From Mahler in the Cathedral to the virtual stove of Nahuel Pennisi with his own songs and the traditional folk repertoire at the Teatro La Baita, through the sophisticated songs of Fernando Cabrera, Nano Stern, and a drum party, all coexisting with other music. That happened in the fourth edition of FIMBA (Bariloche International Music Festival) that culminated on Sunday, May 28.
The closing was with a chamber concert that combined works by Shostakovich, Haydn and Dvorak, by the Argentine pianist Lorena Eckell and the Ensamble Sur, members of the Rio Negro Philharmonic Orchestra, with residence in the city of Bariloche.
The eclectic Patagonian festival took place in 8 days -between the 19th and the 28th- with more than 30 free concerts and the participation of just over 150 artists, with tickets sold out in each of the venues, including the La Baita Theater, the Cathedral, and the Camping Musical Bariloche, where the farewell concert was heard.
Among the scheduled musicians were also Rodolfo Mederos and Paola Bernal.
Lorena Eckell was in charge of closing the Bariloche International Music Festival. Press Photo
Nature as a setting
The window of the room, behind the musicians, offeredthe unbeatable setting of nature.
The chamber program progressed with the beautiful accompaniment of the declination of the sunset and its pink skies, mutating to orange, and finally the sky darkened when the lively last movement of Dvorak's Piano Quartet No. 2 sounded, with its marked folkloric character, played by Eckell, Luis Salva (violin), Mariano Videla (viola) and Carmen Levinson (cello).
The pianist briefly introduced each of the works before playing them and generated a relaxed atmosphere in the privacy of the room.
The violinists Julia Bolonci and Benjamin Oyarzo accompanied her in Shostakovich's 5 pieces, a series of short dances in Viennese style, and created a pleasant atmosphere that preceded Haydn's Trio in G major Gitano, with the participation of violinist Carolina Yobanolo and cellist Carmen Levinson. All the musicians joined in the encore, the Ave Maria (Tanti Anni Prima) by Astor Piazzolla.
Nano Stern, Chilean singer-songwriter
FIMBA is a festival that continues to consolidate with a proposal that aims to combine different musical languages, between classical and popular.
In the last three days, the presence of Fernando Cabrera and the Chilean artist Nano Stern stood out, accompanied by the string ensemble of the Rio Negro Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Martín Milstein, and the subtle drums of Facundo Catalán.
The Argentine-Chilean-Uruguayan meeting at the Teatro la Baita – we attended the second of the presentations on Saturday 26, one at 20 and another at 22 – was as vibrant as it was exciting.
Stern opened the night with Mil 500 vueltas, continued with Inventemos un país -from his latest album I still believe in beauty-. With his intense version of Manifiesto, always accompanied by his guitar, he paid tribute to Victor Jara, 50 years after his assassination. The string ensemble joined in I Still Believe in Beauty, with a remarkable solo by violinist Martin Pike.
A good combination
Fernando Cabrera sang at FIMBA with Nano Stern.
Although the urgency in Stern's voice is the opposite of Cabrera's sober and almost declaimed style, both achieved a good combination, in particular with the shuddering Te abracé en la noche, which featured the good arrangements of Guillo Espel on the strings.
Cabrera is unique in his divergent mini-imism (that's how the Uruguayan master Coriún Aharonián preferred to call Latin American minimalism).
He entered the stage as if asking permission, after a standing ovation, and settled in with his guitar. Generación began its solitary stretch and was followed by Viveza, with its peculiar expressive divergence between the minimal and intimate gesture in the accompaniment (a small box of matches) and the exaltation of the comparsa that describes the "tiny" song.
In the modest space that Cabrera creates with his particular poetics and his way of singing it, the sounds move in a discreet unity, but intense and persuasive.
The worn words, to which sound gestures and vocal physiological feats were embedded, manage to revive in the poetics and in the unconventional voice of the Uruguayan musician. Merits and merits -it was heard attached to Tobogán- refounds the love song, like Distant Sweetness. Once again, Espel's good arrangement in the ensemble version remained true to the acetic spirit.
