The musical meeting of Sandra Ulloa, Claudio Rojas Dávila and Rony is made in 1995 in Valparaíso in Chile, of which they are native. Separated, they travel someyears in Europe to meet in 2006 in Montreal, Canada. In 2008, they formed the group "SURKALÉN TRIO". It is thenthey happen officially in Montreal. In 2009, the Russian-Canadian violinist, Maria Demacheva, joins the trio to form the current quartet. The group was renamed "SURKALÉN".
SURKALÉN merges the musical inheritance of the South American culture with African, Asian, European and Middle Eastern music. Such a musical mixture gives rise to a unique and eloquent music that we call ethno-fusion.
The name of the group was not randomly choosen; "Sur" stands for the South American roots of three of the members of the band and "Kalén" means "different" in the selknam language. (Selknams are the ancient habitants of Tierra del Fuego, a small Native American community, which disappeared in the middle of the 20th century).
Most of the band’s music is strongly influenced by different kinds of world music. South American rhythms are very present in their creations. By combining ancestral and modern rhythms, SURKALÉN offers poetic music that is recognizable in many cultures.
In 2009-2010, the band gave performances at several festivals: Festival du Bout du Monde in Gaspé, the Musique-Multi-Montréal Festival, Latin American Folk Festival of Laval, the International Nights Festival of Africa of Montreal and the Festival des Arts de Montréal-Nord. SURKALÉN also gave numerous performances on different stages throughout the province of Quebec. In August 2010 Radio CBC2 featured SURKALÉN’s “Live Concert” and in September 2010 SURKALÉN appeared on the French channel of Ontarian Television (TFO) as “Surkalén in concert”.
Two years after its formation, the band released their first album – “Viaje”. Meaning “travel” in Spanish, “Viaje” presents soft and mesmerizing music. This album represents a mixture of traditional and modern melodies that are sometimes fused with jazz.
For Sandra, Claudio, Rony and Maria, every day is a ride into new musical adventures. Their work opens a window to the exploration of consciousness.
Sandra Ulloa: voice, cuatro, cajón, darbouka, tablâ and percussion.
Claudio Rojas: guitar, charango, cuatro, flutes, bass, voices and percussion.
Rony Dávila: bass, guitar, cuatro, flutes, voices and percussion.
Maria Demacheva: violin, voices and percussion.
Sandra Ulloa was born inValparaíso, Chile. Not only is Sandra the vocalist of the band, she is the author and the composer of many of Surkalen’s songs. Sandra also plays the Venezuelan cuatro, the Indian tablâ, the Peruvian cajón, the flute and the African darbouka. Her creative mind leads her to different explorations of musical universes. She composes contemporary and harmonious melodies and her poetry reflects the spirit of SURKALÉN with its inspirational lyrics. Her powerful and divine voice easily affects hearts. Her spiritual quest revolves around the essence of her life: finding a way to get to the internal source of inspiration that allows an alliance to form between divine energy and spirituality. She combines different music styles in a very unique way which brings joy and light and expresses a profound spirituality.
Claudio Rojas was born in Valparaíso ,Chile. Claudio is an excellent charanguiste. He is also a composer of contemporary South American folklore. His art is influenced by a variety of musical styles including traditional music, jazz, rock and music fusion. The innovations that Claudio brings to charango playing techniques allow him to liberate himself from traditions and to open the doors for creativity. His own technique is inspired by African rhythms, Asian spirituality, the evolution of European music, jazz improvisations and South American folklore. Claudio is a proficient guitarist, flutist and percussionist, and is essential to creating SURKALÉN’s unique tone. His spiritual quest allows for the fusion between the east and the west and contributes to a universal approach to music.
Rony Dávila was born in Valparaíso, Chile. Rony plays bass guitar, guitar, flute and is an excellent percussionist. Rony grew up in a musical and artistic environment. The son of recognized Chilean folk musicians, he is distinguished by his open-mindedness and passion for the music of the world, constantly searching for new rhythms and sounds. His imagination and musicianship skills help to create the unique sound in the music of SURKALÉN.
Maria Demacheva was born in Moscow, Russia. Maria is a violinist who received her formal education in classical music. Prize-winner of competitions including the National Competition of Canada and the Festival of music of Montreal, she also received grants from several international music festivals such as Banff Arts Center, Bowdoin International Music Festival and Orford Arts Centre. Maria completed her Master's degree in performance at the University of Montreal. She loves to explore various musical styles and brings an original touch to the music of SURKALÉN by adding a wide range of colours on the violin. She puts all her heart and soul in the sounds of her violin which is reflected in each of her performances. Her talent and generosity reverberate in the sounds of her violin and our souls.