Nano Stern & The Sindicato
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Nano Stern & The Sindicato


Band Folk Latin


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"Album review and tour preview"

Las Torres De Sal (Nano Stern)

AUSTRALIAN audiences, it would appear, simply can't get enough of Chilean singer-songwriter Nano Stern, as six tours in little more than four years amply attest.
He'll be making his second visit in 10 weeks to showcase tracks from his latest album at WOMADelaide next month.
The young man's most accomplished release to date, Las Torres De Sal was recorded in just five days. Effectively a live set, it is characterised by the dynamic qualities and natural musicianship that have earned this earnest and engaging performer standing ovations at festivals around the world.
The new songs confirm Stern as one of the most powerful voices to have emerged in Chile since the legendary Victor Jara. Like his hero, Stern is not afraid to challenge the status quo. A song about hope from the new album, La Puta Esperanza, has already become something of an activist anthem in Chile.

A 2010 Santiago prison fire that claimed 83 lives prompted an equally potent piece, Las Llamas de la Impotencia. This stirring chorus song is written in decimas, a type of verse structure that dates back to medieval Spain. Another song in that style strong in melody and emotion was composed in honour of Violeta Parra, another great Chilean singer-songwriter, on the day of her 93rd birthday.
Los Torres de Sal, which translates to the towers of salt, was inspired by a visit to the Red Valley in Turkey's Cappadocia region, and alludes to the album's concept of crystallising a moment or a memory through song. In sharp contrast to the baroque beauty that pervades the contemplative title track, La Raiz and Voy Volando rock out, with Stern shredding on his electric guitar a la Hendrix on top of a pumping rhythm.
Elsewhere, cello, clarinet, accordion and ney (Turkish flute) provide simpatico accompaniment to Stern's expressive voice, the prime instrument in the band. It's not necessary to understand Spanish to enjoy this youthful maestro's songs; they speak directly to the heart.
Like the interchangeable front cover art that comes with Las Torres De Sal, Nano Stern's music is multidimensional and soul searching.
LABEL: La Clave/Vitamin
RATING: 4 ½ stars
- The Australian

"Feature: Songs for the world's wronged"

FOR 69 days from August until mid-October, the world held its breath as the 33 miners trapped deep underground in Chile's San Jose Mine waited to be rescued.

Their tantalising tale sparked a spate of tribute songs. Fernando "Nano" Stern, one of his country's most gifted and best-loved young singer-songwriters, was conspicuous by his absence in the stampede to cash in on the year's biggest international news story.

He refused to have a bar of it. "The songs just contributed to this whole circus," he says with contempt. "To tell you the truth, I felt disgusted by the whole situation."

The Santiago-based musician, whose cherubic face and angelic voice have become familiar to audiences on the Australian folk festival circuit, continues in fluent English: "It was an example of media manipulation in which a terrible accident caused by negligence was seized by hungry politicians and turned into an opportunity to show off in front of the international media, seemingly acting as saviours when they were actually responsible for the whole situation. Rescuing them was their duty."

The miners were turned from victims into heroes, he says. "They are now the guinea pigs of an unscrupulous industry, which will squeeze them 'til they are no longer interesting to the mass audience. It's sad but true."

Stern is working on a song related to mining in his country, but one that relates a different story. It's about the 35 or more miners who died last year in other mining accidents in Chile. "My song is about hope, a concept that has been so misused," he says.

You can't help feeling that Stern's uncompromising stance would have earned the approval of his hero Victor Jara, the left-wing poet, singer, songwriter and guitarist who was tortured and had the bones in his hands broken before being killed during the 1973 coup that brought down the government of Salvador Allende.

"Victor Jara is the godfather of Chilean songwriting," says Stern, who carries on the humanitarian tradition of sociopolitical commentary. Although he avoids what he terms pamphletary language - "I think that is counter-productive" - the 25-year-old is aware of the responsibility young Chilean musicians have to keep the flame burning. "A whole generation of greats was murdered or exiled for 20 years, and their absence still affects our cultural reality," he says. "Luckily, I think we are succeeding in reinterpreting that tradition, and understanding that it is a deeply political one."

