Hilary Cameron (piano/voice), Tom Hannah (guitar/voice) and Barbara Snow (trumpet/voice) are three musicians who had known and worked with each other for many years. However, on one auspicious, balmy July evening in 2010, chance was to bring them together as a trio on what at first seemed, an unremarkable, casual engagement.
Such was the magic of the synergy, Hilary, with the warm evening air creating a frisson of movement in her flame-red hair, in a low musical voice, poured out words in a tone of passionate pleading:
‘This is no ordinary combination – it has a musical energy which I have never experienced before.’
Tom, his steely blue eyes gazed at the horizon under the glow of a rose-fingered dusk. He took a sip of his whisky and soda, and then his voice quivered in the darkness:
‘I feel an indescribable creative vibration and a star-bursting promise.’
But it was Barbara who had the imagination and vision to recognise the portentous importance of the moment. Her fingers drummed a tattoo on the metal table and the others could not help but notice the inflection of its 3:2 clavé. Ever-thoughtful, she spoke with a resolute chime in her voice:
‘Then this is the band we have been waiting all our lives to form. It will be Jazz-Pop band with a strong Latin influence.’ She became animated, her flowing silk dress reflecting the moonlight. ‘We will write songs that capture the spirit of the age and vibrate to the energy of an impeccable world and stuff.’ Tom and Hilary nodded in rapturous agreement.
And at the very moment, in a distant copse, a nightingale sang. Remarkably, it was a tune not that dissimilar to Quizas, Quizas, Quizas. Chico Chica was born.
To be continued….
Since those tentative first steps, Chico Chica have been busy performing around London, and on the premise that the players should sing and the singers should play they do just that; playing piano, guitar, flute, percussion, flugelhorn and cavaquinho while taking it in turns to sing the lead vocal. And there is dancing. The musicians take myriad elements from around the world: samba, salsa, rai, jazz, tango, calypso, hip-hop and cabaret, turn up the heat and then stir fry them in the wok of their collective sub-conscious. Someone once said ‘angels can fly because they take themselves lightly’. And there is dancing. So Chico Chica have been soaring across the British Isles with an original show of light-hearted songs and spoken word. The lyrics touch on subjects as diverse as love (yes really), volcanos, female beauty, scientific research, dating sites and the art market. And there is dancing. The songs merge into each other with interweaving spoken and sung sections forming a linear whole.
Melangerie 2011 (album)
Pense a Moi 2012 (single)
Ali’s Song (You won’t believe What I have Seen) -
Ali’s Song (You Won’t Believe What I Have Seen) in aid of the Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders Syria Crisis Appeal. In the summer of 2013, singer and trumpeter Barbara Snow heard a BBC Radio 4 item on the work of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders in the Syrian civil war. In it, a boy called Ali was reported to have said ‘you won’t believe what I have seen’. These words inspired Snow to write and record a song with her band Chico Chica and donate the proceeds of the sales to the Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders Syria Crisis Appeal. You can listen to the song here:
and donate here: