[Blog] Colburn School Dance Recital May 24: Danish “Flower Festival” to Cuban “Manteca” (+ Video)
*BLOG / *VIDEO / ARTS / Ballet / Cuban / Cuban / DANCE / LATIN AMERICAN/LATINO / MUSIC

[Blog] Colburn School Dance Recital May 24: Danish “Flower Festival” to Cuban “Manteca” (+ Video)

My 15-year-long ballet “career” has introduced me to astounding music, from Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings in C major” (from George Balanchine’s “Serenade”) to Danny Elfman’s “Beetlejuice” score (from a funky piece by my amazing Westside Ballet teacher Veronica Apodaca). Now, I’m again adding to the list. In a recital this Friday at The Colburn School’s Zipper Hall, I’ll perform two pieces with Colburn’s adult ballet class – and our music ranges from 19th century classical to 20th century Latin jazz. Continue reading

[Blog] Masanga Marima Brings “Guantanamera” from L.A. to Zimbabwe and Back (+ Video)
*VIDEO / African / COUNTRIES & CULTURES / Cuban / Latin American / LATIN AMERICAN/LATINO / MUSIC

[Blog] Masanga Marima Brings “Guantanamera” from L.A. to Zimbabwe and Back (+ Video)

The simple tune and patriotic lyrics of “Guantanamera,” Cuba’s signature song, have traveled to numerous far-flung corners of the planet. Even unlikely ones, I learned last Friday at a concert by Masanga Marimba at MacArthur Park’s Levitt Pavilion. Masanga Marimba blends African and Latin American musical styles, mostly played on seven Zimbabwean marimbas ranging from … Continue reading

[Blog] Watch This Now: Ana Tijoux + Manu Chao in Arizona
*BLOG / Immigration Issues / Latin American / LATIN AMERICAN/LATINO / MUSIC

[Blog] Watch This Now: Ana Tijoux + Manu Chao in Arizona

The scene in the just-released music video by Alex Rivera looks calm and quaint, at first. Like a few friends camping in the desert who decide to sing a song at sunset, accompanied only by acoustic guitar and the taps of their toes in the dirt. But it’s not so simple. The place is Arizona, … Continue reading

Los Jornaleros del Norte: Day Laborer Band Sings for Immigrant Rights (+ Video)
*BLOG / *VIDEO / COUNTRIES & CULTURES / Immigration Issues / Latin American / LATIN AMERICAN/LATINO / MUSIC

Los Jornaleros del Norte: Day Laborer Band Sings for Immigrant Rights (+ Video)

On the cover of the latest Los Jornaleros del Norte album, Que No Pare la Lucha (May The Struggle Go On), a drawing portrays a mustachioed man wearing a cap stitched with the word “dignidad.” His right hand is clenched in a fist above his head. The stance depicts pride and defiance, the same attitude the group has taken in response to Arizona’s controversial immigration law, Senate Bill 1070, which shines through the band’s entire repertoire… Continue reading

Concert Review: Outernational’s Spirited Sound
*BLOG / Immigration Issues / Latin American / MUSIC

Concert Review: Outernational’s Spirited Sound

Outernational is back from performing in Tijuana. “That’s a big deal for us, crossing the border that way!” shouts lead singer Miles Solay in the band’s performance at The Echo on May 1. Everything that emerges from Solay’s mouth is loud — yells, screeches, proclamations — as if he can’t contain his energy. He also has a habit of stretching his words into a drawl to sound like Bob Dylan, or maybe Woody Guthrie. Although his band’s music is more punk rock than folk, these two legends have influenced Outernational’s attitude and music, which demands improved rights for all, especially immigrants. Hence, the delight at travelling from the U.S. to Mexico. Outernational believes in a world devoid of borders, where humans belong to the globe rather than a single country. The group’s newest album, “Todos Somos Ilegales/We Are All Illegal,” examines the plight of recent immigrants living in the U.S…. Continue reading

Concert Review: Quetzal’s Ready to Dance With New Album “Imaginaries”
*BLOG / Chicano / Latin American / MUSIC

Concert Review: Quetzal’s Ready to Dance With New Album “Imaginaries”

At a recent show where Quetzal presented its new album, “Imaginaries,” the song “Infitada” about solidarity with Palestine made one audience member mad. She shouted at lead singer Martha Gonzalez in anger after the performance. But Gonzalez didn’t yell back. “I said, ‘Qué bueno, we have a conversation!’” Gonzalez recalled, telling the story to her … Continue reading

*BLOG / Latin American / Mexican / MUSIC

Café Tacvba Celebrates 20th Anniversary With “Seguir Siendo”

I squinted at the small TV, trying to figure out what to make of the enthusiastic, eccentric performers on the screen.   The small guy with the nasaly voice wearing an image of large breasts on his t-shirt.   The slender pianist who paused his playing to raise his arms and do a dance from the torso … Continue reading

*BLOG / Latin American / Mexican / MUSIC

Concert Review: True Amor for Julieta Venegas

“The fantasy is better,” Julieta Venegas belted to open her Club Nokia show on May 19th. This may be true of the song’s glorification of “amores platonicos,” but not a concert by Venegas. The Mexican pop songstress brought such joy, spirit and energy to her live performance that it exceeded any fantasy one could have had of seeing her in person… Continue reading

Latin American / Mexican / Mexican / MUSIC

Los Tigres del Norte bring their roar to Disney Concert Hall

Also see my preview article, “Los Tigres del Norte to make history at Walt Disney Concert Hall,” published in the Los Angeles Times. Los Tigres del Norte plays at the same venues that host rodeos, professional bull riders and country fairs.  So its show last Friday night at Walt Disney Concert Hall offered the band an opportunity … Continue reading