Winter warmth

Chilling to the Arica jazz beat in Chile's northernmost region

The city of eternal spring is celebrating its anniversary this month with a jazz festival and more typically glorious weather.

Monday, June 20, 2011  
The Azapa Valley makes a great day trip from Arica, in Chile's sunny north. (Photo: Sernatur) The Azapa Valley makes a great day trip from Arica, in Chile's sunny north. (Photo: Sernatur)

As the rest of Chile prepares for winter, Arica in the country's far north is gearing up for more sunny weather and a jazz festival as it celebrates its 121st anniversary.

Affectionately dubbed 'the city of eternal spring', Arica, just 11 miles (18 km) from the Peruvian border, is well known for its pristine beaches, and has recently taken on a new role as a pit stop in the annual Dakar Rally.

But while the beautiful city has traditionally been known more for its sunny weather than its artistic and cultural events, that started to change last year when Carlos Añes Gajardo, an event organizer and music lover, launched the first ever Arica Parinacota Jazz Festival.

Añes managed to get the inaugural event off the ground thanks mostly to his passion and determination. With the plan in place, a handful of local and Peruvian bands lent their support to the fledgling event.

This year all indications suggest that the festival is only going to grow. The National Fund for Music Promotion has agreed to sponsor the event while some of the biggest names in Chilean jazz have joined the lineup. In all, nine groups from four cities will play the festival with their eclectic fusions of jazz, rock, electronica, latin, soul, blues and bossa nova.

For the three-day festival, the area in front of the Alfredo Raiteri Cortés Cultural Center will be transformed into a natural performance space. Set against the backdrop of the Morro de Arica, a majestic bluff that was the site of a fierce skirmish in the 19th War of the Pacific, it promises to be an event to remember.

While in Arica, its also worth checking out the desert oasis and olive groves in the nearby Azapa Valley. The popular tourist destination is easy to access, thanks to its major railway station and international airport.

The second annual Arica Parinacota Jazz Festival will run from June 24-26.

Festival overview

Ipanema (Arica)
Friday, June 24: 8pm
This well known local band gives new life to the velvety sounds of bossa nova. Their music provides an elegant interpretation of Arica's best known musical traditions.

Kimsa Trio (Arica)
Friday, June 24: 9pm
Since the release of the debut album, Imaginaria, in 2003, Kimsa Trio has produced a rich collection of Jazz Fusion songs with strong echoes of their Latin American roots. They are a regular fixture at Chilean music festivals and have often shared the stage with well known national and international artists.

Komun Urbano (Arica)
Friday, June 24: 10pm
Formed in 2006, this band plays classical blues with elements of swing, jazz and even rock.

Igor Saavedra Triunvirato (Santiago)
Saturday, June 25: 8pm
The maestro Igor Saavedra and his bass will be accompanied by some of he best musicians on the Chilean music scene as he shows off his inimitable style.

La Don Ramón (Iquique)
Saturday, June 25: 9pm
Soon to launch their first album, LDR is a young band focused on blues, rock and funk, interspersed with elements of latin jazz. It’s too soon to know for certain, but LDR is tipped to become one of northern Chile's best known bands.

Felipe Candia y el Causeo
Saturday, June 25: 10pm
Music critics have gushed about this versatile drummer since he burst onto the jazz scene in the late nineties. Accompanied by his dedicated band, Candia expresses his passion for latin jazz every time he plays.

Rubato Jazz Band (Iquique)
Sunday, June 26: 8pm
Inspired by the new generation of jazz fusion, this big band is one of the highlights of northern Chile's music scene.

Motete (Copiapó)
Sunday, June 26: 9pm
From Chile's desert region, this joyful jazz band combines universal sounds with distinctive Latin features. Led by Sergio Olivares, Motete has played on the biggest stages in Chile and Latin America.

Jazzimodo (Santiago)
Sunday, June 26: 10pm
Jazzimodo will present the highly anticipated material from their soon to be released second album, which is based on a fusion of funky beats and surreal electronica. The simplicity of the group's catchy rhythms and pop influenced tunes give them a broad appeal.