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Kelsicote brings Latin music to Bloomington



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KelsiCote, a Chilean folk jazz group, performs music March 4 at the School of Global and International Studies.  Matthieu Picard Buy Photos

Two musicians, who trekked across the Andes mountains from Chile to Argentina, brought their art to Bloomington for a special performance March 4.

Kelsicote, a Latin American folk and jazz music duo, performed at 7:30 p.m. at the School of Global and International Studies.

The Fort Wayne, Indiana-based duo, which consists of American singer-songwriter Kelsi Lee and Chilean guitarist and composer Jose Manuel “Cote” Godoy, performed 10 songs during their evening show, as well as a crowd-pleasing encore.

Bassist Jesse West accompanied the group. Most of the songs were the duo’s original compositions while others were traditional folk songs. The singers encouraged audience participation.

The Latin American Music Center at the Jacobs School of Music was one of the organizations that organized the event.

Javier Leon, director of the center, also came onstage to perform on a box drum alongside Kelsicote for some of their numbers.

Leon said to produce the event, his organization partnered with La Casa Latino Cultural Center and IU's Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, among others, which enabled the organizers to present "Kelsicote" in the School of Global and International Studies and not at the Jacobs School of Music.

"Nobody has an unlimited budget, so the best way to get things to happen is to get several different organizations to come and work together," Leon said.

The singers formed Kelsicote in Santiago, Chile in 2014. Lee, then an international law masters student at La Universidad Catolica, met Godoy at an Open Microphone event at Casa en el Aire, Lee said.

The Open Microphone Movement, which Godoy co-founded seeks to produce grassroots music events whereby performers at any level of experience can get up and perform for the audience, Godoy said.

"We go to different places," Lee said. "It can be a plaza. It can be a bar. It can be open space."

Lee said open microphone events include performances by well-known groups like Cirque du Soleil as well as amateur artists.

"The only requisite is that you have the courage to do whatever the heck you want to do," Lee said.

The duo traveled through the Andes Mountains and Argentina to interview composers of original Latin American folk music. In 2015, the duo self-produced their first album, “Blanco,” for which the Chilean government awarded them a grant to tour to the United States while performing Chilean music. The duo is now working on their fourth studio album, according to Kelsicote's website.

Godoy is the founder and director of Musical Conexion, an international, bilingual music education program for children, according to the Kelsicote's website.

Lee also has a solo career, having come out with her first solo album, “I am Here, There, Everywhere,” in 2016.

The songs Kelsicote performed ranged from English to Spanish to modern Greek, and some of the compositions were were sung in two languages. 

When Godoy introduced "La Vida que traigo Puesta," he said South Americans would generally dance to this type of music, and welcomed anyone who felt like dancing to do so.  

Lee said the song "The Hum" was conceived when Godoy noticed Lee humming a tune when they were in nature. Godoy said Lee had actually gotten it from a train whistle, and a song was born.

Lee sang the song "Ithaca" in modern Greek. The song is based on Homer’s ancient Greek epic poem “The Odyssey."

Lee and Godoy first encountered the song, “Dando Vueltas,” which means “turning around,” during their travels through Argentina, where they came across rural farmers who would sing the song a cappella before lunch.

Lee said because 90 percent of what the duo performs are original compositions, they are collaborative in their approach. 

“Sometimes he'll write a melody or the instrumentals and I'll put the lyrics, or sometimes he'll write a whole song or I'll write a whole song," Lee said. "He accompanies some of my compositions, and I accompany him."

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