To view the memorable concert, please click here
On the invitation of His Excellency the Philippine Ambassador to Spain, Carlos Salinas, and the Director of Casa America, Honorable Tomás Poveda, to GUIDEPOST, I had the privilege to attend the concert of the Triple Fret, an instrumental guitar band from the Philippines at the Palacio de Linares last 22nd July. Glad to say their performance rightly deserved the standing ovation they received.
The three guitarists, Marga Abejo, Iqui Vinculado and Jenny de Vera, have been playing together for two and a half years, after meeting in college through the small guitar circle that runs through the Philippines. However, the rapport between the three suggests they have been playing together for much longer and certainly that they have known each other longer. They played with a quiet confidence I have not seen in such a new band in a long time. There was no need to confer with each other about what they were playing next, one of the many telling signs of a new band. Jenny would just announce the number and then they would all seamlessly start to play. This gave the band an organised and professional feel.
My only criticism would be that Jenny spoke too quietly into the microphone at times, and therefore it was a struggle to hear what she was saying, specially for me who was sitting at the back, having arrived late at the concert due to unavoidable earlier commitment.
The girls were diverse in the way they played their guitars. They not only strummed the strings, they also used their guitars as percussion instruments. They tapped with their hands and drummed with their nails on the the guitars to create different sound effects. Triple Fret’s final song was their most interesting and impressive. They all shared one guitar in order to play “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid. It was a novel and amusing party trick and the crowd loved it, everyone was clapping along.
Triple Fret played covers, which they tell me is the best way forward in order to gain followers. I can well believe this by looking at the repertoire of more established artists such as David Garret. It is possibly even more pertinent for the trio to play covers because their fan base is still very much reliant on social media, the band starting gaining a following this way, and therefore their audience is more receptive to covers. The girls tell me that they expand their song list through the requests of their subscribers. This, Jenny says, is one of her favourite ways of playing music, because it helps her and the rest of the band to connect with their audience directly.
As I mentioned, the band played the covers expertly and really appeared to be enjoying themselves as they did so because they could not help smiling. However, it would have been nice to hear at least one original song; at live shows the band has a captive and supportive audience and people are more open to hearing original content.
Nonetheless, the lack of original compositions did not detract from the audience’s overall enjoyment of the concert; the girls, who are currently on their first two-month tour finishing on 7th August, simply went over big at Casa America’s Gabriela Mistral Amphithearer. (Their very Triple Fret arranngements were simply fabulous, thus making up for lack of original content.)
The band tells me touring is fast becoming one of their favourite parts of being a musician. They are able to meet new people and pick up new tips from fellow musicians and all in all, as Marga tells me, it is so enjoyable it does not feel like work.
Triple Fret is a fantastic new band and if they keep the standard they are currently playing at, I am sure they are going to go far.
Photo of Casa de América, Madrid, by Hesparina 1985, CC BY-SA4.0
Toni lives in Horsham, West Sussex is passionate about adventure and travel which she started at a very early age. “I have been to many countries including China,” she says. “Spain is one of my favourite countries where I’ve been in and out over the years.”
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