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With more than one million listeners on Spotify, Judith Mateo has gone from being an expat student studying in Ireland—she was the first violinist in the Orchestra of the University of Waterford—to being the only Spanish woman to succeed in having an international rock career as a solo violinist. From benefit concerts and raising awareness of the political situation of the Sahrawi people in Morocco, to music festivals in Israel, Egypt, Belgium, France, Italy and beyond, her mix of Celtic, classical and rock music has resonated with audiences across the world. Judith's fifth album, Rock is My Life (2016), is out now on Warner Music.
The album includes violin-based versions of well-known rock songs such as ‘Smoke on the Water’ (Deep Purple), ‘Thunder’ (AC/DC), ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ (Lou Reed) and title track ‘Rock is My Life’ (Bachman Turner Overdrive). Judith will present songs from her new album on June 16th at FNAC Triangle (Plaça de Catalunya). Free concert starts at 7pm.
1. Tell us a little about the path that led you from being first violin at the University of Waterford to having a major label career?
It has been an unconventional path. I’m the type of person who takes advantages of the opportunities life presents. I graduated from the music conservatory here in Spain and I moved to Ireland, then returned to Spain, which is when I started releasing albums—the fifth one being Rock is My Life—then there was more touring in and out Spain. Everything has come together one piece at a time. I love letting life flow, taking me where it will.
2. What is the connection for you between classical music, Celtic music and rock?
All music is connected, I think we shouldn’t pigeonhole by genre. We need to be open, not only to all kinds of music, but to all kinds of experiences in life.
3. Of all the places you’ve seen and all the people you’ve met, is there a person or place (or both) that especially influenced your creative process while making the new album?
I love to travel and be able to play anywhere when the opportunity arises. On my latest album, I had the help of Aragonese singer Chuse Young. He adapted and translated the title track of the album into Spanish. It was all very fluid working with him, because from the beginning we knew what we wanted from this album.
4. Why the title Rock is My Life?
Because without rock there is no life, I think all of us are living a kind of rock‘n’roll life these days, battling the crisis that’s been going on.
5. Do you remember the first rock song that made a big impression on you?
There are so many... but most of the songs appear as part of my previous work Celebration Day (2014) and on the new album Rock is My Life.
6. You just finished a tour of Japan, how did it go? What differences do you notice between, for example, Japanese audiences and Spanish audiences?
The cultural differences are massive in general—the food, their social manner, the way they line up to get you to sign a CD....we had a great time and we are already talking about going back next year.
7. What do you hope comes out of the album presentation at FNAC in Barcelona?
I want to present my new work, rock out, inspire and celebrate with the people who come to spend a little time with us and listen to our showcase.