By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza
Raymond Thevenot and Gilbert Favre
Born in 1942 in Geneva (Switzerland), Raymond Thevenot initiated himself in the Andean music in the early '50s, when the first Andean melodies were brought into Europe by some of its most famous proponents such as the Peruvian singer Yma Sumac. In 1967, he formed the group Los Quetzales along with other two Swiss musicians, which recorded a couple of LPs in 1970 and 1971. In 1972, Thevenot left Europe and settled down in Lima, seeking to learn more about and get closer to the authentic character of the Andean music. Once in Peru he led the group Machu Picchu, which performed in many musical events and launched ten albums between 1977 and 1984, including "Kori maki" (in Quechua, "golden hands"), "Perú eterno", "Puro Perú", "Quena ardiente" and "Quena mágica".
Since 1976 he promoted the so called "Thevenot concert quena", while at the same time published a couple of books on how to play the quena (using the "Thevenot contert"), coinciding with the release of Alejandro Vivanco's method titled "Didáctica de la quena peruana". Thevenot died in Lima in 2005, leaving behind a legacy of compositions and a distinctive style of performing the Peruvian traditional music.
Gilbert Favre was born in 1936, also in Switzerland. An anthropologist by profession and a jazz clarinet player by vocation, he was known by Latin American audiences as "the gringo", "the bandit gringo" or "el tocador afuerino" (the word "gringo" refers to a light-skinned, blonde haired person, while "the tocador afuerino" refers to a player from abroad, a foreign player).
He arrived in as an assistant to the Swiss anthropologist Jean-Christian Spahni (at the time director of the Calama Archaeological Museum), though he soon withdrew from the project and in 1960 set off southwards. In October of the same year, Favre met celebrated Chilean folk singer Violeta Parra, with whom he had a long relationship. Together they went back to Europe (1961-1965), where he learnt to play the quena. They headed back to Latin America and in 1966 he moved to Bolivia while Violeta remained in Chile. In La Paz he began playing with the guitarist Alfredo Domínguez and the charango player Ernesto Cavour at the premises of what would later be the famous "Peña Naira".
Later he co-founded the group Los Jairas with Yayo Joffré, Julio Godoy and Cavour himself. Favre rose to fame with the group (which launched five LPs, including "Los Jairas" and "Siempre... con Los Jairas"), bringing the quena back to the Bolivian musical scene, while at the same time spreading its sounds throughout the world. Some years after Violeta's suicide, he went touring Europe with the group and settled down in the French Dordogne. Favre died in Geneva in 1998.