Language of the heart

the new album from Santiago Quartet and Julian Rowlands

With thanks to Ian Nelson for the camerawork and dancers Paula Duarte and Richard Manuel for the choreography

Mutual understanding and mutual respect are the qualities that make for the perfect musical entity that is the string quartet.
It is an abundance of the these qualities that make the Santiago Quartet the wonderful conglomerate of talent that it is.
The four talented players, sometimes augmented by the South American bandoneon, make a rich and varied sound that is a real pleasure to experience.
— Nick Ingman March 2017

Language of the Heart would not have been possible without the generosity of our contributors. Thanks to 170 contributors, we raised £11,172 through our Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign towards recording and production. 

Guest Producer

Aaron Privett

Executive Producers

William Oxer, Steve and Felicity McWeeney, Margaret and Tony Hennessey-Brown


Paula Walter, Tim O'Brien, The Gostelows, Desmond Neysmith, Maryan Balkwill, Alice and Bryan, Kirsty Whalley, Joanna Bakewell, Juan Carlos Lema, Ingrid, Sylvia Ellison, Pete Brayne, Jesse Durkan, Veronica Pretelt, Mike Alan Curtis, Catherine Wands, James Woodhall, Catherine Cundy, Denise Yusuf, Martin Peel, Katy Wislocki, Amit Nizan, Emma Hawkes, Helen Lee, Maria Franco, Jamie Pullman, Ted and Judy Bloomfield, Deborah Chandler, Petro, Jenny McCallen, Claire P.C., William Boyce, Brian Roberts, Amy Wislocki, Tim Dunn, K. Florell, Nigel Horrocks, Robin Ailes, Christine McMurray, Tony Bell, Hilary Cotton, Sallyanne Horley, Maria Thomas, Ana Juliet Silvera, Chris Brody, Ben Bouzan, Tahlulah, Gill Perkins, Graham Du Plessis, Susannah Pattinson, Seden Elliman, Alex Paine, Tim Donne, Hannah Morrow, Will Corbett, Angela Fogg, Zoe Ford, Verity Wislocki, Georgie Tanner, Dina, Rula Hua, R. Wall, Catherine Lett, Sally Maitlis, Peter Clifford, Glesni Roberts, Julian West, Mary Bell, Euan Preston, Nick Lo, Jessica Elisa Boyd, W. Latto, Alejandra Ortega, David Russell Hulme, Joel-Peter, Jonathan Brigden, Cecily Howick, Herbie Flowers & H Claire Lacy, Anne Marriot, Andrew Kelso, Caroline Owen, Grant Llewellyn, Mick Bell, Brittany Sapseid, Elizabeth Norton, Theron White, Sharon Mehta, Cathryn Thompson, Jean Hennessey, Lisa Dunleavy, Maggie Pettitt, Josephine Savage, Delauney Mason, Tom Bott, R. Lamb, Anna Souster, Ian Nelson, Hanna Utterheim, Mary Ho, Liz Hewson, Alexandra Zoppellini, Julia Jennings, Laura Frey, Daphne Christiansen, Anna Need, Suzanne Fawden, Alex Workman, Patrick Davies, Rebecca Kemp, Katy Hennessey-Brown, Malcolm Allison, Tomasz Andrzej, Chris Ney, Pat and Andy Wislocki, Karen Hamilton, Mariko Asakawa-North, Lesley Anne W, Jo Batten, Rob Clark, Robert Simmons, Mandy Woodland, Anna Croad, Jean Petrie, Annelies Ingrid, Diana Savarino, Di Bamber, Tony Bell, Andrew Millington, Peter Patient, Kieren McCarthy, and  many donors who wish to remain anonymous.


The Story

As with many valuable artistic projects Santiago's new album has come to fruition more by accident than design. 

The project began with the decision to record Will Todd's beautiful Birthday Quartet. Commissioned for the Santiago Quartet, the three movement work, Heart-beat, Love Song and In God my Hope, is evocative and soulful, with an underlying positive emotion that has made it a favourite with our audiences. We recorded the piece in the fantastic studio at Surrey University, with Will Todd producing.  

As plans developed to record the Todd, we were also working on building our repertoire of Latin American music and open to collaborating. The violist of the Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Javier Montiel, whom Jonny knew from his time in Mexico, put us in contact with the Argentine bandoneonist, César Olguin. A plan developed to produce an album featuring both the Todd and a selection of work by Astor Piazzolla. The Tango works now central to this project are unique to the Santiago Quartet - no other ensemble in Europe has access to the original arrangements - and we have put our own stamp on the music as our rehearsals deepened.

We were privileged to build a collaborative relationship with bandoneonist Julian Rowlands, whose knowledge of Piazzolla and Tango Music is inexhaustible, and whose humour and charm makes him a joy to perform with. 

The works for bandoneon and string quartet were recorded by Mercury Award-winning producer, musician and composer, Gerry Diver, in his London studio.

We felt that there was still something missing from the project. We decided that rather than simply make an album, we wanted to explore how music can help people, and how we could use that music positively. We approached MIND, the mental health charity, who kindly agreed to endorse the project. 

Our cellist, Jonny has lived with Bipolar One for 23 years, and his illness has had a formative effect on the Quartet. The famous Stephen Fry documentary gave Jonny the courage to talk publicly about his experience with the illness - his motivation in doing so was not to gain sympathy, but to help other sufferers know that they are not alone, and to continue opening up the conversation about mental illness.

You can read much more of Jonny's story via the links on our press page. Meanwhile, we are delighted to be able to take collections for Mind and other mental health charities at our concerts (we've raised over £3,000 so far) and to offer 10% of the price of CDs sold at our UK concerts to Mind. 

During the recording process we were delighted to be asked in to the Classic FM studio to play several tracks from the project. Visit our press page to watch us live in the studio. 


The album was released on March 9th 2018 with Kartel Music Group under our own label, Arrastre Records. It went straight into the Official Specialist Classical Chart at No. 3, was the highest new entry at No. 7 in the Official Classical Album Charts, and the highest new entry at No. 9 in the Classic FM Chart

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