Mauricio Venegas-Astorga

Mauricio Venegas-Astorga


Having developed his musical career outside Chile, the Chilean composer, singer and multi-instrumentalist Mauricio Venegas-Astorga has always had a close interest in the external influences on the music, culture and politics of his country. He has very successfully mixed his own tradition with different musical styles and instruments from around the world and his compositions are a fresh and exciting example of this, showing that he is not afraid of experimenting and approaching different genres, blending Latin American and world music with Tango, Celtic, African and Indian traditions. In addition to his musicianship and skills as a singer and composer, Mauricio's lyrics deliver a beautiful and strong message of freedom, peace and justice his words will not only touch your hearts but also your consciousness.

Since settling in England in 1977 he has gained a reputation as one of the finest musicians to emerge from the Latin American folk tradition. He has worked and collaborated with a large number of important figures in the British, African, Indian and Latin American music scenes. These have included the internationally renowned guitarist, John Williams, the composers Richard Harvey and Graham Preskett, the traditional singer-songwriters Roger Watson and Robb Johnson, the Indian Santoor master Kiranpal Singh Deoora, the African drummer Musa Mboob, the Cuban composer Efrain Rios and the Chilean songwriter Jorge Campos.

As a composer Mauricio has written and participated in the creation of more than 30 albums of music for film and television and for Quimantu, with his compositions being featured in films and TV programmes such as Priest, The Honorary Consul, Noel, Best Laid Plans, Stuck On You, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Sex and The City, Law & Order, etc. Widely known for the specialist knowledge he has developed in Latin American and World Music, Mauricio has also contributed as an advisor and composer to a number of television and radio programmes including "Ritmo" and "Kaleidoscope" for BBC Radio 3 and "Music Makers" for BBC TV.

One of his most recent projects was his 'participation' as a recording artist on Dave Arnold's sound track for the last Bond movie Quantum of Solace. Whilst living in London Mauricio has maintained his artistic profile in Chile and was awarded the "Premio Municipal De Arte" in Coronel, his hometown, for his outstanding contribution to the music and culture of his country. He has also been twice awarded the "Fondo De La Música Award" Fondart by the Chilean Ministry of Culture. His 2001 Fondart award was for the composition and recording of his Cantata "Socavon" a work that blended western classical with traditional music and musicians to create a testimony to the lives and struggles of the coal miners from the south of Chile. In 2008 he received the award for "Trotasurdo", a pioneering project aimed at promoting the understanding and use of music technology in composition in primary schools, making use of ambient sound recordings from urban and rural settings and combining classical instruments with traditional ones, mixed with samples, beats and loops.