Jim ParisiMusic Review

The Kids Come First

Fundacion EditusBy Jim Parisi

Musicians throughout the world have a good reputation for giving back to the community, especially to the next generation, the children, and Central America is no exception. Costa Rica’s three-time Grammy Award winners Editus are a good example. They have recorded twelve albums in their seventeen years together as a group and in an effort to give back to the community, they founded their Acadamie de las Artes in San Jose, Costa Rica in November 2004. It is a modern conservatory that integrates diverse elements of artistic development, not only for music but for dance, literature, theater, painting and photography as well. The music classes they offer are incredibly staffed and diverse, with three drum and percussion instructors, six teachers specializing in voice, lyrics and songwriting, four electric guitarists, six acoustic guitar instructors, two violinists, a cellist, five pianists, one saxophone teacher and a bass guitar instructor. Not surprisingly, some of the current teachers are former students, a sure sign of the Acadamie’s success. The academy also offers a sound lab to teach engineering, mixing, mastering, even DJ sampling. And there is a chorale group who performs a minimum of twice a year with selections as varied as Gospel and spiritual, Rock and Pop, Costa Rican and Latin American songs, in an effort to create a completely diverse chorus.

Jaime Peligro Books and Music

On their website, the Acadamie displays three edited compilation videos of student recitals with Editus members accompanying them, obviously enjoying the fruits of their labors. The Acadamie has certainly proven its success: the school has a maximum occupancy of three hundred and has had a full curriculum with an extensive waiting list since opening its doors. Will all these students eventually find a career in music? Probably not, but they will undoubtedly learn a lot about themselves: things like discipline, their natural abilities, and what moves them on an emotional level; the lessons that develop self-esteem. Those are all good things to take from the classroom.

In 2007, the three piece instrumental band launched Fundacion Editus, offering opportunities at the Acadamie de las Artes for economically challenged children to develop their artistic talents. The success rate has been very positive, finding “diamonds in the rough” and allowing the students to bloom at whatever artistic skills they are most adept. Vocalist Luis Gabriel from Nicoya is a good example. After two years with the Acadamie, “Luis Ga” went on to compete and place second in the international festival Vina del Mar in Chile. He also released a version of “Desnudame el Alma” which has received a lot of radio airplay. Another notable is Argielette Chaves, a singer from Puntarenas, whose family scraped to put her into medical school in San Jose. At one point she had to abandon her musical dreams, until the Acadamie stepped in, along with their friend Marta Fonseca, who took “angelargie” under her wing. Ms. Chaves recently participated in the soundtrack for “Cartas a Elena” by Edin Solis, the guitarist of Editus. You can see it on You Tube; in fact, many of the Acadamie students participate in the video.

Editus obviously understands the importance of keeping the arts alive, especially through the next generation. They have discovered the Fountain of Youth!

Fundacion Editus  is available at all three Jaime Peligro shops in Tamarindo, Quepos and Tilaran, where they will gladly sample the music for their customers.