Pascuala Ilabaca and Fauna
The Brighton Dome Studio Theatre, Brighton
Sunday 16th November 2014
Chilean singer-songwriter Pascuala Ilabaca delivered a concert of pure energy and enthusiasm, motivated by her desire to bring South American music to other parts of the world and champion the music of her homeland. Many of the original songs she performed were dedicated to strong female figures in Latin American history, such as the tune Violeta y Frida, dedicated to Violeta Parra and Frida Kahlo.
The people of Chile call their country ‘país de poetas', the country of poets, so it’s no surprise that she dedicated a song to the poet Gabriela Mistral (the first South American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature).
Opening with the tune Isla, from her album Busco Paraiso, she danced expressively, luring the clarinet player towards her, then dancing with the movement of the clarinet, until both of them were moving as one. She explained that the tune was about two lovers who are poor and have nothing but each other so create an island around themselves.
Performing on keyboard and vocals, she also paid tribute to the late Víctor Jara, the poet and songwriter executed by government soldiers in 1973, and drew on Chile’s rich musical history by paying tribute to the music of the mapuche people of Chile.
The original composition Rey Loj (King Clock) is one of her ‘music in pyjamas’ pieces which is about how once we created and controlled clocks but now they control us, and about our inner clock that is not a machine.
With the first set consisting of gentle songs about love, for the second set she invited the audience to get up on their feet and dance. She performed more of her upbeat tunes such as the title track of her album Busco Paraiso and the lively No Es Nuez which really got the crowd moving. For the encore she did an acoustic duo version of her tune Teneme en Tu Corazón, from the album Pascuala Canta a Violeta.
Whilst this was an evening of world music, and more specifically Chilean folk songs (cuecas), there were clearly some jazz elements mixed in with the music. Reeds player Miguel Razzouk provided lots of jazz-based solos, particularly on alto saxophone, together with some more folk/klezmer style performances given on the clarinet. With an energetic and impressive backing band, Pascuala Ilabaca and her group Fauna succeeded in bringing the music and culture of Chile to an enthusiastic audience.