Four members from New Inca Son performed an 11-song concert at the McCarthy Center Forum March 26, to an audience of 40 people.
New Inca Son has a lot of prestige behind them: they performed at the 1994 FIFA World Cup, as well as the 1996 and 2002 Olympic Games, among other noteworthy performances.
Performing styles of music that evoke the feeling and heroism of Andean and Peruvian folklore, New Inca Son took the audience on a trip across Hispanic cultures.
The band included Santos Alva (acoustic guitar), René Quisbert (charango), Omar Clavijo (sikus/flutist), and Rod Camelia (bassist, substituting for Freddy Yauri that day), all of them dressed in ponchos from the Peruvian Andes.
The opening piece, “The Flight of the Condor,” which they gave with no introduction, was one intended to pull the audience in, playing deep melodies and low notes, creating a feeling of intensity. They played a powerful outro led by the charango, a 10-string guitar that is popular in the Andean regions.
Many of the songs focused on Clavijo’s flute playing and the harsh strums of Quisbert’s charango. Clavijo asked the audience to clap along to the beat.
Clavijo said, “During this presentation, we are going to be playing a variety of rhythms coming from the Bolivian folklore, the Peruvian folklore, so I hope you like our music.”
The second piece was a more “happy, upbeat” piece, which had a reggaeton-inspired feel to it.
Clavijo’s flute playing really set the mood and the bass provided a smooth, auditory ride for the listener, topped with an awesome flute solo.
The fourth song, which was “inspired by Bolivian folklore,” showcased Clavijo’s expertise in his craft – he switched among four instruments of varying sizes, the malta, the sanka, and the toyo, as well as the flute that he started out with, leading to much confusion and wonderment from those in attendance.
“Playing this instrument is a beautiful experience – it allows me to play my heart out,” Clavijo said.
Then, something magical happened.
“Now, we’re gonna change the rhythm. This song is going to be one that some people know. … It was a big hit in America,” prefaced Clavijo.
Song number six’s opening guitar notes were played by Clavijo on his charango. The crowd leaned forward in their seats, recognizing it in shock.
“Des-pa-cito,” sang Clavijo, along with the rest of the crowd.
What followed was an Andean twist on one of the biggest hits of last summer, compelling some members of the audience to get up and dance including Dexter King, a junior.
From there, he danced for the rest of the concert.
“I didn’t grow up dancing, but in the past few years, I realized that live music is a good thing, so if it’s good music, I think it’s nice to get up and dance a little bit,” said King.
After that surprise, the dancing continued as the band played on, song after song. They got to their 10th song, this one based around Bolivian folklore, with vocals from Clavijo, Camelia, and Quisbert, with solos from Clavijo and Quisbert.
However, they had one more thing up their ponchos – as that song ended, the tempo picked up and turned into a rousing rendition of Richie Valens’ 1958 version of the Mexican folk song, “La Bamba.”
Complete with a passionate flute solo by Clavijo, it got everyone up on their feet, dancing to their heart’s content, closing out the show, in the process.
The final Midday Performance of the semester is April 29, in the Heineman Ecumenical Center, featuring the Hinge Ensemble.
[Writer’s Note: This post has since been edited (as of May 15, 2019) to correct the names of the musicians. This is the price you pay for relying too much on outdated internet information for research purposes – my sincerest apologies to the fantastic people at New Inca Son. You guys rock (and deserve better from me).]