At LaGuardia Community College, Visiting Fulbright Scholar Steven Gilbers discusses African-American English through the comparison of East Coast and West Coast hip-hop. In a classroom filled with students and professors, Mr. Gilbers proceeds to break down hip-hop culture and the importance of authenticity in the hip-hop community. “Another crucial part of hip-hop culture is this […]
The crowd gathers and simple murmurs become loud whispers.
One head pops out. Then another. And a third, followed by three more. Cheers follow but everyone can’t help but notice the crucial head that is missing. A couple of songs later, lead singer Catalina Garcia jumps onto the stage. A temporary deafness ensues.
With a luminous smile that can calm rising tides and make the sun refuse to rise, Garcia’s natural beauty abducts a man’s dreams and makes him re-evaluate what his dream woman is supposed to look like.
A multitude of encapsulating instruments, mesmerizing vocals and dancing that was irresistibly imitable, Colombia’s Monsieur Perine put on an incredible concert at Varick Street’s Sounds of Brazil on July 20th, Colombia’s Independence Day. In a venue that housed a few hundred people, the band, clad in colorful cinematic attire, was dressed to impress and performed its perfectly upbeat musical sound to the audience’s delight.
Perine instantly moved fans into the fray when they perform their 2015 hit “Nuestra Cancion” (“Our Song”) from their second album Caja de Musica (Musicbox), which won the group the 2015 Latin Grammy for Best New Artist.
Lovers in the audience sing along with their hands entrenched into one another while those who are unfamiliar with the group smile and nod at the friends that brought them.
Garcia, guitarist Nicolas Junca and Santiago Prieto Sarabia, who plays guitar, violin and charango, are the group’s primary members. They create a peculiar blend of swing, jazz, alternative and classic Latin rhythms. It would be easy to label their sound as indefinable.
The group met in 2007 while attending college in Bogota. Junca and Sarabia told Garcia about instrumental music that they enjoyed playing so she casually accompanied them.
This was not the band’s first time in New York City. They played in the same location on January 18th and also gave the public a free preview on July 17th as a part of a Summerstage concert in Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield that featured several bands and artists.
Fans at Sounds of Brazil were riveted by the performances of songs like “Llore” (I cried), “Incendio” (Fire), “Suin Romanticon” (Romantic Swing) and “La Muerte” (Death). At one point, the band members stepped down, joined the fans in the crowd, and danced along with them. Garcia danced with me and I briefly forgot that I had to write an article about the show; or maybe I just didn’t care? I can’t remember as I was a bit busy getting lost in the rhythmic and energetic atmosphere created by my crush.
Where was I? Oh yes, a formal music review.
At another point in the concert, while performing “Nada Puro Hay” (There Is Nothing Pure), Garcia shed visible tears while hitting a high note. The emotion and passion that she demonstrated was incredible; she is then able to
wipe away her tears and channel her comedic talent by joking with the audience, right before she collected herself to finish the song with the knockout punch of a high pitch.
Heavily influenced by the legendary French guitarist and jazz musician, Django Reindhart, Junca and Sarabia began to imitate his musical style by watching his movies; they now incorporate what they learned from Reindhart into their unconventional sound.
In an interview with Billboard, Garcia said that as a student of anthropology, “I never thought I’d become a musician.”
Fast-forward to Colombia’s Independence Day 2016, and Garcia is passionately singing one of the group’s most popular songs, “Mi Libertad” or “My Freedom,” which focuses on the theme of taking pride in one’s freedom to showcase it to the world.
The sentiment that she puts into her music is palpable as she sings, “Y mi voz hambrienta no tiene miedo de cantar por siempre mi libertad” (And my hungry voice has no fear of singing forever my freedom). On Colombia’s Independence Day at SOBs, Colombians, Ecuadorians, Salvadorians, Mexicans, Dominicans, Americans and all other Latinos sang along with her.