March For Our Lives
Saturday, March 24, 2018
Amanda, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sophomore, addressing the crowd.
March For Our Lives
Saturday, March 24, 2018
Venezuelan singer-songwriter Ricardo Montaner visited Hard Rock Live Orlando last Friday, March 9, 2018, as part of his Ida y Vuelta tour.
In front of a completely sold-out crowd, the Argentina-born superstar didn't waste time performing all of the fan favorites, along with a few new tunes. His daughter Evaluna also joined him on stage in a very special moment, to perform La Gloria de Dios.
35 years after releasing his first album, his voice and artistry are still intact. Few have the ability to make the public sigh in unison with just a few notes of a ballad, dance, laugh with his unique storytelling and sense of humor, or make two strangers embrace and kiss each other while he serenades them.
Perfect night with perfect voices. Montaner is in a league of his own.
Puerto Rican singer-songwriter Kany García performed last Saturday, February 18, 2018, at Hard Rock Live Orlando.
The performance was one of the last stops of the Mil Ciudades Tour, along with Colombian singer Andrés Cepeda.
Colombian singer-songwriter Andrés Cepeda performed last Saturday, February 18, 2018, at Hard Rock Live Orlando.
The performance was one of the last stops of the Mil Ciudades Tour, along with Puerto Rican singer Kany García.
Peruvian singer-songwriter Gianmarco Zignago performed last Tuesday, November 7, at the Symphony Space in New York City, as part of his current Acoustic Tour.
Accompanied by just a small ensemble (Omar Rojas on bass, and Pedro Luis Pacora on piano) Gianmarco didn't need much more than his voice and effects pedals to completely fill up the space with his songs.
As an added bonus to the New York crowd, his daughter Nicole joined him on stage with one of her original songs, and performing as a duet a perfect rendition of Vida de mi Vida. It was the first time in her incipient career that she was presenting an original piece, and New York welcomed her with an honest and emotional standing ovation.
Gianmarco went back to basics that night, but not with the intention of making it easier or simpler. He's revisiting the fundamental, essential foundation of his starting point. There's no better way than that for true art to thrive.
House of Blues Orlando welcomed Puerto Rican rock band Fiel a la Vega last Saturday, April 15, when they performed to a nearly sold-out crowd.
The stop was a continuation of their retrospective presentations that began on the Island late last year, marking the twentieth anniversary of their formation as a group and their eponymous debut album.
It would be far easier to make a list of the songs they didn't play, including the expected acoustic set of covers that is already ingrained in people's minds.
Fiel a la Vega is: Tito Auger (vocals, guitar), Ricky Laureano (vocals, lead guitar), Jorge Arraiza (bass, backing vocals), and Pedro Arraiza (drums, backing vocals). They were also accompanied by Francisco González on keyboards.
The local Puerto Rican diaspora is always eager to absorb and react enthusiastically to anything that brings them closer to the Island. Auger promised the crowd that they would be received and welcomed back home with open arms, at any moment, independently from any circumstance that drove them away in the first place. After singing his heart out and giving their all on stage, the feeling was definitely mutual.
In a show more than three hours long, Fiel a la Vega's message was loud and clear. A message delivered with the same energy as when they started more than twenty years ago. A message of social and political awareness. A message of national pride and love for the country. A message about the direness of its current situation. A message of hope for what's next.
That's where we come from.
Y eso no es de donde quiera.
Special thanks to Eleven 11 Communications for the opportunity to photograph during this show.
Considered one of the leaders of the freak folk movement, Venezuelan American singer-songwriter Devendra Banhart performed last Friday, February 24, at The Beacham in Downtown Orlando.
Below are selected images from the show.
Dweezil Zappa brought his show to The Plaza Live in Orlando last Saturday, as part of his 50 Years of Frank tour. Last year marked the 50th anniversary of Freak Out!, Frank Zappa's first album with his band The Mothers of Invention. The show (and tour) is Dweezil's way to pay tribute to this album and to the prolific career of his late father, who released more than 60 albums in over 30 years.
The current lineup of Dweezil's band include: Ryan Brown on drums, Kurt Morgan on bass, Chris Norton on keyboards, David Luther on vocals, sax, keyboards and guitar, multi-instrumentalist Scheila Gonzalez, and Cian Coey on lead vocals. (It's also fair to include Dweezil's Gibson Roxy SG as an obligatory member of the band.)
It's definitely a daunting task trying to condense more than fifty years of music history in one night. Montana, Apostrophe, Black Napkins, The Illinois Enema Bandit, and Muffin Man were just a handful of what Dweezil and company had in store for the night. The encore included Michael Winslow (of Police Academy fame) channeling his inner Hendrix on stage, while the band played Cosmik Debris. It was a perfect night for all the hardcore Zappa fans in the audience. The sound was impeccable, and the trip down memory lane was unforgettable.
