Allan Guzman & In Dubio

Date and Venue Saturday 28 February @ 7 pm, | Bungie Park, La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Summer in Costa Rica, sitting under the stars, hearing Allan Guzman sing his songs, and later, the In Dubio band with vocalist Melissa Soro! Forget Vancouver for now with its snow and cold winters, as I lay on my back hearing Latin beats from these fabulous musicians.

The concert opens with internationally known singer Allan Guzman strumming his guitar and singing his original compositions, his poignant A manos llenas, El Rap de la Frivolidad, with its hiphop beat, and San José, a lamentation of what the city has become. I liked this the best as it reflects the way Costa Rica was once, when its citizens would walk the streets feeling safe, unlike today, Allan sings, where "we are afraid of being mugged or killed in the streets of San Jose."

His repertoire included songs from other Hispanic composers such as A la orilla de la chimenea and Amor se llama el Juego ( Joaquin Sabina, Spain), El Blues del Autobus ( Miguel Rios, Spain), A primera vista (Pedro Aznar,Argentina), Todos los dias un poco (León Gieco, Argentina), Alfonsina y el mar (Violeta Parra, Chile) and Amigos ( Enanitos Verdes,Argentina).

Melissa Soro and the In Dubio Band, in the second half of the program, sang classic rock, blues, funk, and jazz. The group whose intentions were to sing "jazz fusion" was formed in 2003 with base guitarist Pablo Herrera who studied jazz under Jeff Berlin at the Players School of Music in Clearwater Florida; lead guitarist Osvaldo Gonzalez who studied under Costa Rican jazz and blues masters Roberto Antillón, Edgar Sequeira and Carlos Delgado; percussionist Ronny Rodriguez who co-founded the jazz Cafe Rubato; and Melissa Soro who also sings for the rock group Media Hora and who has sung with Tango India, Bernardo Quesada, MAF, Moldo, Luisga and internationally known singers such as Elsa Basil and La Cegua.

Original compositions "Y el fuego...", "Dejarse definir" and "Ángeles en mi cama" by Osvaldo Gonzalez were sung with panache by Melissa Soro as well as the classic hits Superstition, Roxanne, King of Pain, Just like Heaven, among others.

I asked Gonzalez how he was inspired by his compositions and he said: "Y el fuego". I think was inspired (unconsciously, now that I think of that) in an old love, a woman with whom I had something special. From my point of view, that song is a way of calling her back, a way of remembering those bygone days. The second one, "Dejarse definir", I have to say that the title was directly inspired in one verse by one of my favorite poets, José Lezama Lima, from Cuba. This song, I think, talks about life. I mean, about the fact that it is important to face life, to let it be defined.. Anyway, it is another kind of song about someone, could be a girl, could be a past experience, that disappointed me somehow, so that´s why in the song I say "ya no quiero más amor".The third song called "Ángeles en mi cama" was written because Pablo, the bassist of the band, asked me to write it. He composed the music, but he wanted me to write something with that title. I thought inmediatly of his three children. That song, then, is maybe about Pablo´s children."

It was an enjoyable evening and I suggested to Melissa that she and the band should come to Vancouver this summer and participate in either the Vancouver Jazz Festival or the Music Festival. Kudos and hope to see you soon!

© 2008 Ed Farolan