Robert Munro, the renowned and highly acclaimed premier cuatro soloist, with his three-piece acoustic band has performed 'in concert', at 'world festivals', charitable events and other functions extensively throughout Europe, South America, Mexico and the Caribbean. Amongst others, he has played with the legendary Tito Puente, who respected and admired his virtuosity.
His creativity in performances with the cuatro, reflects his mastery of the four stringed feather-like instrument which enhances a vitality and passion that many a musician yearns for. Robert's repertoire has it's own unique blend, embracing a variety of musical styles from Latin jazz to westernized pop, successfully fused with the rhythms of South America and the Caribbean.
His versatility at "live performances" has been rewarded by his audiences and fans, acclaiming him the best cuatrista in the world. His music continues to appeal to all ages and ethnic groups throughout. He has appeared on many radio stations during his tours and was featured on television in Toronto. He is indeed a unique and rare talent.
band "Robert Munro Among Friends" is comprised of Robert on lead
cuatro skillfully complimented by accomplished musicians in Ron Metivier on
rhythm cuatro and Ange David on bass.
"No one should read self-pity or reproach into this statement of the majesty of God; who with such splendid irony granted me books and blindness at one touch" - (Poem of the gifts by George Luis Borges. Trans: Alastair Reid)
words describe the condition of the pre-eminent artists in Latin America and
the Caribbean. They are "the New World" artists. Blindness, however,
may be literal (as Borges, Groussac and Marmol in Argentina exemplify), or
it may be metaphorical. One thinks immediately of the panman who boasts that
"he plays but can't read a note". Blindness (the condition of not
knowing what lies ahead) is, for the New World artist not an affliction, buy
Each man is the bearer of that "magesty and splendid irony" of which Borges spoke. Each is an Olympic torch-bearer who looks ahead of him and not at the flame he bears, in order to go forward. 'What he grasps he cannot see'. Yet he has the power to inspire anyone who sets eyes on his moving image.
Robert Munro, at 12, was bedridden through illness. The child's despair at not being outdoors caused him to fashion "something that looked like a cuatro". This he strung with rubber bands.
Munro lived in the North of Trinidad and Tobago. Without knowledge set out on his own into the unknown, on a voyage of self-discovery in which experience would be the tutor.
New World artist are discoverers. Like Columbus and Diaz. One may be forgiven for making a comparison between the 15th century discoverer of the New World and Munro, who's mother is of Spanish extract. Perhaps the journeys of the mind and heart are based on prototypes already enacted on a physical plane.
Explorer-navigator that he is, the New World artist is seduced by the distant and shifting horizon he'll never reach. His terrain is "the deep", sea or soul, where survival becomes a matter of providence and personal resource, i.e. instinct. There can be no accumulated experience to guide him for no one has trek the ground on which he now stands. The progress is incremental and "feedback... is his commodity".
The stage is the source of some of the most reliable information about our world, the New World (Mundo Nuevo): its normative values, its ethnicity, its morality and society. Throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, knowledge is passed on formally in the guise of music, song or dance. Consider the case of the European waltz which, once transferred to the New World, bred the PASAJE, which is like a waltz but faster (its phrasing and accents are more flexible) and the JOROPO, which is quicker and of two types (distinguished by the placement of accents). Acceleration is one indicator of having attained a certain depth of soul, as the Dervish or African dancer will attest. The displacement of the WALTZ by the JOROPO via the aptly-named PASAJE should be viewed in this context.
Other more complex forms such as the DANZA, CONTRADANZA and BAMBUCO, etc., with sharply contrasting rhythmic passages, speak volumes about societies, such as ours, characterized by the clash and conflict of cultures.
The best New World art is, above all, 'scrupulous', forged by hard experience and unimpeded by external literary sources.
"What the artist plays is what he knows. No more, no less."
"No one should read self-pity or reproach into this statement of the majesty of God; who with such splendid irony granted me books and blindness at one touch"
- (Poem of the gifts by George Luis Borges. Trans: Alastair Reid)