about the artists
The Cuatro Minimal was born in 2011 in the rice fields of Nanto, Japan. Singer and composer Juan Pablo Villa and guitarist Fernando Vigueras, both from the contemporary music scene of Mexico City, gathered in the same traditional house with traditional percussion master Chang Jaehyo from Korea and Sakaki Mango, African thumb piano and Far South Japan rare type of zither “gottan” player. Mango was respected as one of the leading “world musicians” in Japan. With many tours in Asia and America — from New York’s Lincoln Center to the villages of Argentinean Andes — and the recording of two albums (La Cola Del Dragon, 2014 Kumiroda, 2020), the Cuatro Minimal has created a unique place, a kaleidoscope of musical possibilities built by cables and effects, an irresistible and deeply expressive landscape of sounds where the roots appear free and wide, intimately and universally human.
Juan Pablo Villa
Juan Pablo Villa is a singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and music producer. Working on a wide range of musical styles, from traditional music of Mexico to experimental music and extended vocal techniques, he has been awarded as composer for the movie Radical (2023) directed by Christopher Zalla, Victoria (2020) directed by Eloisa Diez, Hambre (2021) by Carlos Meléndez and much more. He intensively works with composers, directors, and producers, including Urdimbre Audiovisual, Jacques Arnaud, Carlos Cuarón, and Josué Vergara. As a music performer, he tours all around the world, participating in international projects from the World Music field, as well as experimental and avant-garde festivals. He has been a member of the international quartet Cuatro Minimal since 2011 and was selected for the Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte from the Mexican Government 2023–2025.
Fernando Vigueras is a musician who specializes in experimental sound practices and creative forms related to free improvisation, listening practices, new music, and sound art. His work questions the objectual nature of the instruments, recreating different concrete forms of sound production. He holds a master’s degree in Interpretation in the postgraduate music program of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and as an instrumentalist in guitar from the Facultad de Música/UNAM. He also completed a degree in Jazz Studies at Escuela Superior de Música/Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes. Artists he has collaborated with include Carmina Escobar, Ute Wassermann, Ricardo Castillo, Gabriela Gordillo, Dora Juárez Kiczkovsky, Jaap Blonk. Vigueras is also a member of the Mexican improvisation collective Generación Espontánea and the ensemble Cuatro Minimal. His work has been presented all around the world, including in Spain, Japan, Korea, Austria, Malaysia, and Argentina.
Chang Jaehyo is a Korean traditional percussionist and vocalist. Graduated in Pansori, he started his career as a member of Puri, a traditional music group that revolutionized the traditional music field in Korea in the ’90s, and the first project to create bridges between theater, visual arts, and contemporary dance. He created Sonagi Project in 2007, presenting minimal and avant-garde performances only with traditional drums. Recognized as one of the most influential percussionists of his generation, he collaborates with artists of the contemporary music scene in Korea, connecting the Samulnori and Pansori to electronic music, soundscapes, dance, and theatrical expression. He also took part in many large-scale events, including the Olympic Games and the Football World Cup. Chang Jaehyo has been artistic director of the Korean Traditional Music Orchestra for the Blind since 2022 and is currently director of the 2023 Seoul Drum Festival.
Born in Kagoshima, Japan, in 1974, Sakaki Mango studied Kiswahili at the Osaka University of Foreign Studies, where he also began his research on Tanzanian music. He traveled the African continent to receive direct training from lamellophone masters Hukwe Zawose (Tanzanian limba), Garikayi Tirikot (Zimbabwean mbira). In addition, he also learned a wide range of thumb pianos, including the Ugandan lukeme and Congolese electric likembe. After many books related to the lamellophones and several works for the BBC (UK) or RFI (France), he is recognized as one of the specialists in this field. He amplifies those traditional handmade instruments by himself and plays it via pedal effects, sampler, and loopers, while singing in his mother language, the dialect from Kagoshima. As a composer and performer, he has released many albums and recordings, in band configuration (Limba Train Sound System) and in solo format, many of them selected in best album rankings in Japan. He has recently also started to use a rare three-string zither from Southern Japan called “gottan.”