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.

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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.

Songs of the day: Mambos

Haters gonna hate. As told before, Dudamel is one of those guys that either you love him or hate him. I personally love him.

He is not the orthodox musician that comes and works with precision every time. He likes to give life and to give colors to the music. Huh, I really don’t know how to explain it, I just got out of words suddenly.

Here you have a great performance and sample pieces of Mambo, a very well-known music genre of Cuba. Many composers have taken this genre and put it into big masterpieces.

Dudamel and the Youth Orchestra Simon Bolivar perform many Mambos from Perez Prado and “Mambo” from Leonard Bernstein.

Who says orchestras are not to dance?

Song of the day: In the summertime – Mungo Jerry

Summer is escaping from Germany and the cold breezes are felt in the evenings. And to celebrate that I leave you with this hit of the cheerful Mungo Jerry: In the summertime.

First time I heard it I think I was 12 or so. It was one of the song that inspired me to make an Incursion into music. You can easily notice why. All right! Summertime, see you soon!

Song of the day: Ciel, che feci – Guiseppe Verdi

Two weeks ago I was in one of the best concerts ever in my life. I got my ticket since early February and it was one of the last ones. That event is one of the most famous in Munich. It is part of a complete weekend with classical music.

It’s called “Klassik am Odeonsplatz”” that literally means “Classic at Odeonsplatz”, which is a square in downtown Munich surrounded by beautiful architecture and a nice atmosphere. It takes place every summer and the most remarkable artists of classical music perform in an Open-Air concert.

This year was awesome not only because Yannick Nézet-Séguin was directing the orchestra and Thomas Hampson was the leading Baritone, but also because my favorite tenor Rolando Villazon gave one of the most powerful and amazing performances I’ve heard from him. And yeah, I was there.

The final duet with Hampson and Villazon singing Verdi’s “Dio, che nell’alma infondere” was stunning. But, for me, what really got the night was the final solo performance of Villazón, when he stood in front and sung “Ciel, che feci” from Verdi’s Oberto. And it’s obvious that he was going to sing Verdi, as nowadays he’s promoting his latests work, which goes around him.

Huh! I have goosebumps just remembering. Amazing, that’s the word to describe his interpretation. After that I just stood up and burst into applause with all my energy. But stop reading about it. Watch his great performance in the following video from 13:38.

Bravo!

Song of the day: Harmageddon – Apocalyptica

More than a song, it is actually the melody of the day: Harmageddon from Apocalyptica is one of the first singles of the band and it is simply good when it comes to put your mind in a state of trance. I use it to study and it works for me. The rythm and pace of it awake my brain and fill it up with strong bass notes created by the cellos of these metal-lovers. Hmmm… Check it and convince yourself.

Song of the day: She’s not there – The Zombies

The vintage era sounds nowadays in my head. It all started with “Time of the Season” from The Zombies, and from there I started to make a big circle around that nice 50’s – 60’s rock era.

Oh my! Getting excited I increased the list with The Monkees, Tommy James & the Shondells, The Yardbirds, Janis Joplin, The Animals, Fats Domino… huh and the list goes on and on.

After listening along my memories, I ended up with the Zombies again. This song is punching in my head and makes me wanna jump and shout. Well, just gonna let you listen to this classic: “She’s not there” from the Zombies: