Biography

“Yilian is one of the most incredible talents of the new generation of Cuban musicians. She is a virtuoso, she is expressive, spontaneous and with a grace that makes her the favorite of all of us.” Chucho Valdés

Yilian Cañizares is one of the most intriguing contemporary violinists, singers and composers. Always staying true to her origins, she skilfully blends jazz, classical and Afro- Cuban rhythms with her otherworldly voice. Whether on stage or in a recording studio, there are few talented artists like Yilian – who was born in Havana and settled in Switzerland – with such great respect for the past and sensitivity towards the future, accompanied by a smile to die for.

Two acclaimed albums, the self-produced “Ochumare” released in 2013 and its 2015 follow-up “Invocación”, under the guidance of Alê Siqueira (Roberto Fonseca, Omara Portuondo), have strengthened her reputation as an innovative artist who is capable of transcending musical boundaries. French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur called her the “revelation of the year” due to her charisma, influences and the ease with which Yilian sings and plays the violin.
“My sound reflects the richness and mixture of cultures that I carry with me today. It reflects what I am: a woman, Cuban, musician and citizen of the world”, explains the artist.

When she was just 14 years old, Yilian Cañizares was offered a scholarship to study in Caracas. In 2000, she moved to Switzerland to study at a conservatory. After a few years, major orchestras began to request her and, after moving to Lausanne, she collaborated with several ensembles for six years.

During this period, the artist created a quartet of musicians from Germany, Venezuela and Switzerland (and later Cuba) and named it “Ochumare”. Six months later, in 2008, she won the Montreux Jazz Festival Competition with this group.

Since then, her career has crescendoed. In recent years, she has shared a stage with Ibrahim Maalouf, Omar Sosa, Diego El Cigala, Youn Sun Nah, Richard Bona, Chucho Valdés, Roberto Fonseca, Dhafer Youssef. The Lausanne Chamber orchestra and El Comité.

Invocación, her second album, topped last year’s Qobuz world music ranking and has been reissued in a deluxe edition.

“Aguas”, the album produced in collaboration with Omar Sosa, was released on 5th October 2018. Together with their compatriot Inor Sotolongo on percussion, the duo created an intimate, personal record that reflects the perspectives of two generations of Cuban artists who live a long way from their homeland. The album is a mix of moving songs and energetic ballads, a symbol of the incomparable musical chemistry between the two artists. A unique fusion between Afro-Cuban music, classical music and jazz.

The new album, “Erzulie”, named after the Haitian goddess of love and freedom, was released on 15th November 2019. Recorded in New Orleans with her new band “Yilian & The Maroons”, the album features the participation of several guests including Christian Scott (trumpet), Michael League (double bass), Bill Laurance (piano), Bobby Sparks (organ) and Justin Stanton (keyboards).

Yilian Cañizares in a few dates

2017 – Obtaining the scholarship in Venezuela
2000 – Obtaining the scholarship in Switzerland
2008 – MJF prize
2013 – Release her first album « Ochumare »
2015 – « Invocación »
2018 – « Aguas » in collaboration with Omar Sosa
2019 – First collaboration with Chucho Valdés
2019 – Collaboration with Ibrahim Maalouf
2019 – « Erzulie »