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lourdes perez: BIO

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 Velazquez to Canadian pop artist Jane Siberry. 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 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.( This fellowship recognizes the “finest living artists in the country” and Lourdes was one of 5 musicians 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" ( 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 on a 3-song CD single ( and will be released on a full-length album later this year. 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 9 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. For more information, contact Lorena Carbonara: She is the co-author and composer of Dulce Vigilante: Remembranzas de la Región Oeste de Puerto Rico, (an art book recording project with her mother, oral historian Carmen I. Cruz and her niece, visual artist Andrea María Carnaval) will be released on December 20, 2014 in Puerto Rico.

Pérez and her collaborator in both life and art, Annette D'Armata, have been together since May of 1991. 

R E P R E S E N T A T I V E P E R F O R M A N C E S: 1992 - Present

• Duet concert with May Nasr, Written in Water album release, Esperanza Center, San Antonio, TX, May 2016

• Duet concert with May Nasr, Written in Water album release, One World Theatre, Austin, TX, May 2016

• Resistencia Bookstore, in store performance and album signing with May Nasr, Austin, TX, May 2016

• BookWoman, in store performance and album signing with May Nasr, Austin, TX, May 2016

• Diane's, Silver City, NM, March 2016

• KURU 89.1 FM, Silver City, NM, live performance and interview, March 2016

• Eden Women's Festival, with Awna Texeira, Eden, AZ, March 2016

• Tribute performance, Peter Ortiz opening exhibit, Austin, TX, February 2016

• Duet concert with Eva Ybarra, Sor Juana Festival, Mexican American Cultural Center, Austin, TX, April 2015

• Dulce Vigilante book/CD release concert, with Miriam Pérez and Tony Mapeyé, Esperanza Center, January 2015

• Dulce Vigilante book/CD release concert, with Miriam Pérez and Tony Mapeyé, Corralón de San José, Viejo San Juan, Puerto Rico, December 2014.

• Dulce Vigilante book/CD release concert, with Miriam Pérez and Tony Mapeyé, Teatro Benito Fred, San Sebastián, Puerto Rico, December 2014

• Sacramento City College - Performing Arts Complex 106, Sacramento, CA, October 2014

• Teatro Benito Fred, San Sebastián, Puerto Rico, December 2013

• Cantata para la Conciencia, WLRP Radio Raices live performance and call-in, San Sebastián, PR, December 2013

• Duet concerts with Irene Farrera, Esperanza Center, San Antonio, TX, October 2013

• Spontaneous Love Song Concert Tour, multiple unexpected places across the U.S., May - July 2013

• Santiesteban 18, Antequera, Málaga, Spain, December 2012

• Cinema Palazzo, Rome, Italy, December 2012

• Teatro Kismet, Bari, Italy, December 2012

• University of Bari, Bari, Italy, December 2012

• Gibralfaro Castle, duet concert with May Nasr, Málaga, Spain, July 2011

• Plaza de Casares, duet concert with May Nasr, Casares, Spain, July 2011

• Bernstein & Maghreblian House concert series, May 2010

• Solo performance, Sacramento City College, Sacramento, CA, October 2009

• Insight with Jeffrey Callison, KXJZ 90.9, Sacramento, CA, October 2009

• Written in Water, Duet concert with May Nasr, Esperanza Center, San Antonio, TX, May 2009

• 25th Anniversary, Festival de Huapango Arribeño, Xichu, Guanajuato, Mexico, December 2007

• Sacramento City College, Sacramento, CA, October 2007

• Esperanza Peace & Justice Center 20th Anniversary w/ Eva Ybarra & Azul, San Antonio, TX, October 2007

• CD Release Concert with Miriam Perez, Casa Abierta de las Bellas Artes, Rincon, Puerto Rico, February 2007

• Comunicando con Toti Figueroa, Radio WPRA 990 AM, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, February 2007

• Cultura Viva, televised live, Puerto Rico, February 2007

• One World Theatre, Austin, Texas, December 2006

• Jazz at Lincoln Center performance, New York, NY, September 2006

• Open air concert with Somos Tres, Casa Abierta de las Bellas Artes, Rincon, Puerto Rico, February, 2006

• Virtual Release of Este Filo CD, Esperanza Center, San Antonio, TX 2005

• Release of commissioned composition, Azul y Serena, at unveiling of world’s largest Guadalupe mosaic, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, San Antonio, TX 2003

• 1ro Conferencia en Solidaridad con el Pueblo Palestino, Zacatecas City, Mexico, 2003

• Duet performance with Guillermo Velázquez, Cervantino Festival, Guanajuato, Mexico, 2003

• Series of duet performances with Mercedes Sosa, One World Theatre, Austin, TX 2002

• D’Heisheh Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, Palestine 2002

• Live satellite TV performance, “A Message to the World,” Gaza City, Gaza 2002

• Nat. Assoc. of Latino Arts & Culture (NALAC) conference, featured performer w/ special guests Jacqueline Rago, Jon Santos, others, Austin, TX 2002

• Festival de Huapango Arribeño y Poesía Decimal, Xichú, Guanajuato 1997, 1999, 2002

