Accordion maestro, Marco Lo Russo, with Silvia Basurto and Paolo Uccelli of La Boquita

World-class accordionist/composer Marco Lo Russo will perform a free concert this Thursday, July 18, at Teatro Vallarta, at 8:30 pm. The performance has been largely spearheaded by local friends Silvia Basurto and Paolo Uccelli, who perform regularly around the bay as “La Boquita,” their refreshing ensemble that fuses bossa nova, flamenco and jazz with Mexican, Cuban, Spanish, Italian and Brazilian repertoire.

Lo Russo’s enviable credentials include orchestra conducting, jazz improvisation and composition studies at leading Italian institutions. His broad scope of interests has included writing for Rai2 and Rai International, two important Italian TV networks, along with countless collaborations with important European musicians. He is equally at ease exploring his own accordion transcriptions of classical repertoire favorites, as he is implementing technology and electronic instruments onstage to accompany his virtuosic playing. In addition, the artist’s recorded catalogue includes over 10 CDs of his own, plus collaborations in over 20 productions by other artists.

It is by good fortune that Uccelli and Lo Russo met during an important music festival in Cuba last year. Between their musical empathy and their shared Italian roots, the foundations were established and set in motion for Lo Russo to schedule a vacation in Banderas Bay in between numerous performances throughout the world. And it is by good fortune that Uccelli and Basurto approached Puerto Vallarta’s Cultural Department, where the idea of sponsoring a performance while the artist was in town was met enthusiastically by Cultural Director, Sergio Zepeda. With all the organizational elements in place, the free performance at Teatro Vallarta was quickly put together.

Contrary to touring artists who barely have time to unpack their luggage before they have to relocate to their next gig, Lo Russo has had plenty of time to get a feel for Mexico and its culture, even scheduling a masterclass at orchestra conductor Miguel Almaguer's Orquesta Escuela de Puerto Vallarta in Pitillal. "I'm determined to capture as much as possible of Mexico's soul and take it back to Italy with me," he commented in a press conference. "It would be phenomenal to strengthen cultural and musical bridges between both our countries."

Expect an eclectic performance that will include Lo Russo performing alone for a portion of the evening, followed by collaborations with La Boquita, who will close the evening with their own contributions to what will, without a doubt, be another successful score for the Department of Culture and its ongoing attempt to fulfill its mission with limited resources.

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