In recent years Dweezil's career has been immersed in legal drama, after the Zappa Family Trust has been trying to prevent him from using his own family name to perform and preserve the music of his father.
The full name of the tour is 50 Years of Frank: Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever The F@%k He Wants. And he should. He must. In a way, it's a good thing that constraints can make us more creative. Hopefully all the absurdity can be worked out soon, so he can continue to freely maintain the legacy of the Zappa legend.
Amanda Palmer performed to a virtually sold-out crowd at Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale last Sunday. Not a solo performance; more like a reunion of good, old friends. "A Night with Amanda Palmer, Jason Webley, and Jherek Bischoff." And a local string quartet. All on the same stage.
A piano-less Amanda, by her own admission, condensed the usual 88 keys in the fours strings of her ukulele. After a warm welcome with In My Mind, the rest of the night was a full collaboration along with Jherek's compositions and string arrangements, and Webley's high-energy fusion with his guitar and accordion.
It's an understatement to say that people usually expect the unexpected every time Amanda hits the stage, and last night was not an exception. But every performance is (should be) a two-way street. Nothing can be unpredictable without the support of her loyal fans and followers. Only in a night like last night, for example, a viola player can break one of her strings and a new one can magically appear. In seconds. From the crowd. She's definitely elevated the art of asking to a whole new level.
Amanda planned the show in Fort Lauderdale just because it was right in the middle of the way between west Florida, where she was, and Key West, where she's performing on December 13. But incidentally, Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale is the same venue where in 2009 she penned a song for her record label, asking to [please] drop her from her contract.
It can be said that the rest is history. This special night last Sunday was, again, in the room where it happened.
More about Amanda Palmer:
More about Jherek Bischoff:
More about Jason Webley:
Ten years ago I was not a good photographer.
I'm still working on that. A few hours before writing this, I took a picture of my coffee with my phone. I want to believe that the thought process before pressing the shutter was enough to make me a better photographer than yesterday.
But the ubiquity of the smartphone is a recent phenomenon. Ten years ago there were no iPhones. I didn't even fully understand my somewhat new digital camera. ("Could center-weighted average metering be the right choice for this shot?" ... Exactly.)
Suddenly I find myself on vacation in Spain. It was not my first time in Europe, but it was the first time I remember consciously deciding to photograph people. That can be a terrifying experience for some.
–"Excuse me, can I take your picture?"
You have to project yourself with security. You fear being rejected. What if there's no connection with the other person? If you think about it... Damn it, it's a micro blind date!
During a crazy night in Sevilla (Holy Week in Sevilla can only be described as crazy, in the best sense of the word) I had the chance to visit a flamenco tablao in the heart of the city. For a while, I was that guy, looking at the show through the viewfinder of my camera, worrying about center-weighted average metering.
A glass of wine later (that's a few minutes for you mortals) I decided to turn it off and just enjoy the show. The music, the dance, the movement, the passion... There was no way to capture any of that in a still image. Why bother?
There I was, absorbing everything, while transfixed on one of the main dancers. I had to take a picture of her, but... How? Her dress, her shoes, her hands, her face? I turned the camera back on and started following her for a while. (If you do it in front of everybody is not considered stalking, right?)
What would make a good image? [stomp, stomp...] There's too much going on. [stomp...] I would love to capture her hands, but if I could just have them on the front, maybe even covering part of her [stomp...] face...
The second after I released the shutter I knew I had the shot. I didn't even looked at the back of the camera. I had it. I didn't took a picture. I waited for what I really wanted. Probably for the first time, I made an image.
To this day it's one of my favorite photographs. It's on my wall. It's on other people's walls. Simple as it is, what it meant for me in that moment was very special. I was very proud of my "flamenco hands".
It wasn't until recently that I gave myself the task of finding out more about those flamenco hands. Where do I start? I don't even know her name. Can she still be in that place? What was the name of that place again? (10 years is a long time for someone with an undiagnosed case of crippling absent-mindedness.)
Well. Her name is Rocío Palacios. She's currently a dance and flamenco teacher in Sevilla, and still one of the main bailaoras at El Palacio Andaluz. And today the venue has a copy of the image.
(Thank you, Google.)
I still struggle approaching strangers for unsolicited photos. But more than ten years ago I "took pictures." Today I try to "make images." That's an important difference. And it started with those hands.
(Thank you, Rocío.)
Happy World Photo Day.