Che Apalache find the sweet spot between Latin folk and bluegrass | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Che Apalache find the sweet spot between Latin folk and bluegrass 

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click to enlarge Che Apalache

Che Apalache

Courtesy Herschel Freeman Agency

Argentine string band Che Apalache play “Latingrass,” which might at first seem like a sterile hybrid, but even a few minutes of listening to this four-piece are enough to demonstrate how beautifully Latin folk and bluegrass sounds can intertwine. Multi-instrumentalist and North Carolina native Joe Troop is a music teacher in Buenos Aires, and in 2018 he explained the group’s genesis to Bluegrass Today: the Appalachian folk style wasn’t popular in his adopted city when he arrived in 2010, but the instruments used to make it were. He taught fiddle, banjo, mandolin, and guitar to many eager students—including one of the group’s banjo players, Pau Barjau. Che Apalache are a multinational affair (Barjau is from Mexico), and its members walk the line between traditional and contemporary, with a tendency to subvert expectations. Their topical song “The Wall” became a borderline viral folk hit, and 5 percent of the proceeds from an Indiegogo campaign they’ve used to fund an album with Béla Fleck producing (which is slated for release this summer) will be donated to Siembra NC, an organization based in Greensboro, North Carolina, that protects Latinx immigrants’ rights.   v

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