For a week, the performances of the Asunción jazz festival, previously held in theaters and auditoriums, went on the market, the bus terminal and central squares. Free concerts by mythical international figures such as the American guitarist Mike Stern, the Brazilian pianist Ivan Lins and the Spanish Chano Domínguez shared the poster with Paraguayan stars such as the harpist Juanjo Corbalán, the rocker Rolando Chaparro, the Toti Morel group or the fusion of tradition and modernity of Nestorló and the Caminantes.
Thousands of people gathered in the Plaza de la Democracia to listen to the warm nights of the Asujazz 2018 in front of a high stage erected between the illuminated and majestic buildings of the National Development Bank and the Hotel Guaraní. From there, acid melodies and syncopated rhythms crossed the bars, grills, shops and streets of the historic center of Asunción. The music flowed until getting lost in the river that surrounds the city and gives name to Paraguay. A country that with events like this seeks to position itself in the international music scene and at the same time give a boost to local creators.
"Paraguay is absolutely unknown even when there are artists of great quality, at the same level as those of a global scale, we understand that through art we can generate a round trip space, a regional cultural tourism space", explained the director EL PAÍS. of Culture of the Municipality of Asunción, Vicente Morales.
Therefore, in addition to Stern and Dave Weckl, the Spaniards José Luis Gutiérrez and Chano Domínguez and the Italian Paolo Fresuesta, the sixth edition of the AsuJazz had references from the region such as the Argentinian Aca Seca Trío, the Chilean Antonio Monasterio, and the Brazilian Lins. This edition of AsuJazz was dedicated to Jorge "Lobito" Martínez, a reference of Paraguayan jazz, who died 15 years ago.
The ambition to internationalize the festival has the financial support of six countries, including Spain, through the cultural center Juan de Salazar, and especially the American cultural center, which celebrates its own jazz festival 21 years ago and that for the first time This time it has partnered with the local municipality to universalize the event.
"We want the citizenship to make the festival their own, as in those that are made in Europe, which are public and free." The enhancement of a cultural and artistic offer of a city must be done in this way, I am convinced that this project will be a regional center for visiting and exporting culture, "Morales said.
So it was that Mercado 4 dressed in rock and roll in full working activity with the guitar and the voice of Rolando Chaparro, that in the Bus Terminal the classical arrangements of the Youth Orchestra of Asunción and in the popular neighborhood of Chacarita He listened to the folk fusion quartet of the National Symphony Orchestra. In the squares of the center they vibrated with the Talking Horns, Guerrilla Soul, the Jazz Band of the National Police (a contemporary musical institution in Paraguay) or the Band 'delaschicas, among others.
In a hotel room, Mike Stern looks at the ground as he plays his guitar. It also sounds an electric bass, is the young "Chino" Corvalán. They are filmed by another talented and young Paraguayan musician, the souvenir singer Nico Vera who broadcasts in a video on his Instagram the intimate scene where both musicians, without speaking, understand each other, improvising.
Stern also shared his knowledge with more local artists. He did it in a master class for one hundred people at the Municipal Theater. The class that lasted an hour and a half, lasted almost twice as many questions and young artists who wanted to participate. A great contribution to Paraguayan music that uses the universal language of jazz.