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Laura Fuentes y Calicanto

Calicanto is a bridge of warmth and song between musicians from Latin America, and audiences from all over the world. Founded by Laura Fuentes in 1996, the Calicanto project gets its name from the historic landmark that once united the shores of the Mapocho River in Santiago, Chile. The core duo of Laura Fuentes and Pedro Villagra are joined by a third musician to light a new fire, celebrating the rich diversity of Latin American music from Chile, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

Laura Fuentes
- Lead singer, guitar, Venezuelan cuatro and percussion

Laura Fuentes y Calicanto have showcased at the Heart of America NACA and the 1998 Folk Alliance Conference. Laura was born to North American parents in Santiago, Chile, where in 1973, a military coup led to the execution and imprisonment of many people who were working for human dignity and equality. Forced into exile, Laura continued to explore her musical and cultural birthright in Madison, Wisconsin. She received her music degree in vocal performance at the University of Wisconsin. As the lead singer with Sotavento, Paraguas and Madisalsa, Laura performed internationally and recorded four CD's before releasing her first solo album, Sobrevida in 1998 and Delicadeza in 2000. She now resides in Santiago Chile.

Pedro Villagra
- Quena, quenacho, sikus, flute, mandolin, voice and saxophones

From Contulmo, Chile, Pedro's childhood was marked by the intimate and frequent presence of Victor Jara in his life. During the military regime in Chile, Pedro Villagra formed the band Santiago del Nuevo Extremo, which came to be of the most important and popular creative voices in Chile during the 1980's. For many years, Pedro Villagra was a member of the internationally famous Inti?Illimani where he was a lead vocalist and saxophone master.

Patricio Acevedo
- Guitar. Voice. Percussion

Born in Santiago de Chile with a degree in classical guitar from the University of Chile, he now lives in Philadelphia where he is a member of a Brazilian batucada, an all-drum band that plays samba and carnival music. Acevedo is the co-founder of Paramo, a Philadelphia- based group that keeps the neuvo cancion heritage flourishing with new compositions.


Comments from others:

"Laura was wonderful!... One of the best concerts in the history of our outdoor ...series. She's a very talented singer and the audience loved how she talked about each song and the meaning of its Spanish lyrics...(allowed) people to really appreciate the subtleties of the culture."

- Michael Nejman, William Rainey Harper College, author of Diversity, Student Activities and Their Roles in Community Colleges

the following review can be found at its original location:

Hispanic music pays Saint Mary's a visit

The band Laura Fuentes y Calicanto entertained students at the College-sponsored Brown Bag Luncheon Tuesday that helped to close celebrations of Hispanic Heritage Month at Saint Mary's.

The trio played Latin American music that had African, European and pre-Columbian influences.

"We're calling on these roots, music that was hidden for a long time," said Fuentes. "Latin American music is too big and varied to fall under one name."

Calicanto helps to bridge gaps between varieties of cultures through expressive music.

The band's songs included sounds from countries such as Chile, Mexico and Venezuela. Laura Fuentes, Pedro Villagra and Tomás Gonzalez Jansana combined their own styles and expressions of music into their performance, creating a sound that brought together a diversity of cultures.

Along with entertaining, Fuentes provided information about the history of the music and its origins. The performers also explained the roots of the instruments.

"[Today's music] may be modernized, but the roots are still there," Fuentes said.

Laura Fuentes y Calicanto gave an interactive performance. Students participated with the artists, playing percussion instruments.

Participants were able to see the combination of many cultures through songs and discussion.

At the end of the performance, there was a question-and-answer session in which audience members were able to express their thoughts about the event.

"Multicultural events are a good way to experience other customs and styles of music," Megan Canzoneri said. "Their visit allowed students to become more aware of cultural differences. [Laura Fuentes y Calicanto] shared their knowledge with us and made us experience other worlds."

The members of the group currently reside in Chile, but they visit the United States twice a year. They are in the middle of their fall tour and will return to the United States in the spring.

The Brown Bag Luncheon with Laura Fuentes y Calicanto was sponsored by the Office of MultiCultural Affairs, La Fuerza and the Spanish Club.

By Amanda Misnik
News Writer

Dan Napolitano, Director of Student Activities of Alfred University writes:

I'm going to forward a great comment from one of our faculty members, so please pass it along.

Thanks for everything.


There are not appropriate words in the English language, nor the Spanish for all I know, to express my sheer delight, wonder, and amazement at having Laura en troupe' in my classroom. The students were spell bound. Laura had a presentation style that was very informative, encouraged questions, class participation, and expertly sampled the unique talents of her trio. It was AWESOME and a real 'chance of a lifetime' to see and hear this type of music up close and personal. I know many will go to the concert...but in my opinion, it was worth the cost of their entire engagement just to have them in my music appreciation/world music class. THANK YOU Sooooo much! I wish i had the funds to purchase more folk instruments personally so I could show them in class along with our listening. I was inspired to "dream of traveling to South America myself" and searching out remote villages to find even more folk melodies while experiencing this marvelous music culture first hand.

What group do we have coming next?????? How many could we get in a year???"

Ed Wadin
Department of Music

Enhancing Spanish Culture At Siena Heights University (A Review)
Jamie Salazar, staff writer, Siena Heights University Newspaper

In 1996, Laura Fuentes, along with her husband Pedro Villagra, created a duo musical group called Laura Fuentes y Calicanto. Blending an array of music from Latin America, Laura Fuentes and her group have traveled all over the United States touring colleges and universities. Siena Heights University was honored by their presence on Monday, October 8.

Laura Fuentes y Calicanto presented authentic music from different Latin American countries such as Chile, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, and Peru while playing several instruments simultaneously. It was absolutely the most amazing concert ever at Siena Heights University. All of the students and faculty in attendance were astonished by their great performance that evening.

Laura Fuentes was born in Santiago, Chile to North American parents. In 1973, she was forced to move into exile. Her family fled to Madison, Wisconsin. In that time, Fuentes could not give up the culture she grew up with and began performing and singing in Madison. After high school, Fuentes continued her musical education and graduated from the University of Wisconsin. Later, she moved back to Santiago, where she resides presently. Her husband, Pedro Villagra, was born in Contulmo, Chile. During the military regime in Chile, he formed the band Santiago del Nuevo Extremo, which became very influential and important during the 1980s.

Frequently, the band will invite one or more individuals to participate in some of their concerts. Usually, the guest lives nearby the area where the band will play. The person will help them out with the variety of instruments that they like to use such as guitars, drums, flutes, the Venezuelan cuatro, quenas, quenachos, the sikus, madolins, saxophones, and cajons.

At every concert, the band encourages the audience to join in by clapping their hands to the beat of the music, playing some of the instruments, and singing along to the chorus. All of the songs performed have a deeper meaning that Fuentes explains before she begins to sing each song. The love song, Caramba, mi amor and the acapella performance of Grillos were the two songs that wooed the crowd and made them fall in love with the culture of Latin America.

Impressed by the performance, Dr. Renato Gonzalez expressed, "The show was outstanding because of the incorporation of all the instruments from the native countries of Brazil, Chile, and Venezuela, along with the representation of diverse Latin American countries. Throughout their music, there was a message to love and understand multi-cultures and to appreciate all of their contributions." One of the many Spanish students in attendance that night, Torrey Navarre stated, "Me gusta las buenas canciones."

Laura Fuentes y Calicanto have created two albums so far in their careers. In 1997, Sobrevida debuted with the popular songs, Caramba mi amor and La Cholita Norteria. Three years later, Delicadeza debuted in September.

Overall, this concert sparked a genuine interest for all the people in the audience to learn more about the culture of Latin America musically and historically. Laura Fuentes y Calicanto brought Latin America to Dominican Hall.

"Laura Fuentes' sweet voice made the music live . . .the audience participated warmly and took with them the emotion and the message."

- Rodrigo Pincheira, Diario El Sur, Chile

"Laura Fuentes y Calicanto's day was a highpoint for our programming year . . .warm and engaging, excellent musicians"

-Cindy Baldwin,
Director of Student Programs, Bethany College

"Just a brief note to say, "Thank you!" The concert was absolutely wonderful: a great gift to those of us who dearly miss the poetry and the beauty of our Latin world. Thank you for a most delightful evening!!!!"

-Luchy Littlejohn, Faculty
University of the South

"Ms. Fuentes and her trio put in a beautiful performance. She appreciated the audience and the audience appreciated her."

-Eric Benjamin,
Director of the Multicultural Center
University of the South , Tennessee

"Sustaining a taut, supple blend of strings, winds, percussion and voices. Singer Laura Fuentes swoops above the male harmonies with a strong, incantatory cry."

-Kevin Lynch
Capital Times, Wisconsin




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