South American Folk Band Hits USAO Stage Feb. 15
CHICKASHA -- When Andes Manta performs, listeners will think they've left the continent. The Davis-Waldorf Performing Arts season kicks off 2008 with international music by the renowned South American folk ensemble Feb. 15 at the University of Science and Arts.
From the lyrical sounds of the Andean flute to the haunting tones of 6-foot long panpipes, Andes Manta illustrates the ancient life and culture of the Incas and South American peoples. With live music, dance and folklore, the folk band weaves a distinct sound conducive to a trip into the Amazon rain forest, complete with chirping frogs and calling birds.
The cultural collage lights up the stage at 7:30 p.m. in the Te Ata Auditorium. Tickets for the show are on sale now in the USAO Business Office or by phone at (405) 574-1213. Tickets are $10, with discounts available for seniors 60 and above, students and children under 18 and USAO faculty, staff and students. Tickets are $1 for Chickasha public school students of all ages.
" This performance should be an incredible venture to the South American rain forest," said Dr. Ken Bohannon, associate professor of music and coordinator for the Davis-Waldorf Performing Arts Series (DWPAS). " These guys are multi-talented, each playing multiple instruments, all types of percussion, guitar, pan pipes of all different types, bird calls -- simply amazing. You don't want to miss this concert."
Andes Manta is the collaboration of four brothers from the Ecuadorian Andes region. Trained on the native instruments of their homeland, the Lopez brothers learned the traditional folk music of their people as generations of musicians before them: from father to son and brother to brother.
For thousands of years, the native people of South America have been performing Andean music from Colombia to Tierra del Fuego. Though its origins are mysterious, Andes Manta continues these ancient musical traditions as they travel across the nation for audiences in one performance hall after another.
Fernando Lopez was one of seven children raised in the Ecuadorian Andes capitol city, Quito. Like most Ecuadorian children, Lopez and his brothers made flutes and panpipes of native bamboo and learned to play from older musicians in the community. At the age of eight, he found an abandoned guitar in a field. Although it had only three strings, Lopez worked out melodies and began teaching himself how to play.
A relative had the guitar repaired, and soon, a music teacher noticed his extraordinary talent and sent the young man to the Quito Conservatory to study classical guitar. But it was the music of the Pueblo, the folk tradition of the Andes, that drew Fernando. At an early age, he and his brothers gained a reputation throughout the music circles of Quinto as a formidable talent in the folk music world.
Twenty years later, Andes Manta continues performing on stages across North America. Through their music, they believe they bring a rare opportunity for cultural understanding between the people of their homeland, South America, and the people of modern North America.
Between the four Lopez brothers, the band plays 35 distinct ethnic instruments. Fernando Lopez plays the entire range of Andean wind and stringed instruments, especially the guitar, the bandolin and the charango. Luis Lopez, the second founding member of the group, is a noted virtuoso on the charango and the quena, the Andean flute. He learned to play in the traditional Andean method, without the benefit of written music.
Like his older brothers, Bolivar Lopez learned to play Andean instruments as a child. He is a noted wind musician and is the featured performer on the rondador, an Ecuadorian panpipe notorious for the difficulty with which it is played. Youngest brother Jorge Lopez specializes in Andean stringed instruments and performs all 35 instruments in the band's repertoire, as do the rest of the members.
The final performance for this season's DWPAS is March 4, when New York-based The Acting Company presents a production of Shakespeare's " The Tempest."
The Davis-Waldorf Performing Arts Series is celebrating its seventh season, thanks to the support of the USAO Foundation and KOOL 105.5 radio with generous underwriting by the Oklahoma Arts Council, Mid-America Arts Alliance, National Endowment for the Arts and the Kirkpatrick Family Fund and foundations, corporations and individuals throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.
Additional support is made possible by the Chickasha Public School Foundation, First National Bank & Trust Company, Alliance Oil & Gas Company, Chickasha Bank & Trust Co., Arvest Bank, Best Western, Mosley Insurance Agency, Livingston Machinery and several other local businesses, organizations and individuals.