In 1997 pianist Ivan Guevara and cellist Graham Walker met in Cambridge; this meeting led to the formation of Classico Latino, a group of like-minded musicians dedicated to bringing together elements of European classical music and the vitality of the music of South America. Their programme was another vindication of Shropshire Music Trust’s policy of bringing the widest possible variety of musical styles in one season- and their near capacity audiences are clearly appreciative of it!
The venue was the Blackburn Theatre at Prestfelde school, a space which was ideally suited to the music. The evening started with the duo of Messrs. Walker and Guevara being joined by violinist Barbara Dziewiecka; only words like passion, soul and vitality can do justice to their playing. Ivan’s playing combines the subtlety and delicacy of a serious classical musician with the exuberance of a Latin music specialist while the violin and cello have an immediate rapport which creates an amazing sound palette. Graham also contributed an original composition, “El Duelo”, which was a fine show case for the string players – and briefly paid homage to Bach. Graham also contributed to many of the evening’s arrangements.
The trio was joined by bass player Rey Crespo, percussionist Wil Sifontes and vocalist Carolina Munoz. The two instrumentalists made a rhythm section which would have been the pride of any jazz group; they were subtle and always laid down a perfect beat while Carolina’s throaty, emotion-laden voice filled the hall; unsurprisingly the audience loved it!
The music came from several countries – Cuba, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Argentina; it told stories of love, festivities and tributes to famous venues- including a stunning and memorable piece described as the second National Anthem of Venezuela. Their virtuosic performances justified the claim in the notes of one of their CDs; the music is filled with warmth, joy and colour. It would be hard to better that description!