ICE Storm

Marcos Varela is a bassist, musician, and composer based in New York City.

Artist Bio

Through an album and multimedia site-specific performances, Marcos Varela will explore the events of 2020 and 2021, including the pandemic, reckoning on racism, 2020 election, and ongoing socio-political divisions. Intersecting with the history and culture of jazz, US history, and the artist’s own identity as a musician of Hispanic/Mexican heritage from Texas, ICE Storm will include spoken word interludes and digital projections of images, news headlines, and words that reference the themes of the project—all beginning with I, C, and E. The performances will take place in locations relevant to the history of jazz, Varela’s own identity, and the virtual and literal “storms” of the past year.

Award Year

In Progress

Creative Capital Carnival 2022

Hispanic man with a black shirt smiling against a white back ground

Marcos Varela

New York, NY

Marcos Varela is a bassist, musician, and composer based in New York City. He attended Houston’s High School for the Performing & Visual Arts, a celebrated magnet school with notable alumni including Jason Moran and Robert Glasper. As a professional, Varela is active in the New York music scene and has made a name for himself as one of the most in-demand bassists and composers worldwide. Varela released his debut album, San Ygnacio, on Origin Records. Varela led an All-Star band in performing the album at the historic Jazz á Liège Festival in Liège, Belgium, led an all-star quartet at Prishtina’s Jazz Week in Kosovo in March 2020, and was recently the opening act for the legendary Mavis Staples at Discovery Green in his hometown of Houston, Texas. Varela is an accomplished composer for several film and television projects, including director Domenica Cameron-Scorsese’s film Roots in Water, an official selection of the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival.