February and March – time running out in Cuenca!

En la ciudad…

This has been a busy time. It encompasses the end of January and the beginning of March. It started with a concert: Rock Sinfonico (Symphonic Rock) presented by a rock band (Dharma) and the Symphony of the University of Cuenca. It was a very Procol Harum/Edmonton Symphony kind of evening. The term symphonic rock didn’t exist when PH recorded A Whiter Shade of Pale, but, today that recording is acknowledged as a precursor to the form. Symphonic Rock is described as a sub genre of progressive rock in which rock is merged with classical music traditions and structures. Its roots are in the 60s and bands like Mothers of Invention (Freak Out!), Moody Blues (Days of Future Past), Beach Boys (Pet Sounds) and the Beatles (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band). All of these experimented with structure, technology and a variety of concept models to seed the evolution of progressive rock.

This link will take you to a YouTube collection of Rock Sinfonico performances including some here in Cuenca, Ecuador. On Google, use the search terms Rock, Sinfonico, Cuenca and you will find a lot more information.
And, that’s enough of that!

A couple of days later, I attended a workshop on instruments indigenous to Ecuador. So the clatter of seashells, bones, seeds and gourds punctuated the reedy cry of wooden pipes of all different constructions to create a cacophony with a pulse, a personality and a purpose. Music was a form of therapy for the ancient Ecuadorians and shamanic playing, dancing and chanting called out to their gods. In fact, some of the percussion instruments were played by beating, scraping and rolling them across the supine bodies of the inflicted during healing ceremonies. Enough of that, too!

Musica!

I went to a classical piano recital at the Remigio Crespo Toral museum.

Remigio Crespo Museum - Cuenca

Remigio Crespo Museum interior room - CuencaThe feature of this recital was the piano: a turn of the 20th century Pleyel Piano.

Remigio Crespo Museum Playel Piano - CuencaPleyel pianos date to around 1807. They were the favourite of Chopin, and, his Nocturnes Op. 9 (1833) is dedicated to the piano maker’s wife “Madame Camille Pleyel”. M. and Mme. Pleyel separated after four years of marriage on account of her “multiple infidelities” – and Chopin dedicated this music to her even though she didn’t actually make the piano – her husband did… hmmmmm… . In any case, the piano performance featured the work of Chopin, performed on a contemporary of piano that he preferred to play. The pianist was Peter DuDar. He was brilliant, and a Google search revealed that he is a composer, sculptor, pianist, calligrapher, painter, teacher and poet. Click here to hear Peter.

DuDar - pianist

Moving on.

Mas musica!

To conclude a musical day I went to Pedregal Azteca, a Mexican restaurant with a light jazz/pop trio.

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Elias and Florencia are just amazing.

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I don’t know the name of the other guitar player who sat in, but he was great too!

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Muchacha del zombi

At the Inca Lounge and Bistro on the banks of the Tomabomba river I met an aspiring 14 year old makeup artist (she was there with her father). She had been practicing on her little sister for a zombie effect.

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14 year old make-up artist Zombifies little sister – I think she really got it. What talent.

 Montañita

I also worked in a trip to Montañita on the Ecuadorian coast. Days were 34̊C. But, it was a dry heat ;-). I stayed in Olón, about 4 kilometres down the road. Montañita is all about surfing, nightlife, music, dancing and partying. Much as I love that, I like to be able to withdraw once and awhile and Olón is just the ticket. I had a great room in a quiet place for $25 a night. I was 20 metres from the beach. A cab to Montañita was $1.50, so, I had the best of everything. Here is a gallery of photos for those of you who like beaches, sunsets and pictures of food…

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Since my return to Cuenca, I’ve been thinking about how my time here is dwindling. April is looming and my stay here is coming to an end. I’ll be back in Toronto in May and I don’t know if I’ll do another blog entry before I get home, so, if I don’t, I’ll see my Toronto friends soon.

Watch out Statlers. 😛

Beware Grafitti’s. >:D

Be prepared BMB! 😈

Neat!

Neat!