Les Luthiers, an Argentine musical comedic group, was recognized in Spain, where they will receive The Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities.
The Les Luthiers group is essentially The Harlem Globetrotters of the music world. The sextet (comprised of Marcos Mundstock, Jorge Maronna, Carlos López Puccio, Carlos Núñez Cortés, Horacio Turano and Martín O’Connor) combines humor, props, and talent to create a unique music experience. Trading in a basketball and jersey for a guitar and tuxedo, Les Luthiers captivate the crowd’s attention with their canny use of language, action, and homemade musical instruments.
This year marks the 50th year anniversary of its first show. At the beginning of the 1960’s, Argentina’s young university students grew a fondness for choral activity; Les Luthiers, students at the time, put a twist on run-of-the-mill choir performances. At the time, they amused audiences by offering a parody of customary formal concerts. The unconventional production caught the eye of the press. Soon after, the men of Les Luthiers found themselves going international tours spreading Ibero-American culture and displaying their talent.
Even though the group was chosen for the award in the northwestern Spain region, the group wasn’t always appreciated in Spain. During its first trip to Spain in 1974, the audience rejected the group’s humor. According to Carlos López Puccio, Spain wasn’t looking for anything young and new, so they did not return until 1981.
However the trajectory of Les Luthiers has proven to be successful. They have since toured in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Chile, Ecuador, Spain, United States, Israel, Mexico, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela and have been awarded various prizes, including a Latin Grammy for musical excellence in 2011.
Now, Les Luthiers is considered a “critical mirror” and a reference of freedom in contemporary society. The Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities is awarded to those “whose work contributes, in an extraordinary and international way, to progress and social welfare through the cultivation and improvement of the sciences and disciplines of the set of humanistic activities and in relation to social media.”
The men were nominated by journalist Álex Grijelmo, a member of the award’s 2017 jury. The prize will be awarded in October by King Felipe VI in addition to 50,000 euros (US $54,362) and a sculpture created by Joan Miró.
Les Luthiers will be performing in Buenos Aires starting May 19th at Teatro Gran Rex.