The Zephyr Quartet is a South Australian based string quartet dedicated to introducing new audiences to the quartet medium and to showing the versatility of this medium to existing audiences.

Zephyr promotes and encourages emerging and established artists by commissioning and performing new works.

Zephyr creates new and interesting explorations in the use of a string quartet in modern art forms and invites collaborations.

Zephyr has a passion for all styles of music and is able to present an eclectic array of music suitable for any occasion.

Emily's Yucatán Adventures

Zephyr Quartet violinist Emily Tulloch tells of her adventures in Mexico.

Pictured:The parade of trovadores

Recently I spent a month living in Mérida, on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula, researching the music of the area and collecting pieces to add to Zephyr Quartet’s repertoire. I was exploring the repertoire of trova yucateca, a popular style of music originating at the turn of the twentieth century in the salons of wealthy, culturally developed Mérida. Highly romantic, this beautiful and lyrical music is now performed most frequently in a trio format of three guitars and three male voices, so the challenge for me is adapting it appropriately to the string quartet medium. Trova yucateca is a vital, living part of Meridian culture, with a Thursday night serenata at the parque Santa Lucía celebrating its 45th year of performances (more than two thousand in total) in January, during my visit. Add that to the dozens of other performances I was lucky enough to attend during my time there, and you begin to understand the cultural significance of this beautiful music.

In a brief overview such as this, it’s hard to put across the warmth and gratitude I feel to the tons of wonderful meridianos who helped me in my explorations, and the strength of my attachment now to this amazing city and its music. My personal highlight was a parade of the trovadores (trova performers) who gathered in their collectives (as pictured above) to walk from the parque Santa Lucía to the plaza grande where they performed a joint concert to mark the anniversary of the founding of the city. As they walked, the members of each association played and sang together, and the sound as one group passed, to be replaced by another (with moments of wonderful overlap) was simply “precioso” (that’s precious, far from precise!).

Pictured: El parque Santa Lucía, at the concert celebrating 45 years of Serenata Yucateca

I return with several large hardback books (and sore shoulders from a very heavy pack), a record collection that pinpoints me as a highly specialised fanatic, contacts and friendships, and a passion for this gorgeous music and the wonderful cultural landscape of Mérida. I can’t wait to share it with the Quartet and with Adelaide audiences in November 2010.

Pictured: Mérida’s plaza grande (central square)

Impulse - Leigh Warren and Dancers and Zephyr Quartet