Opera: Tijuana style

Ciudad Juárez, Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa… what do these cities have in common? They are border cities, where the violence in Mexico exploded due to the War on Drugs that devastated the northern part of the country.

Tijuana is precisely one of those cities that felt it heavily, but today teaches us a very nice lesson. Since years (even before the War on Drugs) Tijuana was world-known for its careless way of life. Alcohol, drugs, women, nasty streets and tough night life were part of the imagination when someone imagined the city.

The inhabitants, however, never lost their faith and found new ways to fight that feeling. As true Mexicans, they knew that violence cannot be stopped with more violence, and thus fought it the way they knew: sing and smile.

The Tijuana Cultural Centre and their young talents decided to give hope and draw smiles in its inhabitants with their own version of street Opera, a movement that has been seen previously in Europe, but a movement that Tijuana needed to gain energy and encourage their people to not give up and live peacefully. Did it work? Too soon to say, but oh boy! truly inspires.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Song of the day: Granada – Agustín Lara

Aaahh, Agustín Lara! that romantic skinny, also known as “El flaco de oro” (the golden skinny). One of the most prolific composers of his time.

Worldwide known is the way he composed in the name of love (specially that impossible love) with masterpieces like Solamente una vez, María bonita, Piensa en mí, etc.

But also very well known is his love for Spain, where many of his songs are specially dedicated to its cities: Murcia, Madrid, Valencia, etc. becoming the songs that are now part of their heritage.

However, there is one song that stands out: Granada. The favorite of many tenors and one of the most sang worldwide. Why? Power, I would say. Granada is passion and courage, is the voice of love for our land, love for our people. Granada is a proud moment to sing for ourselves.

My personal choice was to put Plácido Domingo‘s version. No better tenor could feel this ‘mestizo’ passion than the one born in Spain and raised in Mexico.

The song of the day: Danzón No. 2 – Arturo Márquez

More than a song, it is actually an amazing instrumental composition. If not familiar with Latin American music, let me tell you that there is a wide range of music styles in our beloved continent. Not everything is Salsa, my friend.

Danzón was born in Cuba in the late years of the XIX century and the early XX century. Because of its neighborhood with Mexico, precisely at the Atlantic coast, the Mexican nation adopted the dance with joy and became very loved as it is a romantic and flirting approach for the dancers, full of lust, enchanting moves and passion.

The danzón (which literally would mean in Spanish something like “Big dance”) became popular in the region along the Gulf of Mexico, being Veracruz the most representative place of it (tho Tabasco and Campeche have good representatives too). However, the melody today is “Danzón No. 2” from the Maestro Arturo Márquez, the talented composer born in Sonora. Nowadays is this melody almost a symbol of Danzones and thus of Latin American music in general. No, it is not THE symbol, but it is for sure now a classic.

Many may not like Dudamel‘s version, as he uses to be very “fogozo” in his conduction. He gives another interpretation. Wagner would shit inward for sure if he hears Dudamel directing with his style, but we must not forget that this is a Danzón, a Latin American song and I personally think that Dudamel has taken it beyond and it is a real pleasure to listen to it.

Well, too much chit-chat. Following is my favorite version of Danzón No.2. Enjoy!