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Classico Latino

Classico Latino

We were immediately transported to the heat and vibrancy of Latin America with distinctive rhythms and melodies which were skilfully performed by an ensemble that delighted in the individual virtuosity of the performers. A true fusion of styles which provided a truly captivating concert.

Trevor Hounslow, Artistic Director, Thaxted Festival

Dazzling and accomplished music-making! We were brilliantly entertained and informed from start to finish of a wonderful evening's concert. The audience in Linton clearly and quickly became aware they were in for a treat.

Linton Music Society

Flexible Ensemble (variable number of performers)

Instrumentation

  • Ivan Guevara - Piano
  • Graham Walker - Cello
  • Various - Violin / Vocals / Bass / Percussion

Repertoire

Blending the techniques and sounds of classical music with authentic Latin American rhythms and melodies, the music of Classico Latino comes from the often-neglected back catalogue of the Latin American songbook. Our programme explores music from across the continent, drawing on the familiar Samba, Bolero and Tango as well as less-well-known rhythms such as the Pasillo, Joropo and Currulao. We perform music by every combination of indigenous, white-European, Hispanic and Afro-descendent composers, and our programmes regularly feature female musicians and songwriters. Our lively and informative introductions bring the culture and musical history of Latin America to life.

Biography

“Spiced-up Latin sounds played with a certain elegance…” – Songlines Magazine

“A unique fusion of Latin and Classical with beautiful musicality” – UK Latin Awards

Blending the passion and vitality of authentic Latin music with the smooth sound and virtuosity of the classical tradition, Classico Latino brings fresh perspective on the world of Latin-American music, breathing new life into songs from across the continent.

Classico Latino was formed by the unlikely meeting of Colombian pianist Ivan Guevara and British cellist Graham Walker in Cambridge in 1997. Ivan, then studying for a PhD in Law at St John’s College, had heard about the young musician Graham, a Mathematics undergraduate, and invited him to try playing Latin-American music. An unusual musical relationship blossomed. Shortly afterwards the pair invited Lizzie Ball, another St John’s student, and the first of many violinists to work with the group. More recently the pair has begun to work with virtuoso violinists Barbara Dziewięcka and Harriet Mackenzie, as well as a number of other musicians including bass, percussion and vocals.

The group’s first overseas performances were in Switzerland in the early 2000s. A loyal following developed and Classico Latino began a regular schedule of concerts around the UK and further afield. In 2019, the group performed live for Classic FM and on BBC Radio 3, at Saffron Hall, Thaxted Festival, Cambridge Festival of Ideas, Canterbury Festival, London Jazz Festival at King’s Place, London and went on tour to Belgium and Colombia.

Classico Latino has a proud history of recordings, releasing five studio albums since 2009. The latest, Havana Classic, named runner-up Album of the Year in the 2019 UK Latin Awards, was released in September 2019. It captures the essence of Cuba’s traditional music reimagined through the unique arrangements and sound of Classico Latino. For this recording, made in the famous EGREM studios in Havana, Classico Latino collaborated with a number of eminent Cuban musicians, notably the legendary jazz violinist Omar Puente. This project, which combines the authentic soul and tradition of Cuba with the passion and elegance of classical strings, offers an entirely new experience, bringing together two worlds in a sound full of warmth, joy and colour.

Classico Latino regularly performs with Omar Puente and there is the option of inviting Omar as guest violinist.

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