Canto en resistencia — part of the state-wide California Festival — will return to the Walt Disney Concert Hall this month on Thursday, November 9th. The night will feature two special performances by the LA Phil of two revolutionary pieces featuring Lila Downs, Catalina García, Goyo, Ely Guerra, and Ana Tijoux — who will join Gustavo Dudamel to celebrate the universal resonance of protest music created by Latin artists. Tickets for the concert are currently on sale.
According to the night’s program, the festivities will open with Alegría by Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra. Originally commissioned and premiered by the Houston Symphony Orchestra in 1996, it’s a radiant example of his signature style of “tropicalization,” a synthesis of both European modernism and Latin American folk. At just around five minutes, the performance promises to be an exhilarating and vibrant expression of Hispanic and Latin American music.
This will be followed by a Stride, written by Cuban composer Tania León in 2019 after she was approached by the New York Philharmonic to create something in honor of the 19th Amendment. Inspired by her research into the defiant perseverance that defined the life of Susan B. Anthony — the piece captures León’s vision of an indomitable American spirit. One that draws on the multi-racial sounds of everyone from Louis Armstrong to Leonard Berstein.
After intermission, attendees will be treated to five special guests who will join Dudamel and the LA Phil as living representations of dissent rooted in cultural pride. Chilean MC Ana Tijoux — who will soon release her sixth studio album Vida — will be one of the iconic performers to perform with the orchestra. Bringing her arresting presence and eclectic mixture of hip-hop, jazz, and funk to the night’s celebration.
Colombian singer and actress Catalina García will also be in attendance. She made a name for herself early on as the writer and vocalist for the Bogotá-based musical ensemble Monsieur Periné, her multi-lingual (which included Spanish, French, Portuguese, and English) lyricism capturing the hearts and minds of listeners around the world. They, too, recently released a new album, Bolero Apocalíptico, which they’ve been touring in support of.
Fellow Colombian singer/rapper/producer Goyo (a.k.a. Gloria Martinez) is one of the first Afro-Latina artists to be acknowledged as a Leading Lady of Entertainment by the Recording Academy for the Latin Grammys. She’s also the co-founder of the Grammy Award-winning group ChocQuibTown, and her continuous strides in being the “first” for so many recognitions serve as a reminder, in her words, of “how few opportunities there are for women like me.”
The career of Mexican singer/songwriter and producer Ely Guerra spans three decades and has toured across North, Central, and South America. Her collaborations are a whose-who of icons from the world of music, and each new project she embarks on is a revelation of her talent and ability to tap into her sprawling cultural background. This year saw her engage in two new projects that give tribute to regional Mexican music: Cumbia Machine and a tribute to Mexican singer and legend Chavela Vargas. Her performance at Canto en resistencia will no doubt be one for the books.
Finally, Lila Downs will bring her diverse compositions — Mexican rancheras and corridos, boleros, jazz, hip-hop, cumbia, and folklore — to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Her music is a vocal call to action across social justice issues like immigration and the plights of women around the world. This year saw the monumental release of her fourteenth album La Sánchez, which drew inspiration from music localized in northern Mexico. Singing in Spanish, English, and a stirring number of native languages like Zapoteco, Mixteco, Nahuatl, Maya, and Purépecha — her music embodies a radically important sense of the visibility and power such art can foster.
See Canto en resistencia at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on Thursday, November 9th. Tickets range from $52-$118. Keep an eye out for some of the other phenomenal shows this month, including Canto en resistencia Dudamel and the LA Phil feat. Silvana Estrada; Dudamel and the Music of Tango and Ballet; and Flamenco! María Bermúdez’s Sonidos Gitanos.
Words: Steven Ward