While his songs are saturated in Chilean roots with European folk sensibilities, Stern is regarded as something of a pop star in his homeland and was recently featured in the local edition of Rolling Stone magazine. "I don't like the situation because you become an icon and people stop relating to you as another person. The more I am exposed to mainstream audiences and media, the more I become reserved about my personal life. Of course, I don't want to expose my private space to people who only want to find ways to produce quick news, but I can't help but be honest and often I say more than I should."

Apart from jettisoning all manifestations of stardom, Stern also rejects any notion he's redefining Chilean folk music, as was suggested in the Santiago press recently. "Ask me when I'm dead," he says. "In the meantime I'm busy doing my thing."

An intelligent and mercurial young man, Stern's thing involves non-stop touring across the globe, and a commitment to youth and grassroots musicianship.

Next month he returns to Australia with three compatriots for his first band tour, following four barnstorming solo visits since late 2007 when, as an unknown, he took the Woodford Folk Festival by surprise.

The Nano Stern Band draws on Chile's finest young folk, rock and jazz musicians, continuing the artist's rejuvenation of Chilean, Latin American and other international folk music.

In keeping with his "have guitar will travel" philosophy, Stern conducted this interview from the southernmost settlement in the world, Puerto Toro, in Chile's Patagonian fjord region, just a few kilometres north of Cape Horn. He was travelling from gig to gig in a replica of a traditional fishing boat with his accordion-playing puppeteer partner in the Folkoholics duo, Slovenian Matija Solce, with whom he toured Australia early last year.

Typically, Stern indicates that the highlight of his sojourn in the deep south of the most elongated nation on earth was meeting the last surviving full-blooded member of the Yaghan people, Cristina Calderon. "They have been murdered over the centuries in what is perhaps the saddest and most untold genocide on this side of the ocean," he says.

Stern has a deep commitment to heritage-related music. He is the only South American member of Ethno in Transit, an international music collective that is breathing new life into traditional music genres across the planet. "I am truly honoured to be a part of this project, which I believe is one of the most exciting new things on the international folk music scene. We have been greeted with rave reviews in Europe and hopefully we can visit Australia in the near future."

Stern is looking forward to a particularly productive year this year, even by his own high standards of industry. "In terms of discography, I will record my first solo live album, a new studio album with new material, release Ethno in Transit's debut, and probably record the follow-up to Otoal, my duo project with Swedish guitarist Mattias Perez. In terms of touring, I will do all of South America, as well as the Australian tour with my band, three months in Europe and who knows what else."

A humble and affable young man, Stern does not take his success for granted. "Ever since I can remember, I have spent my days and nights making music. And ever since, I've been lucky enough to be able to play with incredible people from whom I have learned all that I know. Life has also given me a great opportunity to travel around the world doing what I love most."

The Nano Stern Band plays Mullumbimby, March 10; Port Fairy Folk Festival, March 11-14; Brunswick Music Festival, March 17; Cairns, March 18; Brisbane, March 19; Sydney, March 20. - The Australian

"Nano Stern - Album & Live Review"

Los Espejos
Nano Stern Music NSM 003 (2009)

Own label, no number (2009)

