Saturday, 9 August 2008 @ 1.30 pm • Christ Church Cathedral

Performers Ruben Izarrualde, flutes and vocals; Nestor Gomez, guitar and vocals; Matias Gonzalez, bass guitar and vocals; Horacio Lopez, percussion and vocals

Reviewer Susan Peake

Cuartoelemento kicked off the first of three Buenos Aires performances that took place in this stunning Vancouver Cathedral. The line up around the block just prior to the doors opening was a clear signal that many of us in this part of the world have a love and appreciation for South American music. Cuartoelemento certainly delivered.

The first composition, an instrumental, was a beautifully haunting, melancholy piece that featured the flutist skills of Izarrualde and the intricate guitar work of Gomez. The audience, who swayed enthusiastically to the rhythm of the music, was transfixed by the sheer expertise of these talented musical artists.

After rousing applause, the quartette moved on to a lively samba. Unfortunately, a program listing the names of the pieces was not available, so we were left to our own devices to interpret the names when they were announced by one of the musicians. (Having relatively strong accents, this was a difficult task.)

Bass guitarist, Gonzalez, and percussionist, Lopez provided the perfect rhythmic bedframe on which Izarrualde and Gomez could work their magic.

The group performed nine compositions, which included several of their own plus some by others, but all flavored with the foursome’s unique style. The repertoire was a clever mix of slow love songs, upbeat, perky Latino numbers, and improvisational jazz. The four musicians were clearly thrilled to be performing and their infectious smiles warmed the room – especially Izarrualde, who entertained those in the front row with his bubbly personality.

Cuartoelemento claims that their intention is to transmit the same happiness that they feel to their audience. The standing ovation they received at the end of their performance attests to just that. If the two concerts that were to follow this one were of the same calibre, then those who planned to stay for the next two were in for a fabulous afternoon.

© 2008 Susan Peake