Music as medicine for the soul

A chance meeting between two old friends led to the formation of Armidale-based band Pantor. Glen Innes audiences get another chance to experience the vibe of this diverse group at The High Country Handmade Showcase at The Makers Shed on Sunday June 2.

“We love playing eclectic covers of happy tunes with a Latin-Spanish twist,” guitarist and singer Jon Anderson said of the group.

“Peter Georkas (guitar, bouzouki, voice) and Massiel Barros-Torning (guitar, voice) have been playing together for some time.

Massiel Barros-Torning. Photo: Peter Torning

“I knew Massiel and her music from the distant past but a chance meeting brought us together, and from the first jam session we knew we had something that was enjoyable and unique.”

According to Anderson, Pantor (which includes John Kellett on percussion and vocals) loves to play to an engaged audience and selects its performances carefully.

“We don’t play mainstream shows, we ensure that each show we do is an enjoyable experience for both ourselves and the audience,” he said.

“We are flexible enough to play as a two-piece duo or the full band with extra members.

“As we are all well-respected local musicians, it is not uncommon for other musicians to join us on stage for a song. We also mentor and include young music students at our rehearsals and can sometimes offer a guest spot in selected performances.”

The group has performed at The Makers Shed at Glen Innes before, at the first two High Country Handmade Showcase events that take place in the sunny, grassy yard of the venue on the first Sunday of each season.

“Visitors to the event had such an incredible response to Pantor,” Michael Burge of The Makers Shed said.

“The High Country Handmade Showcase is a marketplace for artisans and independent creators to get in front of discerning shoppers and audiences, and the musicians we showcase are an integral part of these events.

“Pantor’s music is uplifting and incredibly diverse. If you haven’t had the chance to experience them yet, come along to our free event on Sunday, June 2. Pantor will be performing from 11am in the yard,” Burge said.

“There’s gourmet brunch on offer, so grab your spot and enjoy the performance.”

Tailor-made music

The four members of Pantor are regularly joined by special guest performers, sometimes at the last moment.

“Angelo Saavedra often joins us to add Zamporias (pan pipes) and Charango (stringed banjo-like instrument) to the Latin Spanish theme,” Anderson said.

“Because we tailor each set list to suit the dynamics of each show, and communicate with and involve listeners, we generally have an engaged and entertained audience.

“Our theme is music as medicine for the soul.”

According to Anderson, Pantor is very much a group-led project.

“We generally get together weekly and almost always add a new song to our list,” he said.

“All of the members contribute to the ideas of our performance.

“If it feels good we keep it, if not we move on. Each live performance is different and as we are all multi-instrumentalists we can swap instruments and include our other talents in our performances.

“Peter plays bouzouki, Massiel plays blues harp, I have my trumpet, John has multiple percussion instruments, and we all sing.”

A less-is-more approach seems to inform the choices of this Armidale-based group, which wowed audiences at the 2018 Black Gully Music Festival.

“Our rehearsals and jams are just as valuable an experience to us as the performances we do,” Anderson said.

“We only do stuff that we enjoy, so with that in mind we’ll continue performing selected shows in 2019, including the Thunderbolt Festival at Uralla in October, 2019.”

Pantor will perform at The Makers Shed, Glen Innes, during the High Country Handmade Showcase, Sunday June 2. Free entry.

Main photo: Armidale-based band Pantor performing at The Makers Shed, Glen Innes. L-R: John Kellet, Jon Anderson, Massiel Barros-Torning, guest artist Angelo Saavedra, and Peter Georkas. Photo: Peter Torning

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