The sweetest excursion: A session with the Sweet Plantain Quartet

By Nick Garza

The Sweet Plantain Quartet, a Venezuelan fusion quartet performed a set for an audience on campus on Thursday, Nov. 21.

The Sweet Plantain Quartet is a Venezuelan fusion string group that promotes a new feel, combining the classic elements of a western string ensemble with genres including hip-hop, jazz and Latin music.

Orlando Wells, Earl Menian, Joe Deninzon and Ruben Quadeli make up the group.The quartet is made up of three violinists and one cellist, with the members rotating out instruments as all four men are familiar with more than just the violin.

“Learning music does depend on your individual professor, but it’s up to the individual for starters to integrate further,” said Joe Deninzon, the quartet’s violinist, mandolinist and vocalist. “I do believe it’s just as possible to learn equal value from your colleagues as you can your professor.”

All four members have played with some of the most notable groups and artists in the nation in venues such as Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall.

“Leave your ego at the door for enthralling learning and passionate progression [when studying music],” said Earl Menian, who transferred from Queens College to perform specifically in the Hudson Valley Philharmonic.

The quartet played five songs total, three of which were originals.

When they were called back for an encore they performed a  personal rendition of Ray Charles’ “I’ve Got a Woman.” The tribute included three members rapping the opening verses before beginning the string rendition.

Although the quartet doesn’t constantly play shows night after night, they have managed to reach across all sections of the globe with several tours in countries such as Italy, France and Greece.

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