Jars” based on the idea that songs, art, music and dance are containers for feelings and experiences. Of her CD, Mario Tarradell of the Dallas Morning News states, “Cordobés sound is most eclectic. It is acoustic-based, melodic, percussive, with plenty of syncopated rhythms (a nod to her Cuban-American heritage)....There's a warm, homegrown, textured feel... a refreshing effort." Descarga's elWatusi blog praised her effort as "a beautiful Cuban-American pop fusion release".
Ms. Cordobés’ first CD, “Looking Back, Thinking Ahead” was a forthright, emotionally revealing set of songs presented in an understated format of folk music with guitar, piano and sparse percussion. In her second original effort, “Surf Salsa”Ms. Cordobés penned songs in Spanish and English as she and her band of the day, Surf Salsa, explored the combination of Mexican and Cuban music styles laced with an Americana vibe. One of the songs from that second effort, “Que Lindo”, earned an honorable mention in the Nashville Songwriter’s Association/ CMT International Songwriting Contest in 2003.
Her interesting sound reflects an interesting journey both musically and personally. Cordobés began formal piano lessons at the age of six, initially through her mother, a professional piano teacher and choral director. Meanwhile, her father, a tri-lingual teacher and Cuban immigrant, worked with her on reading and writing in Spanish and English. She learned Cuban cooking and the songs of Cuba and the spanish church from her Abuelita who was constantly singing. Growing up first in Southern California and finishing high school in a small Texas town, Tania immersed herself deeper into the arts: church and school choirs, dance classes, school band (playing flute and then alto saxophone), drill team. During high school, Cordobés was part of a piano ensemble group that performed. One year, after the ensemble performed at a teachers conference in San Antonio, Texas, Cordobés attended a workshop led by a music therapist. As an avid writer of stories, poetry and music and the use of music for helping seemed revelatory to Cordobés! This exposure to music therapy led to her decision to pursue a life in music and focus on the of use music as a way to help people. Thus began the journey to forge a life as a professional Board Certified Music Therapist to complete her identity in the realm of life as a musician. Cordobés went on to earn scholarships to study music at Mountain View College in Dallas, Texas where she studied with renowned teacher Yvonne Reynolds. Cordobés earned a full scholarship to Southern Methodist University where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Music, studying piano with Dr. John Price and completing a major in Music Therapy with a concentration in piano. Upon graduation she went on to complete her internship in Music Therapy and passed the Board Certification exam and it was official. MT-BC !! yeah --so exciting!
Active in local folk music circles, originally teaming up with a fellow music therapist in a duo named "Willow" and then with the original "Surf Salsa" trio, Cordobés maintained an active balance between her dual career as music therapist and singer/songwriter. As a matter of fact, Cordobés was finishing up her first two CD’s when she earned a teaching fellowship to SMU in the music therapy department. She earned her Master’s Degree in Music Therapy and completed her thesis on songwriting which was published in the 1997 spring issue of the Journal of Music Therapy. After graduate school, Ms. Cordobés studied Cuban music styles in La Habana, Cuba, at the Escuela Nacional de Arte International Program, studying voice with Sonia McCormick and popular Cuban vocal styles/percussion with Leonel Aleaga of Adelberto y Su Son. Her love of the bolero style led her back to Dallas to study with the late Carmen Torres (sister of the legendary Aidita-bandleader for Cuarteto Las de Aida) who taught her about the movement of “filin” music in Cuba. In 1997 and 1998 Cordobés organized the Cultural Knowledge Through The Arts Program bringing musicians and dancers Texas from Cuba to interact with local musicians and dancers.
In her ongoing career as a music therapist, Ms. Cordobés has been awarded honorable mention as Mental Health Professional the year for 2005, 2007 and 2008 by the Children's Advocacy Centers of Texas. In 2012 she was awarded "Child Advocate of the Year - Medical/Professional Category" at a luncheon honoring front line workers and professionals for her local county. Of her work in music therapy, Cordobés states, "Music therapy is a fascinating way to work as a musician and a deeply satisfying way to give back to people who are suffering. I've seen music help people in ways that I would have never experienced if I hadn't taken this route. It definitely informs my style as a musician in performance." As part of her work with the CAC she wrote and recorded two songs to help children learn boundaries and self-esteem. These songs have been performed for thousands of school age children every year as part of the Kids Count Players educational program in which an actor plays the character of ‘Miss Tania’ and performs the songs.
Through the years, Ms. Cordobés has performed at a variety of venues as a soloist or with one of her groups, including: The Levitt Pavillion in Arlington, The Main Street Arts Festival Fort Worth, The Deep Ellum Arts Festival, The McKinney Performing Arts Center, GrapeFest, Groovin at the Grove, Fiesta Fort Worth, The Opening Bell, Poor David’s Pub, The Tipperary Inn, Trees “The Green Room”, Club Dada, The Love Lounge, Taste of Dallas, The Cavern, Cafe Málaga, Monica’s Aca y Alla, Dunn Brothers Coffee, Theatre 166, the gallery 8680, The Goose Creek Opry in Wilbur, Washington, Teatro Dallas, Mark David Mander's FarmFest, the foyer of the Morton Meyerson Symphony Center, in addition to numerous restaurants, private events, House Concerts, and as a volunteer church musician. Ms. Cordobés was voted one of the top 5 Latin music acts in 1999 by the readership of the Dallas Observer for her work with Three for Two and Surf Salsa. In 1998 she was invited to and performed at the annual 4th of July Willie Nelson Picnic in Luchenbach, Texas as a guest singer with the group ‘Come Together’ after Mr. Nelson heard her Spanish translation and vocal arrangements for a song on the group’s CD. She has appeared in local Spanish TV variety shows including “De Todo Un Poco” and “Variadissimo”. Cordobés music has garnered modest national airplay and appeared on a number of international podcasts.
Cordobés voice and use of music and lyrics is often described as supple and can enchant an audience from a concert stage to an intimate café. Always unique and always honest, she entertains as a solo act, (singer-songwriter style with her guitar or piano), or depending on the venue, performs with her group “Los Ambientes”, a team of handpicked professional musicians that she commissions in various forms of trio, quartet, sextet, up to an 8 piece ensemble.