They came, played and left the audience spellbound. A skilled percussion quartet from Mexico produced avante garde interpretations at a performance here using a gamut of strange objects like wood sticks, stones, whirling pipes and even fingernails.
Artistic director Ricardo Gallardo, Miguel Gonzalez, Raul Tudon and Alfredo Bringas - together known as Tambuco - brought alive the flavour of Mexico to a capacity crowd at the Siri Fort auditorium Tuesday evening with their unique style in their first-ever performance in India.
According to Gallardo, Tambuco considers any object that makes a sound as a percussion instrument.
|Three of the quartet members|
"We are devoted to perform exclusively with percussion instruments," he said before the start of the programme.
"We are always in close touch with composers of contemporary music who write pieces for us."
The quartet started off with Music for Pieces of Wood, by American composer Steve Reich, producing exotic sounds from pieces of wood.
Then there was Sabe como eh, in which the performers rubbed rough sticks to create sounds that reminded one of Mere samnewali khirki mein in the comic Bollywood film Padosan in which one of the characters produced sounds by scratching a comb with his nails.
The most innovative of the nearly one-and-a-half-hour performance was Birds and Musique de Tables.
The group dedicated Birds, written by Canadian composer Bill Cahn, to Delhi's avian population.
In Musique de Tables by Belgian composer Thierry de Mey, the artistes performed a "ballet with their hands" on a table that mesmerised the audience with their artistry.
There were also a couple of pieces that the group performed with drums, besides a solo effort by Gallardo using background music.
The event was staged under the cultural exchange programme signed between India and Mexico last year. It was organised jointly by the Indian ministry of culture, the Sangeet Natak Akademi and the Mexican embassy in India.
Tambuco has been honoured with many distinctions and prizes from cultural organisations in Mexico and other countries. They have recorded five CDs and are currently preparing a sixth one. Their CD Ritmicas was selected by Audiophile Audition as one of the best CDs of the year.
The quartet's Carlos Chavez Complete Chamber Music received two Grammy nominations. They have also recorded with Kronos Quarter on their Grammy nominated album Nuevo.
Tambuco has played with reputed ensembles like the Philharmonic Orchestra of Mexico City, he Southwest Chamber Music, Kronos Quartet and the Orchestre Philaharmonique de Montepellier.
The group will perform in Mumbai on Friday.