Diego Villalta is a musician and visual artist based in the heart of Melbourne. Born in El Salvador, he migrated to Australia as a young child among many other families escaping the last civil conflict. Diego performs locally, nationally and internationally as part of various artistic projects.
As a musician, Diego has built a strong reputation for himself, performing countless shows, festivals and tours in Australia as well as internationally. His distinctive sound is vibrant, playful and emotive, seeing him perform sold-out shows and successful tours with groups including Pataphysics and Tierra. Along with album releases, such as 2016’s Connections, these have produced a wide range of accolades and well-received reviews.
Diego’s has been producing and exhibiting visual art since his early teenage years. His pieces have won various Victorian awards and have gone on to see him commissioned to create works for various private and corporate clients. Similar to his music, his style is emotive and explorative, and he has been part of many group and solo exhibitions.
AWARDS, TOURING/SHOW HIGHLIGHTS & REVIEWS
Bachelor of Music Performance with Honours from the Victorian College of the Arts/ Melbourne University
FCAC Artist in Resident 2013 (Pataphysics)
2012 Very West Winner
36th Concours Internationaux de Bourges / Netart“, IMEB Bourges / France and X Media Forum / 31st International Film Festival / Special Mention, Moscow / Russia for Spam the Musical, 2009
2003 Winner of the Art Victoria's Intergeneration Mentoring Project for the Arts Scheme
6th Annual UNESCO Phuket International Jazz Day Festival
Sydney Opera House Homeground Festival
Back to back yearly Japan touring (Tokyo and Kansai regions)
Woodford Folk Festival
Big sound Brisbane
St. Jerome's Laneway Festival Melbourne
Rainbow Serpent Festival
Wide Open Space Alice Springs
St. Kilda Festival
White Night Melbourne
Peat's Ridge Sydney
Folk rhythm and life
Melbourne International Jazz festival
Melbourne Women's International Jazz Festival
Darebin Music Feast
Paynesville Music Festival
Stonington Jazz Festival
Channel 10 awards
Rip Curl Pro Surf Competition
Chilean Festival Melbourne
"Barton and Villalta have made an album that contrasts a becalmed inner world with the chaos and beauty of the world that they see around them. That they have managed this in such a melodic and engrossing way suggests a greater constancy to jazz's restless spirit than any number of aspirational takes on the 'Great American Songbook,' but then each to their own. Highly recommended"
- Phil Barnes (All About Jazz)
"This new album, made up entirely of compositions by their guitarist Diego Villalta, is really... really good. I'm enjoying this immensely. Some beautiful playing here."
- Steve Robertson (3RPC, PBS FM)
"Fingers in pies, foot in doors and knee deep in the thick of Melbourne's music scene. Diego is the go-to man for getting it done and delivering that sweet riff."
- Miss P. (The House of Marc and Linker)
"Marks, who is a trumpeter as well as producer rapper and soul singer, in combination with his mate, jazz guitarist Diego Villalta, make a fusion of live instrumentation and beats that is surprisingly broad."
- C. Cobcroft (4ZZZ)
"Barton and Villalta have certainly produced a work of contraries and anyone with an open mind and two receptive ears should welcome this brave, sensitive and not infrequently brilliant music."
- Roger Farbey (All About Jazz)