In summer of 2007, an instrumental duet was born from a desire to push the acoustic guitar and drum limits to create a unique, rich and artistic musical universe. In spring of 2009, after a year and half of intensive composing and giving shows in bars, Guajira recorded its first album.
On stage and disc, the strength of the band resides in the members’ virtuosity. Melodies, harmonies and bass are driven by Jean-François Tremblay’s passionate guitar and Luc Cloutier conveys energy and vitality through rhythms, guitar and other textures.
Guajira’s compositions please the music lover in search of well structured pieces and virtuosity, as well as general audiences looking for beautiful melodies and sunny tones.
Guajira brings a refreshing draft to the musical scenery and leaves you with interest, curiosity and sunshine in your ears.
Jean-François grew up in the Sherbrooke area of the Eastern Townships. Even though he started to learn the basics of music playing in his teens, the love of music came earlier on as his father played with local bands and practiced in their home’s basement.
It was by listening to the Beatles that young Jean-François, a teenager then, decided to learn how to play guitar. That was when he made the acquaintance of a guitar teacher who made him discover the jazz music of Charlie Parker and John Coltrane. Without forsaking his beloved Pink Floyd albums and others from the 70’s like Jimmy Hendrix and Yes, he graduated from high school to the rythm of Pat Metheny and Jim Hall. At 16, Jean-François went away to study guitar at the Cégep de Drummondville. During that short period, he performed on stage in numerous cafés and bars in Drummondville, St-Hyacinthe, Granby, Sherbrooke and Montréal. Later on, he moved to Montréal to study at Concordia University to enable him to attend concerts of his favorite artists performing in the big city. At that time, he started experiencing with acoustic guitar and found new ways to tune it. He gave up the pick to play with his fingers and discovered “slide” guitar playing that we often hear in Blues. Enhanced by all those new and different styles, he made his debuts as composer of original music based on all those inspiring influences. Once his studies were completed, he came back to Sherbrooke to teach private lessons. A friend asked him to join a group called Les héros du dimanche matin. The group honored their favorite childhood cartoon music in which he played electric guitar. He then met and became friend with Luc Cloutier, the drummer of the group. The latter invited him to join a band called Mission sur Mars, an original and popular Québec group. After a while, both decided to leave the band to create an original and unique instrumental duo called, Guajira.
Luc was born in a little town named St-Raymond de Portneuf, near Quebec City, in Canada. There was a time when his home was filled with music. His self-taught father played guitar and bass in various Yé-yé bands in the 70’s and 80’s. At 10 years old, after 5 years of untiring demand, Luc received his first drum set. His influences at that time were bands like Les Baronnets, César et les Romains, and Félix Leclerc, to name a few. Later in his teenage years, Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne, Nirvana and Pantera. Adult, his influences range from Michel Camilo and Horacio Hernandez to classical, jazz and Latin music. One month after receiving his first drum, Luc’s parents were very pleased that he started taking drum lessons – they finally heard something that sounded kind of like a beat. In the nineties, Luc plays in several different bands: rock, metal, punk and jazz but nothing very serious. In the mid-nineties, Luc went to the Cégep de Drummondville College to learn drum techniques, marimba, snare drum, other percussions and to sing as a tenor in a choir. After 2 years in this college, he chose to switch to a sound engineering and music recording program. After graduating from college, he worked about 10 years in professional show business, working his way through as band gear, monitor sound technician, chief sound technician, assistant technical director, technical director and tour director. At the end of a 400-show tour, the musician in him missed playing. He wanted to play again and reach for his own dreams rather than work on other people’s projects. He played drums at an audition for the jazz program at the Université de Sherbrooke and was accepted. Luc learned arrangements, jazz rhythms, Latin rhythms and improvisation. During that period he met Jean-François Tremblay in a band called Les Héros du Dimanche Matin. Their collaboration was instantaneous. Luc, at that time guitarist in a band called Mission sur Mars, invited Jean-François to become lead guitar in this formation.
After a couple of years, the band fell apart but Luc and J-F decided to give life to a new project named Guajira: amazing music with some Latin, jazz, rock and funk influences.