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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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: http://www.nd.edu/~observer/10162002/News/0.html
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
Dan Napolitano, Director of Student Activities of Alfred University
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???"
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
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
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"
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."
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."
Capital Times, Wisconsin