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lourdes perez: REVIEWS

When I heard Lourdes Perez's music for the first time I could hardly believe this woman existed. With her latest release. Este Filo, it is clear that Lourdes Perez lives up to her reputation as one of the great Latin American singer/songwriters. ...beautifully crafted words, spilling out like little gems. The songs can be urgent and dramatic, raging against violence and injustice. They can be comforting and nostalgic, memories of loved ones and promises kept. Whatever mood the music creates, it never feels forced. It seems to pour out of her so naturally, effortlessly. It draws you in and you find yourself raging, remembering, laughing and loving along with her."

Angie Manzano - Off Our Backs

"With her beautiful voice of thick smoke and clear honey, Lourdes Perez leaves deep footprints that we will remember forever."

-Gloria Anzaldua, author of Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza and co-editor of This Bridge Called My Back

"...phenomenal acoustic guitar player...ultimately, Perez most impressive instrument is her voice...picture Edith Piaf astride a Harley, revving her engine in front of the International Headquarters of the Powers That Be"

- The Georgia Straight, CANADA

"Perez has a honey-coated contralto that transcends language...Perez lends an unwavering authenticity to her music reminiscent of legendary French chanteuse Edith Piaf"

- Vancouver Courier, CANADA (cover)
"...achingly beautiful...audiences are stunned and enraptured...the power, wit an dignity that her deep-throated alto commands affects listeners whether they understand Spanish or not."
-Austin American Statesman

"A voice deep with feeling and music resplendent with talent...

A warm voice and well crafted guitar playing combine to make this more than a folk album. Perez touches the intellect and the heart, the spirit and the senses in a collection of songs that can seduce and stir it up! The recording captures the timbre of the voice, one of the few albums you can hear the ache of the words. One or two live tracks come as a surprise because the consistency of performance and production create an intimate experience for the listener throughout the entire record, as if she is sitting and playing on the bed next to you or in your favorite chair. A wonderful album. The only folk thing is that Lourdes is a lover of people and ideas. Think of many great women singer/songwriters - Lourdes is among them." - stompbox

stompbox
(translated) "There are treasures in life that are worth more than all of the coffers in the world. That moment (when I heard you sing) was worth more than all of the money that Rockefeller and his entourage may have..."
- Rafael Cancel Miranda, Puerto Rican national hero, writer, historian

"A powerhouse of a voice at the forefront of the Puerto Rican cause...

Lourdes Perez stands on the vanguard of excellence, with passion she delivers the insides of a Puerto Rican Soul. Her music is compelling and dynamic, she can easily be compared to any number of modern day greats. Breathing life into a number of songs, she is an island who remains true to a dying art form. A modern day poet, living and breathing the struggles of an island fighting to retain its History and identity." JOHNNY RIVERA

Johnny Rivera
"...Perez' dark, soulful voice communicates meaning regardless of language.." (click to read more)
"Mercedes Sosa...yielded the stage to Puerto Rican singer Lourdes Perez...A warm, dynamic singer and beautiful guitarist, Perez drew a fervent and well-deserved ovation"
-Boston Globe

"An artist whose work is built on musical traditions of Central America and the Caribbean but is firmly of today is the chanteuse Lourdes Pérez. Describing the challenges and inequities of life in the contemporary world, she wraps her messages in familiar forms. The effect is music that is both strong and comforting, both generous and direct."

Where to begin? Singer-songwriter Lourdes Perez has astounded audiences with her commanding voice and socially conscious lyrics since 1992. Today, she is loved and respected as a major force in world music. The fado, cante jondo, morna, and nueva trova are a few of the musical traditions she weaves to create music which touches the soul and ignites the heart. Whether performing for Zapatista indigenous communities or in East Austin Community Centers, Perez -- along with longtime partner Annette D'Armata -- demonstrate that art and politics are not mutually exclusive activities, but a vital way of bringing beauty and truth to the world.

Nearly a year ago 50 people around the country each received $50,000 fellowship awards from United States Artists, a new organization that argues that individual artists are generally shortchanged when it comes to arts patronage in America...

