Luna Monti and Juan Quintero Duo’s New York Debut

Luna Monti and Juan Quintero performing at the Americas Society.  Photo credit:  Roey Yohai Photography.

Luna Monti and Juan Quintero performing at the Americas Society. Photo credit: Roey Yohai Photography.

The outstanding Argentine folk duo, Juan Quintero and Luna Monti, made their New York debut earlier this month at the Americas Society, in a concert that mixed popular Argentine songs along with their own original compositions. Quintero is a sensitive performer who not only has all the technical skills of a classical guitarist but also a singing voice that pairs beautifully with his partner, Luna Monti. Both performers share a warm stage presence and an engaging sense of humor.

Juan Quintero studied music in the town of La Plata, where he formed the Aca Seca Trio in 1999 with Andrés and Mariano Cantero Beeuwsaert. The trio released three recordings of songs written by Quintero and other major Argentine, Uruguayan and Brazilian composers. The group’s work received praise from artists such as Luís Alberto Spinetta, Pedro Aznar and Egberto Gismonti and was honored with the Konex Prize in 2005.

Luna Monti began singing as a child with her mother and released her first solo album in 2000. As an actress and singer, she traveled throughout France in a musical touring company and it was Argentine composer Raúl Carnota who suggested that she and Quintero ought to form a duo. The Quintero-Monti duo has since performed in Europe and Latin America and have shared the stage with such renowned South American artists as Mercedes Sosa, Juan Falú, Carlos Aguiere and Jorge Fandermole. Together, The Quintero-Monti Duo has released five original albums since 2001.

For their New York debut, the duo performed over a dozen songs for an enthusiastic, packed house. Many of the songs can be found on their 2010 El Matecito de Las Siete release, including one of the evening’s highlights the sweetly sentimental A Pique, a song of reassurance and courage even in the most desperate of times. The duo followed this with a rendition of Quintero’s Mejor Asi.

Here is a video of their performance of “Conmigo”:

At one point Grammy nominee and MacArthur Fellow, saxophonist Miguel Zenón joined them for a two songs, adding a jazz-inflected groove. One song of particularly sublime intensity, Regalitos (“Little Gifts”) is a sweet lullaby and wistful evocation of the simple, everyday tokens of love shown by two parents for their child.  Below is a video of “Ir Yendo,” with Zenón:

What makes this duo so remarkable is their level of musicianship and soulfulness. They have the ability to use rhythm and their voices to orchestrate soaring and spirited music in a way that is as deceptively simple as it is profound. Listen to the two examples below:

 

 

Juan Quintero and Luna Monti’s music can be found on iTunes and their El Matecito de las Siete album appears to be sold out for the moment on Amazon.com but hopefully that will change.

For more details, please visit the duo’s Facebook Page.

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