Archipiel by Álvaro Sanz

Archipiel by Álvaro Sanz

Archipiel is the duo formed by Álvaro Barriuso and Ainara LeGardon. Their work is based on free improvisation, researching the fields of phonetic and visual poetry, movement and the use of creative strategies in a playful manner. The staging aspects of the strategies they use determine their live performance: ideas are used simultaneously yet independently, noise and silence are the boundaries of the matter that forms their musical discourse, signs based on a shared open code are used for musical direction. These strategies result in unique improvisational pieces that follow hidden instructions and shape a performance whose meaning isn’t explicit. The audience takes part in the performance through different levels of understanding and complicity with the duo as their processes develop. They form a network that decodes the possible intentions, references and meanings to configure an experience that is both surprising and unique.

A comprehensive exploration of vocal resources, amplified organically through the use of different types of microphones and effects and the sounds from objects arranged across the stage. The textures thus achieved shy away from conventional acoustics and become part of contemporary stage discourse. Besides their performances, Archipiel regularly carry out educational activities in regard to their work and free improvisation. They have also devised an event called Musiforum which is a hybrid between performance, talk and practical workshop. They are always open to sharing their experience with other artists and with audiences of all ages.

Archipiel by Álvaro Sanz

Archipiel by Álvaro Sanz


A whirlwind of sensations, emotions and surprises envelops the audience, who will imagine all sorts of relationships between two people as the scenes unfold, one after the other.

Both characters move closer and move away; they look at each other, they ignore each other, they signal each other as they sing. While making sounds, they leave the stage, they hold hands, they embrace. They create a world of their own, yet they are not alone: they know they’re being watched and their song is a plea or a threat or a lullaby for the audience.

Suddenly, language itself turns out to be the main protagonist, our need for affirmation and response, our will to howl, jump and play when we connect with our fellow man.

Like beings out of a dream or characters lost in an adventure, Ainara and Álvaro appear on stage, exploring the dimensions of the sonic space and the presence and resonance of the bodies that inhabit it. The sound of their voices makes every corner of the room vibrate as they strike up a conversation with each other: a wordless dialogue based on phonemes, noises, melodies, gestures and looks whose meaning is ever-changing and indecipherable.

Archipiel by Juan MaRe

Archipiel by Juan MaRe

Presentation/production requirements 

Archipiel is conceived as a free musical improvisation duo. As such, its presence and aesthetic are well defined, offering performances that are always different and unpredictable, with the ability to adapt to the setting in which they take place. Archipiel’s performance isn’t presented with precise staging and technical requirements but proposed as a shared situation.

Archipiel adapts its performance to any stage, preferably indoors. The duo prefers using its own sound equipment to perform autonomously, as long as the venue allows for this: generally, small venues which suit their proposal.

Only access to a plug, two small tables and a couple of chairs are required to carry out the performance.

For medium and large stages and venues which require sound or lighting reinforcement, we ask the organizers to contact the ensemble in order to look into a specific design. When there is a PA installed at the venue, the aim will be adapt its use to the requirements of the performance and to collaborate actively with the venue’s technical staff in order to offer an optimum audiovisual result.

Archipiel by Salomé Sagüillo

Archipiel by Salomé Sagüillo


Since its inception in February 2011, the members of Archipiel have carried out, together and separately, ample research on sound and staging.

The duo has carried out artistic residences at Espacio de Creación Azala (Lasierra) in May 2013, Sala Baratza (Vitoria-Gasteiz) in February 2015 and Mendi Zolan Kulturgunea (Hendaia) in March 2016. The latter was part of Ayuda Transfronteriza 2015 granted by Bitamine Faktoria.

In 2013, Archipiel was shortlisted in the Musical Performance category of Festival Talent Madrid held by Teatros del Canal. They were then invited by the Festival to present their piece “Hazme un 7” at Sala Verde (Teatros del Canal) in 2015, out of competition.

Archipiel has carried out interdisciplinary collaborations with other artists such as the video creation “Can’t focus all of it” with Mario Sarramián or the performance “Pintura a dos voces” with Abajo Izquierdo, presented at the Utopic-Us gallery in Madrid in February 2012.

Both Álvaro and Ainara are part of colectivo maDam, and have taken part in performances such as «In memoriam JC» (Teatro Pradillo, Madrid), Intermediae (Matadero Madrid), Festival Escucha (Cruce, Madrid), Ars Sonora (RNE2), Radio Utopía, Sound-In (Madrid), Situación Sonora (MNCARS, Madrid) and La Casa Encendida (Madrid), among others.

