In this new project, Phaxsi Coca, Camilo Menjura and Diego Laverde combine three elements whose essence is that of wood, strings and bamboo: traditional pipes from the Andes including sikus and qenas, the guitar and the dulcet sounds of the “arpa llanera” harp whose fiery & energetic rhythms of the “joropo” melodies represent the plains that straddle Colombia and Venezuela. The Indigenous, European & African heritage of the people of this region is reflected in the warm & joyful rhythms played by these acclaimed musicians hailing from Bolivia and Colombia.
Phaxsi Coca has collaborated with such projects as Bolivian Jazz and Comunidad Sagrada Coca in her own country, and has been playing with bands from many countries, from Bolivia, to the UK, to Cuba, to Japan. Now based in London, she is co-founder of female band WARMI, and mixes her rhythms with the Andean fusion band Lokandes. She has played at many music events and festivals such as the Big Chill, Glastonbury, and the O2 Arena among others. Phaxsi in the Aymara language means ‘Mother Moon’; Coca is the sacred leaf symbolising the integration of nature & people in the South American Andes area since ancient times. She was born in a small village in Bolivia, which has now become the second-largest city in the country, El Alto. She started to play these instruments and the charango in her teenage years as a self-taught musician.
An incredibly versatile, award-winning initially self-taught musician, Camilo leads the SOAS University World Music Choir, the "LOVE TO SING" group at the Mary Ward Centre College, the LOLCHOIR [Landscapes Of Latin-America Choir] and the "Stapleton Singers" community choir in Stroud Green. For the last few years he’s been committed to performing with a variety of bands that range from Afro-Colombian & Afro-Peruvian music to Andean Jazz, Sudanese Fusion Music and English pop/folk. His guitar -& charango- playing has been featured in the TV Series The Fixer, on ITV seasons 1 and 2, the Scottish film 'Donkeys', the documentary Winds of Change and the upcoming Peruvian film "Retablo". From a musical family from Bogotá, Camilo is the first of his family to build a career from music. Visit his website here.
Diego Laverde Rojas
Also from Bogotá, Colombia, Diego has been playing the Llanera Harp since 1982. He is an active member of the band The Familiar Strangers with singer, Rory McLeod with whom he has toured extensively in the UK and is a founder member of “Ensemble Criollo” a folkloric band based in London which features traditional music from the Colombo-Venezuelan plains. In Colombia, he taught in various music academies and was director of the Folkloric Lowlands' group of the Central University of Bogotá. He has toured the world as a musician with the Ballet Folklorico Colombiano. He performs solo in festivals all over the world.
Click here for a youtube clip of a recent performance in Edinburgh.
The venue is a deliciously sumptuous sofa-filled home-crafted cinema like none other, housed in a beautiful building oozing the history both of the neighbourhood and of costume creation. Even the loos are like none other in London!! Uniquely again, a ticket entitles you to free tea/coffee. Stronger stuff is available at the riverside Mayflower Pub, only a few cobble stones away. Sands Films is an inspiringly intimate place to hear fabulous music.