Saturday 7 February 2004
Music Review: World Music
John Williams and Quimantu in the Municipal Theatre of Viña del Mar
A performance in which the mix of influences and the drawing together of styles from diverse origins (further than the purely exotic) can create a powerful combination. This is the path that Quimantu has taken during its career and it was this that the group demonstrated last Thursday in the recital that took place in the Municipal Theatre of Viña with the guitarist John Williams.
With a combination of sounds coming from the most diverse corners of Chile, Latin America and the world, the band led by Mauricio Venegas and based in England, showed just how delicate and tidy the performance of folk music can be when united by the conviction of the universality of music.
The Cuban Son of Compay Segundo, the simplicity of Violeta Parra and the vibrant Colombian cumbias formed part of this trip, a true voyage through the sounds of the world. Special mention is due to two items: first, a memorable mixture of French and Thai melodies, united in a surprising piece in which the harp and the guitar were the stars. The second, the incred16iblyevocative Celtic sound of an instrumental piece which from time to time found itself in the middle of a Venezuelan Tonada or a northern Trote style.
Another distinguishing feature of this performance was the profusion and careful use of all types of instruments. Taking into account that John Williams is considered to be one of the greatest exponents of the classical guitar in the world, the audience could truly appreciate this fact in the concert. Every member of the group shone with all the many instruments that were set out on the stage of the Municipal Theatre.
John Williams for his part confirmed the legend that preceded him. During a small break in the sound of Quimantu the Australian told us something of what he has been doing since the ‘50s when he started his career. The most remarkable thing about his playing was that more than the incredible control he has over the instrument and its six strings, this musician is capable of playing in all possible styles, something that can be seen reflected in the work that he has undertaken during his long musical journey.
In summary an excellent example that in the diversity of melodies that can be found spread over the planet there exists an overall connection greater than we are usually accustomed to accept. And of course the concert proved that virtuosity can be accompanied by a wooden guitar and a set of panpipes.
Javier Villagran, El Mercurio de Valparaiso, Chile