Los Llaneros Concert: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15, Herrick Chapel (with Grinnell Singers and Grinnell High School Choir)

Los Llaneros performs music rarely heard outside of Latin America, and is known for its energetic and haunting melodies of the Colombian-Venezuelan plains.

Co-founder Karin Stein ’84 is a llaneros, or "person of the plains," having grown up in a remote location in the savannas of the Orinoco River in Colombia.

Llanero music has evolved over the past 500 years, starting with the contact between nomadic pre-Colombian Indians and Jesuit settlers who colonized the open grasslands. The settlers introduced string instruments, horses, and cattle — all essential ingredients for the diverse and joyful music.

Llanero music, says Stein, “is home. It is the music that surrounded me as I grew up. I am in awe every time I perform it, and my colleagues do a fantastic job bringing this music to life.” Due to its characteristic syncopations and complex harp techniques, the music is seldom performed in its authentic style outside of the Llanos, and hence remains one of Latin America's best-kept secrets.

Stein is the ensemble's main vocalist and ensemble leader. Other ensemble members include Edgar East (Panamanian), harpist Daniel Rojas (Colombian), and guest percussionist and vocalist Diego Mosquera (Colombian).

The Grinnell Singers and the Grinnell High School Choir have been working with Stein to sing three choral pieces: an arrangement of three Afro-Columbian folks songs, one of her llanero-style compositions, and a piece by a well-establish Venezuelan composer which draws on traditional styles of cowboy music from the Llanos. They will perform with the group.

Tickets are required for this free public performance and may be obtained at the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts box office beginning Friday, Oct. 11, noon to 5 p.m.

A limited number of tickets are also available beginning at noon Friday, Oct. 11, at the Pioneer Bookshop in downtown Grinnell.

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