Ya Ya Sol

French Quarter festival

April 17, 2004

Ya Ya Sol were happy to be here. Positive energy permeated their Latin music at Saturday's French Quarter Fest performance. Ecuadorian guitarist/vocalist Juan Josse headed the outfit, which had an ethnically diverse line-up. Guitarist/vocalist Don Williams, bassist Mark Lemere, flautist Hart McNee, drummer Tom Chute, violinist Damon Kirin, percussionist Louiis Carillo, conga player Monty Montgomery and percussionist/harmonica player/back-up vocalist Jokubas Ziburkus rounded out the band.

The band blended rhythms of Ecuadorian albazo, Columbian vallenato and Cuban son, but in laymen's terms, they were just very good at layering percussion onto melodies to create laid-back music. They rarely played an up-tempo song. Josse was not a massive presence, instead happy to be as essential to the band as the percussionists. Josse had an exuberant presence and a beautiful guitar-picking style that could make him a possible force unto himself. With the base laid down by Gordy and the percussionists, McNee and Kirin colored the music and dropped in and out as they pleased. They were very much appreciated. The music was well-performed and very enjoyable.

I didn't have to understand the lyrics to enjoy the music. These guys were perfect for a sunny day on the grass.


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