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An Enchanted Evening in the Andes
GALA Hispanic Theatre – 3333 14th Street NW (1 block from Columbia Heights Metro)

Remaining Performances:
Friday, July 11, @ 7:30 PM (GALA Hispanic Theatre)
Saturday, July 12 @ 7:30 PM (GALA Hispanic Theatre)

They say: “Ancient panflutes and drums combined with colonial and contemporary instruments will take you to a time long forgotten but yet to come. Their music and melodies will take you on an imaginary journey to the land and culture of the old and contemporary people of the Andes.”

Brett’s take: First of all, let’s be clear: This is a concert, and nothing else. No context or history is offered to enhance the experience; and there are dancers that appear, but because they spend most of their brief time onstage self-consciously adjusting their colorful costumes or falling off the six-inch rise, this performance is all about the music. Luckily, this experienced eight-piece band called Mystic Warriors is plenty capable of rocking the house.

The music is rooted in alternately Latin and Native American polyrhythms, and is most awesome when all but one of the musicians revert to percussion and the gorgeous Tivoli theatre swells with the amped-up, thumping bass. The last musician then glides a panflute melody over that heavy bedrock, and the effect is at once majestic and tribal. Overall, when they played more traditional music, focusing on that percussion and various wind instruments (alternately whimsical and haunting) they fared best, and I was moved; but when they relied more on reverb-heavy and modern processed-sounding guitar, the sound veered dangerously close to Muzak, and I fought boredom.

A final warning: the show started a half-hour (!!) late and ran a full forty-five minutes (!!!!) longer than the 100-minute running time advertised. So, basically, don’t make plans for after this one. Also, the band plays shows often, so if you’ve got a busy Fringe schedule, you might easily catch these folks another time, if their website mysticwarriors.com ever comes back online.

See it if: Jazz-quality musicianship and globetrotting sounds are good for your soul.

Skip it if: The Discovery Channel puts you to sleep. (Even at rib-shaking volume.)