• Debut run of “Santuarios,” St. Phillip’s College, San Antonio, TX 2001

• Debut run of “The Leaf Storm,” University of Texas, Austin, TX 2000

• Concert, San Francisco Cultural Center, Chihuahua, México, 1999

• New Texas Festival, Jessen Auditorium/UT, Austin, TX 1999

• Under the Volcano Festival, Vancouver, Canada, 1998

• El Centro Cultural Casa Aboy, San Juan, Puerto Rico 1999

• Festival de Los Inocentes, San Sebastián, Puerto Rico 1998

• Suffragette Sessions Tour: 12-city, collaborative tour with Indigo Girls, Jane Siberry, 1998

• Fotofest: "Parachute" concert/installation with filmmaker Johannes Birringer and visual artist Liliana Wilson Grez, urban ruins of former Mercado del Sol, Houston, TX 1998

• Texas Civil Rights Project Annual Gala, Austin, TX 1994 - 1998

• Duet performance with Irene Farrera, Astraea Foundation Gala, NY, NY 1998

• Duet performances with Tish Hinojosa, Austin & Kerrville, TX 1995, 1997, 1998

• Concert & workshops, Rio Bravo (colonia), TX 1998, 1999

• No Nukes Conference with Bonnie Raitt, Austin, TX 1997

• Northwest Folklikfe Festival, Seattle, WA 1997

• Release of 2nd CD, Vestigios, University of Texas LBJ Auditorium, Austin, TX 1997

• Intercontinental Encuentro (San Cristobal, 5 autonomous zones), Chiapas, México, 1996

• Iowa Women’s Music Festival, Iowa City, IA 1996

• Kerrville Folk Festival, 25th Anniversary, Kerrville, TX 1996

• El Arcano, special guest of Marcial Alejandro, Coyohuacán, México 1996

• Nahualli Festival, duet with Guillermo Velázquez y Los Leones, Austin, TX 1996

• Tribute performance for Angela Davis and Gloria Steinem, Austin, TX 1996

• Boston Symphony Hall, invited guest of Mercedes Sosa, Boston, MA 1995

• Bass Concert Hall/UT, opening performance for Mercedes Sosa, Austin, TX 1995

• Rhythmfest, Aiken, SC 1995

• Clarksville Jazz Festival (Winner Songwriter of Year), Austin, TX 1994-1996

• South by Southwest Music Conference, Austin, TX 1994, 1995

• Michigan Women’s Music Festival, Walhalla, MI 1994

• Celebration of Craftwomen, San Francisco, CA 1994

• Austin Acoustic Music Festival, Austin, TX 1993 – 1996

• Mujercanto, Esperanza Peace & Justice Center, San Antonio, TX 1992 - 1998

P U B L I S H E D W O R K 

Still Here: Homenaje al Westside de San Antonio, book and musical CD, lyrics and compositions by Lourdes Pérez and featuring 21 guest musicians from the historic West Side of San Antonio including Flaco Jiménez, Santiago Jiménez, Jr., Eva Ybarra and Tish Hinojosa (Esperanza Center/Chee Wee House) TO BE RELEASED 2018.

Al Caer la Tarde, Lourdes Pérez and Eva Ybarra, 6 track EP (Chee Wee Records, 2016)

Written in Water, Lourdes Pérez and May Nasr (duet CD in Spanish and Arabic) with special guest Ahmad Kaabour (Chee Wee Records, 2016)

Dulce Vigilante: Remembranzas de la Región Oeste de Puerto Rico, Illustrated book and music CD, (Chee Wee House, 2015)

20 Años, Boxed collection of works from 1994 -2014, includes 8 CDs (Chee Wee Records, 2014)

Written in Water with May Nasr and guest of honor, Ahmad Kaabour (Chee Wee 2016)

Te Llamo (Unadikum) with May Nasr and guest of honor, Ahmad Kaabour (Chee Wee 2011), 3 song single 

Dulce Vigilante (Chee Wee House, 2015), musical CD that accompanies the book Dulce Vigilante: Remembranzas de la Región Oeste de Puerto Rico. 

En vivo: Lourdes Perez con Miriam Perez (Chee Wee 2007)

Este Filo (Chee Wee 2005)

Azúl y Serena (Chee Wee 2003), commissioned composition, recorded with the Dama de Noche Orchestra

Pájaros de otro canto (Chee Wee 2003), commissioned soundtrack for the film, “¿Adónde Fue Juan José?” (for which she composed the score and is the principal contributing artist) 

Selections from Tres Oraciones (Chee Wee 2002) 

Vestigios (Vivavoce Records-1997) 

Recuerdate Por Mi (Chee Wee 1994)


2009 The Puerto Rican Freedom Album (Welfare Poets)
2006 La Nueva Escuela CD
1998 Manuel's Womens Festival Compilation II CD

Full length scores: 
Azul y Serena (multimedia tribute concert)
Santuarios (modern/folkloric dance)  
El Hilo Mágico (full length film)
The Leaf Storm (modern dance/theater)
conflama (word opera, theater) 
Adonde Fue Juan Jose (full length film)
Marejada (multimedia, oral history)

Lourdes’ work also appears in: 
Altar: Cruzando Fronteras, Building Bridges (documentary on the life of Gloria Anzaldúa by Paola Zaccharia)

When (short film by Jen Tsai)

Entre Sillas (CD, Somos Tres)
Lil Ghaly (CD, May Nasr)