Festival Vibrations | Ensemble de Musique du Monde’s South American Journey

by Elena Mandolini

The Vibrations Festival is in full swing at the Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Music. Several concerts are offered to the public, covering a wide range of musical styles, and sharing the stage with UdeM students and professors.

On November 30, a concert by the newly-formed Ensemble de musique du monde took place at Salle Serge-Garant. The ensemble’s director, Juliàn Gutiérrez, was delighted to see the creation of such an ensemble at the University, as it demonstrates a real interest in music from all over the world. The evening’s repertoire was devoted to Latin American music and dance but also included a few arrangements of well-known songs in other languages, translated into Spanish.

The mood was festive, and the intimate format of the concert gave us the feeling that we were all invited. The repertoire performed is fairly standard, but the students put a lot of energy and musicality into it. The percussionists carry and support the pieces, and the rest of the rhythm section is impeccably precise. The uncluttered instrumental section of trombone, trumpet, tenor and soprano saxophones is equally precise and unique. Each instrumentalist also delivers solid solos, both rhythmic and lyrical. However, the sound is poorly calibrated, making it rather difficult to hear this quartet’s accompaniments clearly.

Each work features a vocal part accompanied by beautiful harmonies. Throughout the evening, the conductor is also a singer, resulting in rich three-part harmonies. Here too, the voices are sometimes a little buried by the accompaniment.

The audience is often invited to join in the festivities. Simple melodic lines are sung in question-and-answer mode, but above all, there’s a lot of dancing. The evening ends with a very pleasant I Will Survive translated into Spanish and transcribed in bachata style, giving a new dimension to Gloria Gaynor’s famous song. The evening once again demonstrated the great talent of Montreal’s up-and-coming musical talent.

The Vibrations Festival continues until December 2. Many events are free! INFO AND TICKETS HERE!

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