I hear...a violin…
But don’t run away! You won’t want to miss Quetzal “QVLN” Guerrero, a very unusual man with a bow, bro.
Not that I don’t understand viophobia.
The other day, I was driving with my much-better half, DJ Medu$a, for a little Sunday trip to good Ol’ Town Scottsdale (aka “where arty meets party”). As usual, nothing but HORRID offerings on HARK Valley’s rock/pop/hip-hop radio stations, so we settled on 89.5 FM.
Usually, it’s soothing, pulse-lowering classical music, over on the left end of the dial at KBAQ, pronounced, nicely enough, “K-Bach.”
Today, for whatever reason, it was one violin-heavy piece after another.
I normally don’t mind this Italian instrument — in moderation. But on these pieces, it seemed like the violins were backed by bodyguards in sunglasses, smiling as they patted holstered gats, with the message “Any of you percussion or flutes make a note, it’ll be your last!”
On my end, the “piercing” notes were daggers.
I felt like my head was right up against the first chair violinist, with a slight breath of relief every time the bow was drawn back — then a devastating screeching as the bow violently ripped across the strings, picking up momentum as it entered my ear, charging through the cortex, exploding the basil ganglion, pausing to pizzicato in the auditory cortex, then back the other way, devilishly avoiding the temporal lobe so I would not forget the experience…
No such torture with QVLN, who makes a homecoming to play with Bay Area legend Michael Franti at the Mesa Amphitheatre Saturday, Sept. 25. Southern Cal rockers Young the Giant are also on the bill. The shows are SOLD OUT. https://mesaamp.com/Online/
As you can hear on his FB page, Guerrero is probably one of the hippest violins on the planet — which, by the way, he has been tripping around. He’s a true global musician, with influences from Latin America, Africa, Australia and whatever else sounds good to his ears.
He jams with singers, rappers, DJs.
This year, QVLN was featured in two songs with Las Cafeteras, a Cumbia remix of Ray Charles’ “Georgia On My Mind” and “If I Was President (Remix)," which “featured 5 artists, 4 cities, and 3 Swing states coming together to elevate a collective vision of America that represents Black, Indigenous, working people of color who changed the direction of the country.”
QVLN told HARK Valley he was “born and raised in Mesa, AZ,” but hasn’t been back in his homeland for quite a while.
“I had been living in Los Angeles since 2005 and that's where I met my wife. She's a very skilled martial artist, personal trainer and yogi as well as a DJ. In 2016 she was offered a job as director of wellness for a fitness corporation/brand in Australia. It was an opportunity of a lifetime to live and work in Australia so we went! Our first year there was in Melbourne where I connected with some amazing musical artists named Amin Payne and Amaru Tribe. We collaborated on some songs and did many performances together.
“The next 2 years we spent in Sydney where I joined forces with a group called Oyobi. We released an EP together called ‘Translations’ and they have a brand new album that's about to be released this month called ‘Transcendence’ which features me on vocals. In 2019 we moved to Brisbane where I connected with an Aboriginal electronic group called Oká and toured all over the country. During that time I was also working as the Associate Musical Director for the Desert Song Festival in Alice Springs, Northern Territories.”
During COVID, he wasn’t just locked down, he was locked out.
“Before the pandemic my wife and I were living in Brisbane, Australia, since 2016. We came back to the states just before the start of the pandemic for a visit and now we’ve been waiting to go back because the borders of Australia are completely closed!”
He might not be able to go home just yet, but at least he’s able to get back to what he does best: dazzling crowds with his skills and range.
“I am definitely happy to be performing and traveling again considering our current situation.”
Another hot show Saturday, Sept. 25: “Hi-Dreams is coming back to the Crescent Ballroom to spin some Electro Funk meets World Soul Disco starting at 10 p.m. This is a free event for ages 21+ on the patio.
If you can’t make it to the Crescent, no worries: You can still check them out at the Valley Bar Rose Room on Oct. 23. Another free event ages 21+.
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