As I first experienced a couple of summers ago at Viljandi festival in Estonia, where audiences flocked to his every appearance and venues had to be upsized, young Chilean Fernando “Nano” Stern is a live phenomenon,.
I hadn’t expected to be so enthusiastic. “Oh yeah, another singer-guitarist”, I’d thought, scanning the festival programme. But this one’s special. Whether he’s inspiring young musicians as a mentor at Ethno camps, sitting in learning the traditions of others, charming a small audience or commanding big festival stages, musicality and communicative ability flow out of him. Back home in Chile he has a band, but for several years he’s also been travelling solo round Europe, meeting and playing with musicians as he went, and picking up whatever instrument needed playing – as well as being a fine guitarist he’s a good, wild fiddler, easily shifting to bass or newly-acquired Swedish sälgflöjt. Lately, solo and in duo shows with Slovenian puppeteer-accordionist and Ethno Histria organiser Matija Solce, he’s been having the same effect on Australian festivals as he did at Viljandi.
Whether this would all come across from a CD to a listener who hasn’t seen him I can’t tell, but his latest album is a classy piece of work, made back home in Chile, Nano producing and playing acoustic and electric guitars, bass, violin, sälgflöjt and percussion joined by his band on piano, Hammond, flutes, sax, cello, bass and percussion. On gigs he mixes his own songs with occasionals from Victor Jara and other writers, but Los Espejos is all his own compositions, and they’re strong. To swingy, syncopating tunes reflecting a variety of South American and other forms, the lyrics (in Spanish, which even for non-understanders is a mellifluous singing language) muse largely on love and loss with poetic clarity and economy of words, and his singing is clear-eyed, direct and as fluently right as his playing.
He’s only played a couple of small gigs in Britain, but doubt he’ll be back. Go see.
- FRoots


Nano Stern - album "Las Torres De Sal" - 2011
Nano Stern - album "Live in Concert" - 2010
Ethno in Transit - album "Live" - 2010
Nano Stern - DVD "En Casa" - 2010
Folkoholics - album "Gracias Por Su Vista" - 2009
Mattias Perez & Nano Stern - album "Otonal" 2009
Nano Stern - album "Los Espejos" - 2009
Nano Stern - album "Voy Y Vuelvo - 2008
Wazabe - album "Wazabe" - 2007
Nano Stern - album "Nano Stern" - 2006



Nano Stern is one of the leaders of new Chilean song movement with a devoted following that stretches out from the youth of Latin America through to folk & world music audiences in Europe and Australia. North America beckons in 2013.

Nano comes from a privileged and wealthy immigrant background but gave that all up to work selflessly for the common causes of the people in Chile. At a very young age he embarked on a lifelong study of the traditional music of the people. The people have embraced him and returned their faith in him through his voicing of the people's causes in Chile such as worker's rights, prisoners, education, the environment, etc. Now he is taking the voice of those people and their causes internationally and finding that their causes are common to people all over the world. Nano has a true and honest universal message delivered with high energy, top level musicality, dwelling deeply into the tradition whilst being contemporary with the passion of youth.

At just 27, Nano is a world music virtuoso who has firmly placed his stamp on the burgeoning Latin folk/world music scene. It is his incredible technique, musicality and authentic delivery of tender and delicate poems of love and loss that sit alongside political and anthemic tributes to his home and the world at large that has his audiences talking for days. His effortless style, energy and power inexplicably weaves threads of connection between him and his audience. A master at mesmerising the crowd, Nano can in an instant have the room on their feet – shouting for more. His songs - sung mainly in his traditional Chilean Spanish – fuse with stories eloquently delivered in English and come from the wide spectrum of life that befits such a social troubadour. This young artist now stands at an exciting point in his career. Nano Stern has gathered a faithful following by developing his career through talent, sheer determination and the unwavering belief in himself and the power of music. As his star continues to rise, now is the time to see this talented musician - one destined to be a major influence in the ever-evolving and growing realm of world music.

In May 2011, Nano’s fourth studio album, “The Towers of Salt” was released in Chile with the first song off the album instantly being picked up as the anthem of the current waves of popular protests sweeping Chile. At the same time, his first solo live album was released, after being recorded in late 2010 in Australia. In the summer of 2011, Nano toured Europe for 2 months with the international folk super group, Ethno in Transit, playing at festivals such as Sidmouth in the UK, Kaustinen in Finland and Sziget in Hungary. Nano performed solo at Germany’s famous Bardentreffen Festival in Nuremberg. At the end of 2011, Nano returned to Australia's Woodford Festival for the third time, bringing Ethno in Transit with him as well as leading the first Ethno gathering in Australia. In March 2012, he played to thousands of adoring fans at WOMADelaide.