They have also been members of Orquesta FOCO on several occasions, performing at the Festival Internacional de Improvisación Hurta Cordel, or as part of the Soundays season at La Casa Encendida in Madrid.


Performance highlights:

  • Sonic Explorations Blabla Festival. Radio LoRa. Zürich (Switzerland). July 2016.
  • Teatros del Canal. Festival Talent. Madrid. May 2015.
  • Festival BLV-ART, Performart section. Bilbao. September 2014.
  • Festival de Audio Tangente. Burgos. October 2013.
  • Festival de Poesía Guardetxe. Donostia. October 2013.
  • Ciclo ShowCASe -Centro de las Artes de Sevilla. June 2013.
  • Encuentro Internacional de Nuevas Formas Escénicas -La Alhóndiga. Bilbao. May 2013.
  • Teatros del Canal. Festival Talent. Madrid. March 2013.
  • Festival In-Sonora (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía). Madrid. March 2012.


Musiforum highlights:

  • Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (MUSAC). June 2016.
  • Tabakalera- Centro Internacional de Cultura Contemporánea. Donostia. February 2016.
  • Azkuna Zentroa. Ciclo Gabonak Arte. December 2015.
  • Festival de Teatro de Calle de Lekeitio- Lekeitioko Kale Antzerki Jaialdia. July 2015.

All events

Musiforum Archipiel by Rafa Rodrigo

Musiforum Archipiel by Rafa Rodrigo

Review excerpts:

“Archipiel is the name given to the situation in which Ainara LeGardon and Álvaro Barriuso transcend the boundaries of their own bodies to build a complex entity, a strange two-headed, four-armed organism with many teeth. If listening to their voices is wonderful, then observing their body language and the physicality of their silences, full of musical quality, constitutes an exciting experience for the audience. Furthermore, if we consider this ensemble is a vocal duo, practically unheard of on the international improvisation scene, and that they hail from Madrid, we can happily state that we are witnessing a true miracle.” Rubén Gutiérrez del Castillo. Collaborator in Oro Molido and Ars Sonora (Spanish National Radio).

«Archipiel prove that there is an array of expressive possibilities based on music still to be explored onstage. Therein lays the value of their risk-taking proposals.” Albert Boadella. Playwright and Director of Teatros del Canal (Madrid).

“Archipiel is a small musical project devised by Ainara LeGardon and Álvaro Barriuso, an intense vocal duo with dashes of analogue sounds where improvisation, theatrical music, introspection and others intertwine. An original, fresh and creative program, at the same time full of gravity and humour, a wake-up call in the face of mediocrity and a call for social indignation. Hail!” Josep-Maria Balanyà. Pianist, performer, composer, sound artist.

«Archipiel is an audiovisual performance. Yes, audiovisual. Even if no film, clips or textures are projected during the performance, if you miss the visual side, the looks, their hands moving in space, their hands touching, communicating secretly, you will be unable to understand why a poem by Kurt Schwitters sounds in such a way or why the purring of a cat can be so beautiful.» Álvaro Sanz. Audiovisual producer, photographer and teacher at the Ramón Llull and Pompeu Fabra universities of Barcelona.

“The duo formed by Álvaro Barriuso (half of Dúo Cobra) and Ainara LeGardon yell as a way to explore. They yell. And how! In their project, a methodical ellipsis between art-rock, vanguard music and impulsive performance, they bawl while they thump and put together the pieces of a machine that moves between experimentation and ephemeral architecture.” Alan Queipo. Notodo.com.

«Attending an Archipiel performance for the first time was coming head to head with a lesson in thermodynamics: someone had recovered muted sounds (not silence, such a dangerous word!), unleashed them and got them going. They started at a Malevich painting, in harmony: gradually, harmony gave way to something else which also conversed; moreover, without words. They said and kept saying things that came from deep inside, hidden among the ins and outs of oblivion, still alive: an autonomous order had been created, sometimes taking the form of dark fractals, other times extremely beautiful, with blood pumping in a way unknown of until then. They started again, whistling this time, and again everyday harmony gave way with each scream, with each gesture, to spurts of intelligence and sensibility, courage and tenderness, to a new harmony, a renewed desire for surprise and sanity, far from the point of equilibrium.” Tino Barriuso. Physicist and writer.






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