WERS Sits Down with Catalina, Santiago from Monsieur Periné
By Alex LaRosa
Grammy-nominated band Monsieur Periné came to Boston for the first time on Sunday night to perform during the CRASHfest indoor world music festival at the House of Blues. They delivered a lively performance, fusing together many genres into a fun, energetic performance. After their show, WERS chatted with the singer Catalina García and guitarist Santiago Prieto about their style, accomplishments, and seeing the snow for the first time.
Monsieur Periné is a four-piece group that hails from Colombia. They have won several awards, including the Latin Grammy for Best New Artist in 2015. Through CRASHarts, they traveled to Boston to play at the festival. “This is our first time here in Boston,” Catalina said, “but we know that there is a big movement of music here.”
The band played a 50-minute set as the first act on the House of Blues Main Stage. They came out in colorful ethnic Colombian clothing , and delivered a performance to match. Over the course of their set, Monsieur Periné blended Latin and Afrojazz, led by Catalina’s strong vocal performance. “When we started doing music and learning about jazz, this kind of swing we are playing, called Gypsy Swing, we started mixing it with music that was in our context,” she said.
Their performance included synchronized dancing, with Catalina, Santiago, and the band’s second guitarist, Nicholas Junca, moving back and forth in rhythm. “We like to dance,” said Catalina. “For us it’s important not just to be playing and to be good musicians, but to share the energy of the music. Music doesn’t just make you listen to it; it makes you move.”
Santiago agreed. “Despite all the technical things, do a good show,” he said. They said that some of their dancing is spontaneous and made up during concerts with Santiago adding, “You’re always learning on stage.” The band also got the audience to move back and forth across the Main Stage’s open setup. “Santiago also talked about learning to dance while playing guitar, “That’s really hard,” he said, “the whole synchronization is not easy but you can achieve it if you do it.”
WERS also talked with them about the band’s name, which is French, despite the fact that the band is Colombian. Catalina and Santiago said the purpose of the name was to break as many stereotypes as they could, choosing a French name instead of Spanish, which would be too expected. Catalina said that reflects the band’s musical diversity. “We don’t play just one thing, we’re not ‘pure’ and we like to mix things without boundaries,” she said. They chose the word “Periné,” which is a medical term for an indecent part of the body. “It’s kind of a joke,” said Catalina, “because everybody thinks French and all the French culture is super-elegant.”
Moving forward, the band is going back to Colombia. “We’re going put all our clothes back in the suitcase and forget about winter,” Catalina joked. In February, they might fly back to America to attend the Grammys. “I think we’re going to start touring a lot in the States; I hope so,” she said.
By year’s end, they have planned a performance with a symphonic orchestra in Colombia to celebrate their accomplishments. “We’re going to say goodbye to the year by making a symphonic concert,” said Santiago.
Both Catalina and Santiago were happy to be able to play at the House of Blues. “This is one of the most important spots in our really short tour… This was a really good venue,” said Santiago. But the band achieved another personal milestone even before stepping on stage. “This was our first time in snow,” said Catalina. “It was super different, because of course, [we] saw it in the movies, but it was great.” She also talked about making snow angels.
“It was like cold sand,” said Santiago, “it was perfect.”