An Evening of Latin American Music
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 email@example.com
Venezuelan Ambassador Leif Escalona with Miguel Siso at a press briefing when the band arrived here.