On Tuesday, September 4 at Largo at the Coronet, attendees were taken on a journey to a time when musical performances – good musical performances – didn’t require extravagant lights or loud wardrobe. Gaby Moreno only needed her voice and guitar to bring the audience to its knees.
And that’s largely due to the fact that when she sings, people listen. They stop to admire her vocal range, which drifts from a Norah Jones bluesy pop to a raspy Janis Joplin; she also manages to embrace the musical romance of bolero music, such as Olga Guillot once did.
People stop to listen to the singer-songwriter’s music also because her lyrics tell human stories. They share her experiences as an immigrant that arrives to the U.S. in search for a better life (“Ave Que Emigra”) and they hey tell the tale of old, evil spirits that creep into women’s windows to whisper sweet nothings into their ears, only to drive them mad (“El Sombreron”).
And on this special night where the Guatemalan-born musician presented Postales
, her first album entirely in Spanish, she introduced each song with those personal back-stories that make the songs her own biography. When she presented “Blues Del Mar”, Moreno expressed her admiration for Ricardo Arjona, one of the most successful Latin American artists of all time, and thanked him for adding lyrics to her music. She also shared an intimate poem that was written by her grandfather to her grandmother, which Moreno cultivated into a song by adding music. With “Amapola” the singer shared how her grandmother sang the folk song to her and is the artist’s first recollection of singing.
She presented the album in its entirety along with songs from her previous work Illustrated Songs
, including “Mess a Good Thing” and “Ave Que Emigra”, this last was released in Postales
Moreno was joined with a full stage of musicians including string and horn sections and backup singers, as well as with Van Dyke Parks (Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys) on piano for the first set of the performance. She ended the night just as she begins any new writing session: with just her and her guitar.
To the music community in general, her music is an air of freshness; young, untainted talent that – regardless of being recognized on an international level, being asked to tour with Ricardo Arjona by Arjona himself, and placing in “Best Of” lists alongside Ricky Martin, Pitbull, Calle 13, and others, – is still as pure and wholehearted as music was intended to be.
*photo credit: Marvin Vasquez