We hope this album will be our breakthrough

By Giles Broadbent on October 9, 2012 12:59 PM |


By Louisa Emery

"I'm sure my wife would rather I had been a banker," said musician Graham Walker. "Maybe not so much now but in the beginning."

The cellist and maths graduate is one third of Classico Latino, a classically trained trio who perform Latin American music on Western instruments.

"Being a musician isn't a career you choose but rather one you are drawn into," he said.

"The group is what is taking over now. There would be a gap in my life if I wasn't doing it. It's not practical - I have two small girls and it is financially precarious - but it's not like a job, more like an identity."

Graham lived on the Isle of Dogs for five years after he graduated from Cambridge, residing in Manchester Road and working as an organist and choir master at the Island's Christ Church.

He met Colombian pianist Ivan Guevara-Bernal and the pair performed a few concerts in Cambridge to acclaim. They asked violinist Lizzie Ball to join soon after.

Graham said: "The music is called folkloric but it's more closely linked to folklore than how we would understand folk music. The closest equivalent would be something like Danny Boy. We bring in European instruments to a South American sound.

"The UK is very hot on pigeonholing. We are like the bridge between world and classical. We are not world because the sound is not authentic to the country of origin."

Next month they are bringing out their third album and Graham hopes it will yield the kind of recognition they've found in South America.

He said: "We were invited to record in Studio Two at Abbey Road where The Beatles recorded. We used the piano they used for Hey Jude and the microphone Paul McCartney recorded 80 per cent of their songs on.

The whole experience was quite overwhelming. In Colombia there is a lot of interest in us. Our first album did really well and the response when we first went in 2005 was amazing. Fingers crossed this new album does the same here."

The group will be launching their latest release Latin American Classics By Classico Latino and Friends at Union Chapel in Islington later this month.

"It's not just the three of us this time," said Graham. "We invited a selection of other musicians to record with us."

As to whether he will continue to pursue his passion rather than falling back on a more secure career, Graham is unwavering.

He said: "Definitely. I have forgotten all the maths. It does come in useful for adding up a bar tab but that is it."

- Classico Latino and Friends, Union chapel, Oct 26, £15, 7pm, unionchapel.org.uk.