"...her capacity to transcend language and her passion on stage have led many to consider her among the great female Latin American vocalists."
- ARTLIES magazine

"Su voz es cálida y llena de fuerza, y sus melodías conectan con las grandes damas de la canción de uno y otro lado del Atlántico, como son Mercedes Sosa y María Dolores Pradera"

"...like Edith Piaf, she transcends language...a truly remarkable voice."
-Music City Texas

"Ms. Perez brought the ardent, near sobbing tones (to the Suffragette Tour), using her gutsy declamation to reminisce over lost love and to praise women's power to nurture life."

- The New York Times
"A VOICE OF MAXIMUM BEAUTY...(her) lyrics and melodies will remain recorded in the heart..."
- El Diario, CHIHUAHUA, MEXICO

SINGING WITH THE FURY OF ANGELS 

I saw my companion moved to tears midway through Lourdes Pérez' set at the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center last summer. As I glanced around me, I realized that she was not alone: The emotional power and energy of Pérez' lyrics surged through all of us, women and men, young and old. 

Backed by musicians on the piano and violin, and joined by guests including accordion legend Eva Ybarra, Pérez shared cuentos about the music and the artists. There were no strangers here: To members of the audience, Pérez' performance felt like an intimate gathering around a campfire or coffee table - shared with 200 friends and family members. 

Pérez has been a fixture at the Esperanza Center since the first Mujer Canto (a festival of women musicians) more than a decade ago. A prolific political poet, she is grounded in the tradition of nueva canción, the cross-continental folk music popularized by Chilean artists Violeta Parra and Victor Jara in the '60s and '70s. Contemporary nueva canción artists comparable to Pérez include the world-renowned Argentinean vocalist Mercedes Sosa, as well as Venezuelana Irene Farrera, both of whom have previously shared the stage with Pérez. In contrast, Gloria Ramirez, editor of La Voz de Esperanza, also likens Pérez to the somewhat bluesy voice of 20th-century French singer Edith Piaf. Others have suggested Lila Downs (of Frida soundtrack fame), whose indigenous-Mexican-folkloric-roots musical melange mirrors Pérez' sonido more in spirit than in style. 

 

 

 

Musically, Pérez counts both the jibara (mountain) roots of her native Puerto Rico and the sounds of her adopted home in rural México as influences; lyrically, she finds inspiration from her travels to sites of struggle around the globe: Vieques, Puerto Rico; Chiapas, Mexico; Palestine. 

 

As Marissa Ramirez of the Esperanza Center explains, all three locations are places of resistance where people struggle with cultural, artistic, and political expression. "These issues should resonate with us in San Antonio, as well as a colonized city," says Ramirez. "It's important for people here to make connections to different struggles around the world, in order to see how the work around preserving historical spaces like La Gloria or the conservation efforts to protect the aquifer are related to people's right to live a more dignified life. 

 

 

 

"As an activist, artist, Puerto Rican, and lesbiana, Pérez brings the different aspects of her life to her music, which enables her to carry messages from different people," Ramirez continues. "I think what's so significant about Lourdes' voice is she believes there's a deep interconnection between people struggling around the world. As long as one group of people are still struggling, we all are." 

 

Pérez plays at the Esperanza on Saturday, July 12 at 8 p.m. Arrive early for the best seats - the Center typically fills to capacity when she performs. And unless you have a heart of stone, bring some Kleenex and a hand to hold for comfort. •

"...now dropping to a whisper, now soaring into rich, dulcet tones rivaled only by the legendary Mercedes Sosa (to whom she is often compared), Perez transcends language...her music will caress you, hold you, heal you, surround you - you might even find tears streaming down your face at the clear calm strength of her voice...her imagery is startlingly beautiful..."
-Curve Magazine
"Perez has a unique and powerful voice...with her first song, there is no room left for doubt as to the splendor of her voice and her talent."
- El Heraldo News (Ft. Worth)
"A Texas treasure..."
-ARTE (Dallas)
"Her voice-that VOICE-is a warm bed of freshly turned, fertile earth and promise, which strikes out in defiance one moment and coos with hopeless romance the next...Likewise Perez' fingers take graceful strides across minor chords which sound like hectic gasps beating out time and calling out in urgency..."
-Austin Chronicle
"...completely enrapturing voice..."
-La Prensa de San Antonio
"You don't have to understand Spanish to appreciate the passion in this voice and guitar...this one should not be missed."
-Austin Chronicle
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