Culture & Entertainment
From Mexico, With Love: The Villalobos Brothers
From small venues to celebrated spaces like Carnegie Hall and the Apollo Theater, three brothers in their thirties from Xalapa, Mexico are sharing their unique style of Contemporary Mexican music with the world. Ernesto, Alberto, and Luis Villalobos make up the exceedingly talented group, the Villalobos Brothers.
The brothers grew up on a farm in Mexico about an hour away from the port city of Veracruz. Spending their childhood days listening to the music of their grandmother provided inspiration, and their link to traditional Mexican music. As young children they learned to play guitar, violin, piano and other instruments. Realizing their potential, their mother convinced a local music professor, Carlos Marrufo Gurrutia, to mentor a six-year-old Ernesto in classical music. Maestro Carlos would eventually mentor each of the brothers, all children becoming musical virtuosos. After a decade of classical training, the brothers would go on to pursue advanced studies in music, each traveling to different countries: Ernesto to the United States, Alberto to Switzerland, and Luis to Germany and Austria.
The Villalobos Brother’s music is influenced by jazz and blues, but is rooted in traditional Mexican music. Their signature sound is represented by their unique style of fiddling called “fast-chatting violin” which consists of a rapid succession of notes and percussive sounds at times sounding like human voices. The brothers have won numerous awards and have collaborated and recorded with many legendary musicians, including Grammy winners, Paddy Moloney and The Chieftains, Dan Zanes, Jay Rodriguez, Pierre Boulez, Dolly Parton and Eddie Palmieri.
The title of their studio album, “Aliens of Extraordinary Ability,” is a reference to the brother’s Artist Visas and the official name given by the U.S. government to foreign-born musicians. The songs on the album are bursting with energy and enthusiasm, and interspersed throughout the album are beautiful instrumentals and striking, poignant spoken-word pieces by Juan Kanagui. While the passion of the songs needs no translation, an investigation of the titles reveals references to love and social justice. While promoting their album, the Villalobos Brothers emphatically stated, “It is our responsibility not only to entertain you, but also help you imagine a better world for all of us.”
Current plans include the recording of a second album scheduled for early 2015 and the completion of a Symphonic Project in collaboration with Grammy-winning arranger and composer Eduardo Magallanes. See the Villalobos Brothers at Lincoln Center on March 13, 2015. Learn more about the Villalobos Brothers and their upcoming performances at: http://villalobosbrothers.com/