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The Cristina Pato Trio: Tiny Desk Concert

After nearly a decade spent living in the city, Cristina Pato is a full-fledged New Yorker. But her first home is the place where Spain meets the Celtic world: Galicia.

Pato's instrument is the gaita, a Galician bagpipe, and her roots lie in traditional Galician music — though she also boasts graduate degrees in classical piano, music theory and electronic composition. And if you happen to think that bagpipes automatically equal St. Patrick's Day parades or Austin Powers movies, Pato would like to disabuse you of those notions: The only green she sported on the day of her Tiny Desk Concert was on the punkishly tipped ends of her hair.

Pato sets her musical vantage points far from tradition, aided by her thoroughly simpatico collaborators in this trio: accordionist and composer Victor Prieto (who, like Pato, is a native of the town of Orense in Galicia) and American percussionist Shane Shanahan (who, like Pato, is also a longtime member of Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble).

After the trio's set, one of our colleagues likened Pato's wailing melodies to those of Ornette Coleman. Is this world music? Is it jazz? Does it matter? Whatever you call it, it's wild and entirely wonderful.

Set List

  • Victor Prieto: "Mundos Celtas"
  • Traditional/Cristina Pato: "Alalá Re-rooted"
  • Victor Prieto & Emilio Solla: "Muñeira For Cristina"
  • Credits

    Producers: Denise DeBelius, Anastasia Tsioulcas; Editor: Parker Miles Blohm; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Parker Miles Blohm, Denise DeBelius, Gabriella Garcia-Pardo; photo by Hayley Bartels/NPR

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.