On Sunday 13th December, the British Bolivian Community was delighted to stage its first community and international event, the Música para Respirar 24/7 (Music to Breathe 24/7) launched by the Bolivian Chamber Music Society which perfectly aligns with its purpose and front-line efforts undertaken throughout this year.
The guest of honour was the right Honourable Baroness Gloria Hooper, who was first vice president of the Anglo-Bolivian Society.
The British Bolivian Community (BB Community) was formed at the end of 2019 by the UK based not-for-profit Anglo-Bolivian Society, the Anglo-Bolivian Committee (Bolivia), Chevening Alumni (Bolivia) and the British Scholars’ Association (Bolivia).
Given the appearance of the COVID-19 pandemic in Bolivia in early 2020 it made its immediate community purpose, to fund raise to purchase locally made PPE to distribute to front-line workers, health brigades, medical staff in hospitals, maternity wards and COVID-19 Laboratories with logistical support and encouragement from the British Embassy in La Paz.
Its main focus was the western highland city of El Alto, the largest indigenous city in the Americas and second largest city in Bolivia. We also delivered PPE to four cities — Trinidad, Riberalta, Guayaramerin and Cobija — in Bolivia’s eastern Savannah and Amazon regions near the border with Brazil.
Música para Respirar 24/7 is a brainchild of the Bolivian Chamber Music Society, (La Sociedad Boliviana de Música de Cámara). Launched in Bolivia last August, offers free, personal mini–concerts through Whatsapp 24 hours a day during a week every month. This is the last week of Música para Respirar 24/7 for 2020 and it is open to all Latin American countries and the rest of the world with concerts so far in over 25 countries.
* Gabriel Bilbao – Violin. Born in La Paz, he began his musical studies in Tarija with Franz Condori. Later, he continued at the Municipal School of the Arts of El Alto with Fredy Céspedes and in the Musical Training Program “Bolivia Clásica” with Armando Vera and Alexander Lapich. He is currently part of the Clova Quartet and studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London, under the tutelage of violinist Jack Liebeck.
* Anahí Garvizu Siles – Cello. Born in Cochabamba, she began playing cello at the age of 10 at the Eduardo Laredo Institute. She then continued her studies in the city of La Paz and in the United Kingdom. She completed a Music BA at Newcastle University and a Masters in Music – Creative Musician at Leeds College of Music. She had the opportunity to participate in musical projects in both Bolivia and the United Kingdom and has a strong interest in cultural musicology.
We would also like to express our gratitude to Karin Cuellar Rendon from the Bolivian Chamber Music Society,who helped organize this event and has been a longstanding friend and performer for the Anglo-Bolivian Society. Karin is a Bolivian violinist who studied historical performance at the Royal Academy of Music and is currently completing a doctorate in music at McGill University.