San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Jeronimo Saer gives music workshop for Hatillo Youths

Girls and boys crowded into a recording booth at the Intel Computer Clubhouse in the southern San José suburb of Hatillo 2 to lay down audio tracks using percussion instruments like maracas, güiros and tambourines. The kids then saw how the tracks are digitally mixed together to create a full composition. This fun learning experience was part of a weeklong music and video workshop for poor and at-risk youths conducted by French-Argentine musician Jeronimo Saer, in conjunction with Alliance Française, the French Institute for Central America (IFAC) and the San José Municipality.

Saer, the oldest son of Argentine writer Juan José Saer, embarked on his musical career in the 1980s with the founding of Departement E, one of the first hip-hop groups in France. Saer later joined the band Gimme the Goods in London as a DJ and rapper. In 2007, he released his first solo album, “Machine Gum.” The artist mixes flamenco, funk, rock and even tango in his music. 

Last week’s music and video workshop encouraged Hatillo youngsters to capture sounds from their environment and videotaped them creating music. The project culminated in a Saturday concert by Saer and other professional musicians, with the participation of the kids from the workshop. 

Saer recently completed a similar workshop in Panama. He and his group will use their two-week stay in Costa Rica to meet with national musicians such as Santos y Zurdo, Oscar Salaberry and others in order to share methods and sounds, and to build long-term relationships. After Costa Rica, Saer plans to travel to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to conduct more workshops.

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