Weaving together a tapestry of resistance, culture and protest, the LA Phil’s Power to the People! series will celebrate the roles musicians and artists have had in helping advance social change, civil rights and humanitarian causes now and throughout the decades. On June 4, the series will feature prominent Latin American protest music for Canto en resistencia at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown, Los Angeles.
Featuring performances by Devendra Banhart, iLe, Mon Laferte, Rodrigo Amarante, Edna Vazquez and Silvana Estrada — the singers will be backed by the LA Phil’s orchestra with the artists covering protest songs ranging from the pro-democracy and workers’ rights Nueva cancion, tropicalismo, and tonada songs. Many of these song were made famous by legendary artists such as Mercedes Sosa, Violeta Parra, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, and Simón Díaz, as well as contemporary anthems that resonate with today’s activists. Gustavo Dudamel will also lead the LA Phil in music by Angélica Negrón and a world premiere by Victor Agudelo.
Guest artists for the evening include:
Mon Laferte: Merging a wide range of genres — from indie and roots rock, blues, bolero, cumbia, ranchera, and electronic — with traditional Chilean folk music, Mon Laferte’s brand of Latin pop music is culturally and sonically unique. The young Chilean musician creates a rich and eclectic sound, whether it be through tight instrumentals and distinct vocals. With a wide perspective, Laferte is highly skilled at utilizing elements of the past to express modern sentiments.
Devendra Banhart: Cultivating a multi-genre sound inspired by his diverse upbringing, Devendra Banhart balances a love for making music with a robust painting career. As a musician, he is influenced by the time he spent growing up Caracas, Venezuela and the ubiquitous exposure to salsa, merengue, cumbia and bossa nova. As a teen (his family having moved back to the states), he became obsessed with music associated with skater culture such as rocksteady, bluebeat and ska. All of these influences can be found in his music, and throughout the years, he has expanded his sound to be uniquely his own.
iLe: Ileana “iLe” Cabra is a Puerto Rican singer who began her career as the female vocalist for the group Calle 13 using the artistic moniker PG-13. She started her solo career at 16, wowing fans and concert attendees with her cover of “Puro Teatro” by the Cuban singer La Lupe. With rhythmic and methodical singles, iLe’s strong vocals and talent for songwriting provide the young artist with all the right tools to traverse a fruitful career in music.
Rodrigo Amarante: Brazilian musician Rodrigo Amarante’s music beautifully encapsulates the rhythm and self-expression of an individual who understand the fragility of life and embraces the beauty within our finite nature. Writing music that leaves room for each individual instrument to ebb and flow, Amarante is uninhibited by musical constructs. Between his two full-length albums, lies a range of thought, sound and emotion.
Silvana Estrada: Mexican singer/songwriter Silvana Estrada pens delightfully enchanting music with soft undertones and coming-of-age sentiments. The young, 23-year-old artist is a prominent voice in the movement of independent female artists in Latin America cultivated over the past decade. Collaborating with other Latin American artists, Estrada’s reach is continuing to expand as she both nurtures and is nurtured by a rich, growing female music scene.
Edna Vazquez: Born in Jalisco, Mexico, Edna Vazquez is a fearless singer, songwriter and guitarist. With music that transcends language, the Portland-based artist inspires her listeners with music that is deep, melodic and encompassing. She has also used her music to help educate and uplift young individuals and musicians through workshops and projects with the Bravo Youth Orchestras, Young Audiences and the Lullaby Project by Carnegie Hall through the Oregon Symphony.
LA Phil’s Power to the People! series is led by LA Phil Music and Artistic Director, Gustavo Dudamel and Creative Chair for Jazz, Herbie Hancock — the series brings together distinguished artists and guests for a special multidisciplinary series taking place May 29 – June 10. Canto en resistencia is just one of many Power To The People! events taking place. View the full list here.
Words: Patti Sanchez