The Eric Byrd Trio enchants Bolivian audiences

October 12, 2010

The Eric Byrd Trio rocks. Really. Just ask the Bolivian audiences who couldn’t seem to get enough of the eclectic mix of music the group plays during a recent U.S. State Department-sponsored tour.

With McDaniel music lecturer and alumnus Eric Byrd as pianist and primary composer, the trio includes Bhagwan Khalsa on acoustic bass and Alphonso M. Young, Jr., on drums. In its 10-year history, the trio has performed all over the globe – from Paris to Dubai, Peru to Switzerland, Estonia to Trinidad and Tobago – and close to home in Westminster, Baltimore and the Kennedy Center in D.C.

“Eric and the Trio are wonderful musicians and human beings,” Fabiola Ibarnegaray writes in an e-mail from La Paz where she is a cultural affairs specialist with the U.S. Embassy. “The Trio is doing an incredible job at connecting with Bolivian youth, which helps the U.S. Embassy in its mission of promoting mutual understanding between the two countries.”

Byrd attributes the trio’s appeal in part to the universality of the language of music and his belief that music comes from God. During the September performances, master classes and jam sessions, the trio gave Bolivian audiences a taste of swing, bossa nova, blues, and modern jazz.

“Maybe it’s the energy,” Byrd says. “We go on stage with the attitude that we’re going to have the best time of our lives for the next 90 minutes. And that gives audiences the liberty and license to have fun themselves.”