An Evening of Latin Amer­i­can Mu­sic

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By

Cat Foster

Venezuela, through its Head of Mission here - Leiff Escalona, was in­stru­men­tal in bring­ing Miguel Siso and his band to Saint Lu­cia. And ahead of a per­for­mance or­ga­nized by the Saint Lu­cia School of Mu­sic (SLSM), the group played at the Derek Wal­cott Square on Thurs­day 7th May as part of the 2015 Saint Lu­cia Jazz & Arts Fes­ti­val.

On the evening of Fri­day 8th May Am­bas­sador Escalona and her fam­ily were joined by an au­di­ence at Mu­sicbox at the Golden Palm Events Cen­tre in Rod­ney Heights when The Miguel Siso Band per­formed ‘An Evening of Latin Amer­i­can Mu­sic’.

And, although the event took place dur­ing the Jazz & Arts Fes­ti­val on a night when there were plenty of other con­certs tak­ing place, the at­ten­dance was good. This, in spite of traf­fic de­lays suf­fered by many pa­trons who were caught up in the queue to Pi­geon Is­land for the main­stage event.

The start of the Mu­sicbox con­cert had been ad­ver­tised as 7.30pm sharp so well done to the or­gan­is­ers for de­cid­ing to ac­com­mo­date late­com­ers and an­nounc­ing to those al­ready gath­ered that pro­ceed­ings would be de­layed by 15 min­utes.

The in­tro­duc­tory piece on the night was ‘Fu­ture of Tango: Part 2’, a world pre­miere of a com­po­si­tion by Ale­jan­dro Rutty who is an Artist in Res­i­dence at the SLSM. Then came our main stage event: a se­lec­tion of Venezue­lan Folk Mu­sic by The Miguel Siso Band who had the au­di­ence en­thralled with their mas­tery of string in­stru­ments. Siso played cu­a­tro ac­com­pa­nied by Lu­cas Sanchez on vi­o­lin, Jorge Tor­res with man­dolin and Elvis Martinez on con­tre­bass bass. Bind­ing it all to­gether, all the way down to the bells on his feet, was Car­los ‘Nene’ Quin­tero on per­cus­sion.

The band was splen­did. Fin­gers flew across strings so fast that they ap­peared as just a blur. The per­form­ers’ stamina was ath­letic as they played for some 90 min­utes with a mix of rhythms in­clud­ing rumba, merengue and even a waltz. The mu­si­cal jour­ney me­an­dered from Venezuela to Saint Lu­cia when Gene Lawrence joined the band on stage to lead a ca­lypso; the fi­nale took us to Cuba for a rous­ing, melodic fi­esta.

Guest artists from the SLSM were Richard Payne and Natalie Ma­cAl­lis­ter on pi­ano, An­der­son Charles on flute, Wag­ner Trindade on gui­tar, Ale­jan­dro Rutty on bass, Fer­nando Martinez Lopez on per­cus­sion and Lorena Guillen on vo­cals. Spe­cial men­tion goes to young Cheic Alphonse, a stu­dent at the SLSM who pa­tiently waited all evening to play per­cus­sion in the fi­nal piece.

The SLSM, as or­gan­iser of this con­cert, has been pre­sent­ing regular con­certs at Mu­sicbox since last Novem­ber. The School, through its Direc­tor, Richard Payne, has gar­nered a rep­u­ta­tion for or­gan­is­ing top class con­certs with pro­fes­sion­als and with highly tal­ented am­a­teurs and stu­dents, and at af­ford­able prices. In the cur­rent se­ries there has been a strong South Amer­i­can theme but also clas­si­cal and jazz con­certs. The SLSM is to be com­mended for bring­ing plea­sure to mu­sic lovers. For more in­for­ma­tion on fu­ture con­certs, please con­tact the School: 452 2473, 285 2936 lcmu­sic­

Venezue­lan Am­bas­sador Leif Escalona with Miguel Siso at a press brief­ing when the band ar­rived here.

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