Multi-instrumentalist Chilean composer and all-around Renaissance man Quique Cruz is the bandleader of Quijeremá, a great group of musicians from North and South America who are based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and with whom I had the privilege of touring and recording for several years. As this project developed I had the honor to help with some of the arrangements, and played various saxophones on the recording sessions for this CD. A number of amazing guest artists appear on this record of astonishing beauty and originality.
During the years between 2000 and 2010, Quique added yet another stringed instrument to his arsenal, which was the Venezuelan "Bandola Llanera," a pear-shaped four-stringed guitar-like instrument with a deep and mysterious tone that sounds a bit like an oud. The term "Llanera" refers to the Llanero culture of Venezuela and Columbia, where the Bandola is an integral part of this powerful and infectious music also characterized by its use of the harp, maracas, cuatro and a distinctive haunting vocal sound.
Quique became fascinated with possibilities of the bandola, and began composing a number of pieces within the tradition, but also stretched the boundaries of the music and the instrument itself. The tunes on this record incorporate influences of llanera, Andean and North American jazz musics, and using the diverse sonic palate available within the context of the group Quijeremá. The result is a kind of hybrid which led to the title of the record: "Kakri" in Chilean slang means a "mutt," a "dog without an owner," or as Quique puts it, "nobody's pet."
Kakri was recorded by Jeremy Allen at Musiquito in Oakland, CA, and produced by Quique Cruz, Jeremy Allen and Quijeremá.