Cabrera and Stern joined in, accompanied again by the strings, to sing Subo, by Rolando Valladares, and said goodbye to a standing ovation.
Paola Bernal was present at the Bariloche International Music Festival. Press Photo
The hour of the symphony
On Saturday 27 in the afternoon it was the turn of symphonic music. The audience filled the Cathedral of Our Lady of Nahuel Huapi, designed by Alejandro Bustillo, to listen to the Shenandoah Conservatory Symphony Orchestra (SCSO), an ensemble composed of young people who, under the leadership of Jan Wagner, is dedicated to the traditional and contemporary repertoire.
As in college basketball teams, these orchestras play a special energy and adrenaline.
Rodolfo Mederos, a luxury bandoneon at the Bariloche International Music Festival. Press Photo
After a long bus ride from Bahía Blanca, part of a tour that the SCSO made in Argentina, he offered as a premiere Bohemian Queen, an energizing and eclectic work by the Brazilian Clarisa V. Assad (1978) for trumpet and string orchestra.
The three-movement work is inspired by Chicago-based bohemian artist Gertrude Abercrombie (1909-1977), a friend of Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Sarah Vaughan, for whom she threw memorable parties.
In the last movement of the work, animated by swing and jazz harmonies, Assad tried to recreate one of those unforgettable parties. The first two movements, based on two paintings by Abercrombie, are more lyrical and concerting. The orchestra and the virtuoso soloist Mary Bowden shined, under the direction of Wagner.
Antique Cámara, at the Bariloche International Music Festival. Press Photo
In Mahler's monumental Symphony No.5, which was heard in the second part, Jan Wagner and the orchestra offered a correct reading with outstanding moments of the brass (one of the most demanding writings in the repertoire for that section) and an inspired interpretation of the Adagietto, the most famous music of the Symphony.
One we all know
Just a few hours later, Nahuel Pennisi cheered Saturday night. With his usual charisma, he invited the audience to imagine a bonfire, generated a special atmosphere with his voice and guitar, and his singing soon joined with that of an excited audience that filled the capacity of the Teatro La Baita in both presentations, one at 19 and another at 22.
Nahuel Pennisi made everyone sing at the Bariloche International Music Festival. Press Photo
The musician alternated his own songs -such as Desvío, Avance and Mundo- with a folkloric block. The string ensemble of the Rio Negro Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Milstein, began its collaboration with the Zamba del laurel, by Armando Tejada Gómez and Cuchi Leguizamón.
A drum party was organized at the Municipal Center for Art, Science and Technology. Trepún opened with four well-chosen works: Son bulerías by Miguel Cruz; Trio per uno by Nebojša Zivkovic; Afta Suba by Mark Ford, and Nian 3 by Pius Chang. They started with a trio of Peruvian cajones, then interacted on the marimba and ended on the drums.
The percussion group is made up of Facundo Catalán, Carla Jensen and Antonella Lardani, and all are part of the Rio Negro Philharmonic Orchestra. The rave atmosphere was progressively increasing with La banda rodante, MuTa (Drum Woman), and the festive atmosphere already installed ended up intensifying with Metatambó and La Nube Percusión.
The Rio Negro Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Martín Fraile Milstein (current artistic and musical director), in addition to hosting is the link that articulates the festival, which has the support of the Government of Rio Negro and the City of Bariloche, and functions, among other things, as a projection space for artists from the region such as Graciela Novellino, Mariana Gonzalez, Camerata Juvenil de Bariloche, Metatambó and Patagonia Tango, among others.
MUTA (Mujer Tambor) put party at the International Music Festival of Bariloche. Press Photo
Milstein created the orchestra in 2014 -after the festival- with a decentralized system, a model that avoids bureaucratization and allows the orchestra to be present in large and small cities, and semi-rural areas, developing extension activities through educational programs.
Eleven regional chamber ensembles that participate in the Festival were also formed as detachments of the orchestra, interacting with the guest musicians.