The Andean folk quartet, Sukay, has undergone many
personnel changes since it was founded in 1978, but the current lineup features two of the
most respected instrumentalists in the field: Eddy Navia, a Bolivian charango virtuoso who
has recorded 15 albums with the band Savia Andina plus seven solo albums, and Enrique
Coria, an Argentine classical guitarist who has recorded with Mercedes Sosa and Horacio
At the Museum of Natural History last night, Navia and Coria mixed exciting
rhythmic flourishes with intricate finger picking as the San Francisco based band brought
a chamber fold elegance to the old Indian tradition. Also on hand was Carlos Hilario, a
young Peruvian who excelled at the kena (a notched flute) and panpipes.
Brooklynite Quentin Howard, the founder and only original member provides an invaluable
link with a North American audience by introducing songs with stories, jokes and musical
background in English. Joining the band last night was multi instrumentalist Carlos
Veizaga, a Bolivian now based in Arlington where he plays with the Andean group Ollantay.
Navia and Coria played a sparkling duet version of Mozarts "Turkish
March," but far more interesting were their arrangements of traditional Andean tunes,
where delicate melodies were complemented by strong dance rhythms. Sukay gave the Andes
most popular standard, "El Condor Pasa," a new arrangement with melodic
variations and reinforced rhythms. For the encore, Veizaga and a Bolivian woman from the
audience demonstrated their countrys traditional cueca dance as Howard sang the
trilling melody and Hilario pounded the bombo drum.