The Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum continues the 35th season of its Wednesday Folk Traditions concert series with a performance from Viva Quetzal on June 22nd, 2016. Viva Quetzal’s unique blending of musical styles and use of over thirty instruments not only deliver a range of melodious rhythms but also represent a coming together of different perspectives. Viva Quetzal’s members—who hail from Latin America and New England—feel that merging musical traditions may help reconcile political, cultural, and linguistic divides throughout the Americas.
Born in Chile, Roberto Clavijo is a former member of renowned folkloric group Guamary, and has toured much of Central and South America. As part of Viva Quetzal, Clavijo plays quenas, zampoñas, charango, Venezuelan cuatro, and vocals. Viva Quetzalalso includes Joe Belmont, who has performed with the group since 1992. Belmont’s classical and electric guitar chops are given added dimension by the Colombian tiple. Jon Weeks plays flute, saxophone, wind synth, and percussion and has performed with many jazz, rock, and Latin bands on the East Coast. Abe “Oscar” Sanchez provides the group with vocals and keyboard. He brings a wealth of musical experience from his native Venezuela, where he was director of a music school and accompanied national and international touring musicians. Viva Quetzal also includes William Rodriquez on congas and vocal, Rudi Weeks on bass, and Eliezer Martinez on drums.
Michael Caito of the Providence Phoenix writes that Viva Quetzal’s “jazz-rock fusion keeps a contemporary ear tuned, and the swing is undeniable.” He calls their sound “spot-on summertime listening.” In addition to performing throughout New England, Viva Quetzal has recorded three albums, most recently Hijos del Sol. They are also featured on the World Music record label Putamayo’s album “Music of the Andes.” At Viva Quetzal’s June 22 performance you will hear the sweet, melancholic sound of the quena—an Andean bamboo flute—mingling with the high-pitched strumming of the charango, and punctuated by the percussive rattling of the cajón peruano. Come experience Viva Quetzal’s infectious rhythms and lively melodies!