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Mexico’s Natalia Arroyo Ensemble Will Perform at Mountain City Traditional Arts

Frostburg State University’s Mountain City Traditional Arts, in partnership with World Artists Experiences (WAE) and the Embassy of Mexico, will present the Natalia Arroyo Ensemble on Thursday, April 25, at 7 p.m. at 25 E. Main St. in Frostburg. The concert is free and open to the public. No tickets are required, though donations are greatly appreciated.

The ensemble will include Arroyo on violin, Edwin Montes on guitar and José Luis Rodriquez on double bass. The group performs traditional music from northern Mexico, consolidating their own sound in a fresh and innovative way. The original arrangements and compositions of the ensemble’s repertoire fuse the roots of Mexican music with chamber music and jazz. The result is a blend of sounds that captures the ensemble’s rich knowledge of Mexican traditional music and the ever-changing rhythms of northern Baja California. Their performance has been described as fresh, intense and innovative.

“Reconnecting Roots” (“Reconectando Raíces”) is the ensemble’s first full-length album. It was supported by the National Endowment for Culture and Arts of Mexico. The ensemble has performed in various venues, including Salisbury University and Allegany College of Maryland, the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C., the Feria Internacional del Libro in Mexico and the program “Foro Once” of television network Canal Once in Mexico, among others.

Award-winning multi-instrumentalist and composer Arroyo has initiated and has been involved in music projects with several communities. She has also contributed to environmental protection activities for many years. While working for the Mexico-based NGO Ecological Group GECI, she composed a songbook to promote nature conservation in the Islands located off the western coast of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula. Arroyo developed music workshops with local communities and founded the Isla Guadalupe Fishing Community Choir. As a creator she has composed three albums, “La Vereda,” “Island’s Songbook” and “Reconnecting With Roots.” Her discography as an arranger and performer includes five albums and she has performed in important festivals around the world. Arroyo was a resident at the OMI International Artist Residence in New York and a fellow of the National Arts Fund (México) for traditional music creation.

Montes, a classically trained guitarist, has won regional and international guitar competitions, including the National Guitar Competition during the Hispanic Guitar Festival in Tijuana, Mexico. He has performed with various groups throughout Mexico, the U.S. and Italy and has collaborated with ensembles such as The Jacky Britton’s band, Ruh Saahil (a Middle East music ensemble) and the Ensenada Guitar Trio. He is active with the Petit Comite (New Orleans jazz), the Ivan Trujillo Ensemble (contemporary jazz), the Trio Berimbau (Brazilian jazz) and the Wilfrido Terrazas Sea Quintet. Montes teaches guitar at the Center of Musical Studies of the University of Baja California, Mexico, where he also directs the Guitar Orchestra. He also teaches at the Instituto Contemporáneo de Música de Baja California in Ensenada.

Rodríguez is a double bass player who likes to make music in various styles like jazz, contemporary popular music and classical music. He has collaborated with various orchestras and ensembles, including the Natalia Arroyo Ensemble, Baja California Orchestra, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Symphony Orchestra and Ensenada Chamber Orchestra. In addition, he has accompanied personalities such as Andrea Bocelli, Il Divo, Los Tigres del Norte, Fernando De la Mora and Mariachi Vargas. He has collaborated in the premieres of works by various composers and participated in the recording of the film “Atardecer muriendo” by Amós Navarro and music for several composers and bands. Rodríguez is a professor of double bass and electric bass at the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, the Instituto Contemporáneo de Música de Baja California and the Forjadores del Sauzal Orchestra.

WAE is a nonprofit organization established in 2003 that seeks to bridge international understanding through cultural and citizen diplomacy in communities, colleges and schools, using the international language of the arts and citizen diplomacy.

MCTA is a program of FSU and a founding member of Maryland’s Folklife Network. It receives support from the Maryland Traditions Program of the State Arts Council.

For more information, call 301-687-8040.

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