Last night’s sold-out opening, proved to be a fantastic beginning for Luna Rumba’s new project, Duende. Yes, the original Luna Rumba band is no more, but out of that band is born Duende. Geo Uhrich, the founder of Luna Rumba, recently created the new band, Duende, which premiered on January 7th at The Octopus Garden in La Cruz on the North Shore.
The goal of Duende is to connect with all kinds of people and give the audience new ways to think about the music that we all love. To imagine, create and arrange, this effort has proven to be a beautiful gift to Duende and they want to share it with all people who love music!
Duende is not your ordinary run-of-the-mill band. Duende is infused with extraordinary musical talent, creativity, art, dance and hybrid instruments which leads to the quintessential, avant garde musical experience.
The music is eclectic and covers both classical and popular. During last night’s opening, there were some vocals, but the true star of the evening was the extraordinary blending of the 5 string cello (with a range from cello to bass), the 5 string violin (covering violin to viola), acoustic guitar and percussion (including various drums and other familiar percussion instruments).
The true stand out talent of the night was Luis Rascon on cello, flute, drums and more! To say that he is a musical wizard is probably an understatement. He demonstrated throughout the evening, a complete mastery of the music and played perfectly in sync with Lilly Alcantara on percussion and Geo Uhrich on guitar and violin. Each member of Duende is an accomplished musician. Geo is a fabulous violinist and guitarist. Lilly in all her beauty, grace and expertise is riveting as a dancer and does a superb job with percussion and vocals.
The evening started with an introductory recording about the spirit of Duende. It highlighted the mysterious face, born of struggle and suffering. True creativity needs the spirit of Duende which can flow through music, art and words!
The music started with an inspirational sample of Beethoven’s 5th as an example of how 4 notes can be so recognizable in music. Where do great melodies originate? Duende asks the question and answers it throughout their creative performance. Their goal is to find different melodies and rhythms and present them in new and creative ways.
To enhance and create a full sound with just 3 musicians, Duende uses state of the art synchronized double looping. There are no back tracks, just music from these exceptional musicians. We hear the melody in the background and it’s fascinating to see how well the looping works to create a complete sound.
Other songs of the evening included the Beatles’, “Eleanor Rigby,” along several of Geo’s original songs and a gorgeous version of “Fragile,” (Sting).
A song and a few words of tribute and remembrance were paid to Willie Royal (from the world famous duo Willie and Lobo.) No one played the violin exactly like Willie and he was remembered with a performance of his song, “El Faro” (The Lighthouse).
A violin solo by Geo featured the theme song from the movie, In the Mood for Love.
The River Dance song, “Fire Dance,” merged Celtic with Flamenco and was done flawlessly with some challenging musical timing. Lilly’s dance was also breathtaking on this number.
After intermission, Luis played the Duduk, a double-reed, woodwind flute made of apricot wood. It’s known to be the world’s oldest known musical instrument and originates from Armenia.
Pink Floyd’s “Against the Wall” was another real treat. Luis played the flute hauntingly on “Dust in the Wind.” And there was a fantastic mashup that included Michael Jackson’s, “Billie Jean.” A composition by Lorena Triste and an original Geo Uhrich song in Spanish about Puerto Vallarta closed out the evening.
Duende is off to a great start. When you consider this group has spent only 2 months creating this new musical experience they shared on opening night, it is truly miraculous how good it really was! I look forward to seeing the group grow and develop into a world-class act, which I know they are capable of.
I’d also like to mention the incredible efforts of Geo’s partner, Fernanda Fenton, who continues to work tirelessly promoting and assisting Duende. Don’t miss seeing Duende throughout the season at Octopus Garden in La Cruz and the new venue, Incanto, in Vallarta that Tracy Parks is now opening. You can find show dates and information on facebook about Duende.