Lourdes Pérez

Lourdes Pérez
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Lourdes Perez (b. 1961 San Sebastian, Puerto Rico) is a prolific contemporary recording artist, songwriter, composer, arranger, poet, vocalist and guitarist. She is also one of few female decimistas (writers of décima, a specialized form of Spanish poetry). Lourdes’ music – often conjuring comparisons to the soulful world music genres of cante jondo, morna and fado –draws from her jíbara (Puerto Rican mountain) roots and a socially conscious genre of Spanish/pan-Latin American music called nueva trova or nueva canción. Considered by many to be “among the great Latin American female vocalists” and songwriters, Lourdes Pérez has performed duets onstage with numerous legendary and diverse artists, from Argentinean singer Mercedes Sosa and Mexican master decimista Guillermo Velázquez to Canadian pop artist Jane Siberry and Lebanese vocalist, May Nasr. Acclaimed for her “ability to transcend language…with her achingly beautiful contralto voice,” she has been described by music critic Michael Corcoran as “Edith Piaf fronting the Gypsy Kings.” Wielding a startling combination of power and fragility within the same voice, her varied audiences often find themselves crying without necessarily understanding a word. In the early 90’s when she began touring, Pérez was one of the only out, Latina lesbians and she performed only in Spanish. Through her visibility and her music, she occupied spaces that didn’t often overlap, or include people like her, and quietly opened many paths along the way. In December, 2006 Lourdes Pérez became one of the first 50 artists to be named as a United States Artists Fellow and was awarded a $50,000 unrestricted grant in honor of her contribution

to Music.(http://www.unitedstatesartists.org/Public/USAFellows/index.cfm). This fellowship recognizes the “finest living artists in the country” and Lourdes was one of 5 musicians (and the only woman musician) to be so honored. Also in 2006, her song, Paloma Urbana (Urban Dove) won Best Latin Song in the Just Plain Folks Music Awards. She is featured in the 2005 Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States (Oxford Press) and in World Music: The Basics by Richard Nidel (2005), as well as one of 1000 performers in the world profiled in the 2000 Music Hound World Essential Album Guide. Independent, theatrical, down-to-earth and somewhat nomadic, Lourdes has devoted her work to promoting human rights and dignity around the globe. Lourdes’ solo album, “Este Filo” (www.cdbaby.com/perez5) is dedicated to Carmen Jimenez “Doña Titin,” wife of Rafael Cancel Miranda and a heroine of the struggle for the dignity and sovereignty of Puerto Rico. Her concert at a Palestinian refugee camp in Bethlehem in 2002 prompted her Spanish translation of the beloved Arabic song by Ahmad Kaboor/Tawfeeq Zayad, “Unadeekum (Te llamo). The song was first released as a single, then on her CD, Este Filo. Most recently, she had the honor of recording the song with Lebanese singer, May Nasr and the beloved writer of the song, Ahmad Kaboor. This song is available the  full-length album, Written in Water (in Spanish and Arabic). A song that Pérez wrote for the people of Sierra Blanca, Texas was used as part of a successful grassroots campaign against turning a low-income Mexican American communities on the Texas-Mexico border into nuclear waste dumping grounds. Over the years, she has been asked to write or improvise tributes to other artists, human rights leaders and elders, such as Chicana scholar Gloria Anzaldúa, Puerto Rican nationalist centenarian Isabel Rosado and disappeared Mayan resistance leader Efraín Bámaca Velásquez (“Comandante Everardo”). Pérez recently provided contextual information on Puerto Rican poetry for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s memoir, My Beloved World (2013). Her discography includes 10 albums, a full length film score, a short film score, 2 modern dance scores, a theater score and numerous individual tributes, while several of her songs appear in films, compilations and anthologies. The contemporary Puerto Rican trova group, Somos Tres, and Lebanese singer May Nasr have recorded and interpreted Pérez’ music. She is the co-author and composer of Dulce Vigilante: Remembranzas de la Región Oeste de Puerto Rico, (an illustrated book and music project with her mother, oral historian Carmen I. Cruz and her niece, visual artist Andrea María Carnaval), which was released on December 20, 2014 in Puerto Rico. Dulce Vigilante was awarded a $10,000 grant from NALAC, the National Association of Latino Arts & Culture. Pérez turned 11 of her mother’s stories into songs and invited two treasures of Puerto Rico to record with her: her younger sister, vocalist-songwriter Miriam Pérez and one of the primary ambassadors of Puerto Rican folkloric music, Tony Mapeyé.  

Currently, she is completing a similar project working with a group of elders from the historic, Mexican Westside of San Antonio, collecting their oral histories and turning them into songs and a book that will include a CD of the original songs based on their stories from the 1930’s-50’s. For this project, Pérez invited 20 illustrious musicians from the same Westside (including  Flaco Jiménez, Santiago Jiménez, Jr., Eva Ybarra, Tish Hinojosa, Henry Gómez, Al Gómez, “Sauce” González, Las Tesoros and more) to perform the music. A multimedia performance of the work, choreographed by dancers, Leticia Sánchez-Retamozo and Álvaro Duarte and featuring live performance by the elders was staged in April and July of this year. The event celebrating the release of the book & CD, Still Here: Homenaje al Westside de San Antonio will take place on November 11, 2018 and will include the multimedia performance, book signing and an after party with live music by some of the legendary performers featured on the CD. This project was commissioned by Esperanza Peace & Justice Center. These albums were recorded, mixed and mastered at Blue Cat Studios in San Antonio, Texas by Joe Treviño. Pérez and her collaborator in both life and art, Annette D’Armata, have been together since May of 1991.  

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Skills

Posted on

June 16, 2018

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Skills

Posted on

June 16, 2018