Arauco is the fruit of a richly inspiring cultural and musical exchange in 2008 between the members of Forestare and the Chilean Guitar Ensemble. The title work by award-winning Chilean composer Javier Farias is inspired by Chile’s epic poem La Araucana, and pays homage to Amerindian resistance, north and south, and to the flowering of their cultures. Québec composers Raphaël Reed and Pascal Sasseville Quoquochi contribute nature-inspired works, and ensemble member François Gauthier’s piece Mille Pattes rounds out the program.
“Here’s a great return! Without false modesty, yours truly as well as the Cahier Week-end, have given a serious hand to this young group that plunges into the arena with twelve guitars! Still under the direction of guitarist, Alexandre Éthier, Forestare has shared the stage with Richard Desjardins, Catherine Major and Claire Pelletier. Five years later, with a consistent formula, these masters of the strings offer a voyage to the heart of the conquest of Chile, the epoch of the conquistadors. With a radiant dynamic, never redundant, we take note of the impeccable work done with the arrangements, where orchestral colors transport the listener to the time of the ancients where courage was necessary. ” Christophe Rodriguez, Journal de Montréal, Thursday March 8th 2012 ****1/2
“Here’s a fascinating disc that my two colleagues on this music page could have commented on. Simultaneously classical, pop, South American-flamenco, lightly mixed with new-age, this “golden nugget the size of a stadium”, as the booklet tells us, is a sort of oratorio that is personified by twelve guitars and two double basses. In less than 40 minutes, this symphonic poem for 82 strings tells us of the fight to the death between the mapuche people and the Spanish conquistadors. In a live context, a text read by a narrator connects the movements, but for obvious reasons, we only find the text in the booklet of the album. Three composers from here (Quebec), Raphaël Reed, Pascal Sasseville Quoquochi and François Gauthier, create a backdrop that frames the centerpiece work from 2007, Arauco. Faithful to their ecological mission, the ensemble Forestare adds a new dimension to their cause: promoter of native people. Unclassifiable and inexhaustible, this disc is one of the revelations of the year!” L’actualité, Georges Nicholson, April 13th 2012
“Second disc in ten years of existence for Forestare, an ensemble that regroups 15 musicians in which there are 13 guitarists, under the direction of Alexandre Éthier. On their first disc, the collective maps a vast forest where we find, among others, the works of Steve Reich (Electric Counterpoint I, II et III) and instrumental versions of songs by Richard Desjardins(Les Yankees, La maison est ouverte). Arauco concentrates on the pieces of Javier Farias, a young Chilean composer whom founded his own guitar ensemble. The musicians of the disc have taken their inspiration from a text that tells of the resistance of the mapuches (native people of central Chile and Argentina) against the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century. The album plays like an epic poem. The confrontations and the moments of tension are greatly reinforced by the double bass, while the movement of troops, the battles and short truces are found in the guitars which are at one moment turbulent and at others melancholic. The most striking thing about Forestare is in the virtuosity of the musicians. Their mastery is found in the judicious balance between tension, passion, violence, and sorrow. The album is completed by the compositions of Raphaël Reed, François Gauthier et Pascal Sasseville Quoquochi” Alexandre Vigneault, La Presse, 31 mars 2012 ***