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That Russian and Cuban vibe.

Tuesday will bring with it a Russian feel to Nicosia with a piano recital by Alexei Melnikov at the Russian Cultural Centre, and a Cuban vibe to Paphos with Maykel Blanco at the Medieval Paphos Castle.

Melnikov, the 26-year-old pianist who won the third prize at the ninth Hamamatsu International Piano Competition last year, will perform the prelude The Submerged Cathedral by French composer Claude Debussy. The piece is based on an ancient Breton myth, in which a cathedral that is submerged underwater rises up from the sea on a clear morning when the water is transparent. Sounds can be heard of priests chanting, bells chiming and the organ playing, from across the sea

The pianist will also perform pieces by the Polish composer of the Romantic era Frederic Chopin, and Russian composers Alexander Scriabin and Sergei Prokofiev.

Melnikov studied at the Gnessin State Musical College and the Moscow Conservatory. He had an old piano in his home growing up, something that may have led to his final career choice.

His unique sound has been heard during a number of performances around the world. This sound is influenced by, as the pianist himself said, poems and movies.

"I think movies are the art form closest to music. Music is an art which exists only in that particular moment. It's a temporal art. For example, a photograph exists as a still art. But passage of time is indispensable to complete listening to a piece of music, and watching a movie," Melnikov said.

While Nicosia will have its fill of a classical mood, Paphos will host one of the leading musicians and singers of the Cuban music scene today, as part of the Travelling Stage project.

Blanco is a percussionist, pianist, composer, producer and he is also the director of one of the fastest rising bands on the timba scene -- a Cuban genre of music based on popular Cuban music along with salsa, American funk and R&B: Maykel Blanco y Salsa Mayor.

The musician pursued studies in percussion at Gerardo Guanche Conservatory and Amadeo Roldan and then took up the piano. He has been heavily influenced by classic timba, such as NG La Banda, La Charanga Habanera and Los Van Van. In his early years, Blanco was part of such groups as Gen-Cortes, Abel y La SeducciEn and La ConstelaciEn before founding his first group at 15-years-old.

While he has participated in other projects such as jazz, his goal with his band is to make people dance.

Blanco performed his first major European tour with the band in the summer of 2007, and since then timba fans in Europe eagerly await the band's performances. The following year the band released its first album Soy Lo que te hala.

Juggling the band and many, many more musical projects, the musician travels around the world, performing in some of the biggest music festivals in Europe and America, and also has time to release albums and receive international awards.

Alexei Melnikov

Performance by the Russian pianist. June 28. Russian Cultural Centre, 16 Alassias Street, Nicosia. 7.30pm. Free. Tel: 22-761607

Maykel Blanco

Live performance by the Cuban musician. June 28. Medieval Paphos Castle, Paphos. 8.30pm. Tel: 26-932017

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Geographic Code:4EXCY
Date:Jun 25, 2016
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