Patrick O’Heffernan, Guadalajara, Mexico
Day 1 at FIMPRO, the Latin American Music Convention in Guadalajara (now being called FIMgdl) started off low-key with fewer than 600 people, but ramped up as the day moved on and the music began. The morning was dominated by presentations by Spotify, which had a large contingent at the conference, andT uneCore and experts n the Mexican music industry. Mexico is a big market for Spotify – which was the topic of one of the panels. Other presentations were a workshop by Tunecorp and an analysis of the 100,000 songs released every day o musical platforms. A very interesting workshop on how to deal with volume talked about how to t organize a “story” for youself and your music online PR/playlists/mech/tours so you develop a consistent brand. Spotify also headed up a panel discussion on the link between concert sales and streaming numbers – strong, but needs to be monitored.
The real fun began in the afternoon with two bands from Columbia, Espiral 7 and Hendrix B – both very high energy and both very good. Being Latin bands, there were a lot of people and instruments on the stage, including a marimba in the Hendrix B band. I will post video next week because for some reason I cannot access my YouTube channel on the wifi system here at the University of Guadalajara Conjunto Santandar complex.
The evening showcases were even more high energy: they opened with La Fina (Yamas Mjias Hernández,) the producer and star of the only female rap project in Cuba, Somos Mucho Mas. Dancing in a tight, bright yellow skinsuit, she delivered world class rap and a message of women’s rights, setting up for today’s panel on the rising power of women in music in Latin America. After an instrument change, Nube Roja (Red Cloud), a Cuban band that brought slide trombone and saxophone into the Cuban rock dance mix, blending male and female vocals for a set that had the audience bouncing in the lush theater seats.
Crowning the evening was Jacobo Vélez and La Mamba Negra from Cali, Columbia. The lead singer, Vélez, mixed New York Salsa of the 70’s with today’s pop music from Columbia and Cuba with Jamaican funk and fast-paced Afro-Cuban beats in a wild act that had him jumping off the stage, standing on the seats and running around the auditorium. The audience was on its feet through the entire act and I had to duck out of the way a few times when he left over me in the front row.
The evening wrapped up with an award ceremony for Pati Ruiz Corzo, a Mexican environmental and human rights activist who used music to rally people. She grew up in the City of Querétaro and was the first violin of the Chamber Orchestra there then moved to the US to teach music at the John F. Kennedy School. She moved back to Mexico and founded the Sierra Gorda Ecological Group (GESG) with her husband in the scenic and environmentally important mountains. After 10 years of intense work her group was able to get the Sierra Gorda designated a Biosphere Reserve by Mexico. Her career was constantly marked by using music as a teaching and rallying tool.
And of course, after the music, and awards we had the traditional late Mexican dinner (11 pm) and lots of free beer and tequila.
Banner” Jacob Velez at FIRMPRO.
All Photos: Patrick O’Heffernan
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