Music inspired by Che Guevara’s Motorcycle Diaries

Tools: Ableton Live, Max for Live

Notas de Viaje/Motorcycle Diaries is an instrumental work in 11 movements for cello, bandoneon and electronics composed in 2019 by Jonathan Goldman. It is based on a diary that Ernesto “Che” Guevara (1928-1967) kept during a trip he made through South America with his friend Alberto Granado in 1951-1952 on a motorized bicycle nicknamed “La Poderosa”.

Notas de Viaje was premiered on May 31st 2021 at the Chapelle Historique du Bon-Pasteur in Montréal, QC. It featured Jonathan Goldman on the bandoneon, Juan Sebastian Delgado on the cello and myself on live electronics.

Juan Sebastian Delgado and myself performing Notas de Viaje. // Photo: Alexandre de Bellefeuille

After our successful collaboration on Mesa, Jonathan asked me to create the algorithms and effect chains that would be applied to the cello and bandoneon in real-time during the performance. These effects would also be dynamically played and modified by me during the performance.

Even though Jonathan already had a pretty clear idea of what kind of audio effects each movement would feature, I was free to come up with new ideas and to put my own twist on Jonathan’s vision. As the performance started to come together, I also created tiny interludes between the movements, small audio snippets inspired by the title and general mood of the upcoming movement.

Jonathan Goldman and Juan Sebastian Delgado performing Notas de viaje. // Photo: Alexandre de Bellefeuille

Fun fact: for this performance, I ended up reusing the algorithm I created for Mesa and put it inside a Max for Live device, so that it could be applied on the cello and bandoneon during a specific movement. There’s no shame in recycling old projects!