The Berklee College of Music hosted the Latin American VIVE Music Festival last Tuesday to promote and celebrate Latin culture through its rich and thriving musical heritage.
Idelle Erazo, a student at Berklee, who sings and plays guitar and piano, says that there is a large amount of Latino culture in Boston and that “it is growing.”
People from all over Boston joined in this celebration, which featured the talent of performers and composers from Latin America and beyond. From salsa to Andean music, from boleros and chacareras to Latin jazz and fusion, a wide variety of genres from across the continent was represented.
The audience consisted mainly of Berklee students. There were spurts of cheers when a familiar person walked on stage. In an email interview with Fernando “Nando” Michelin, a Berklee assistant professor of piano, he said the atmosphere of around 500 people was amicable. “Both students and public showed a lot of excitement about [the festival]”. Members of the audience were engrossed during the performances and acknowledged the talent of each artist with a resounding applause.
Every song was written and arranged by the performers and each had a message. Carlos Capacho from Venezuela composed an original song, “Maggie” and dedicated it to his family. Erazo also dedicated her song to her family in Puerto Rico.
Helmed by Michelin, this special event serves as a tribute to Latin people everywhere and a testament to the unifying power of their music. On this particular night, the performances were dedicated to the innocent people affected by the recent terror attacks in Belgium.
According to the hosts, Viayra Rivera Carino and Greta de Leija, it took about five months to prepare for the performance. The set up at the beginning of the performances included various red and blue background lights to create a dark environment. Throughout the night this changed to correspond with the emotional energy of each song. The grand piano was positioned on the right wing and the drum set was near the back of the stage. For the performance of “Gigi Capitana” by Javier Cuello, there were radiant lights and the performer danced while encouraging the audience to clap along.
Each time a performer was introduced, Carino and de Leija provided background on the artists’ inspirations. In Josu Ortiz’s performance of “Inento,” there were guitar and piano solos. Both pieces were mesmerizing; however,the guitar solo was exceptional. Joaquina Mertz performed the song “Beso”. It was an upbeat piece, with plenty of soulful moments to create contrast in the performance. To conclude, all the performers gathered on stage in a final celebration and performed an encore of the lively “Gigi Capitana.” Members of the audience gave a standing ovation to the brilliant performances.
The Latin American VIVE Music Festival is one of a series of events held at the Berklee Performance Center. Upcoming shows include Singers’ Night, an event where Berklee’s finest vocalists will perform a wide variety of music, Alice in Wonderland, a new musical adaptation for young audiences and A Roma Berklee Night, celebrating Roma culture and its music in a concert of traditional Romani folk music.