The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Beyond the Sea and Puerto Rico

Originally published Oct. 21st, 2009

The crowd quiets in anticipation of the long waited performer. As she enters the room and takes the stage, all eyes fall on her. She takes her guitar from its hard leather case, pulls it to her chest, and brings it to life. As her fingers begin to pluck each string the audience inches forward in their seats to get closer to the soothing melody.

City College was recently honored to have one of America ’s great musical performers sing Oct. 13 for students and faculty. Lourdes Perez was awarded the 2006 United States Artists Fellow, from United States Artists, which recognizes the “finest living artists in the country.”
Loudes Perez came to City College at the request of International Studies Director Riad Bahhur, Perez’s good friend.

“She always gives me hope,” says Bahhur. “She challenges me to work on my poetic skills.” Bahhur has recently helped Perez transcribe one of her songs into Arabic, thus giving him the chance to work on his poetic skills for her song.

Her Spanish-style guitar playing harmonizes with her voice giving the audience the chance to hear music and lyrics as one. Perez’s style doesn’t stay in just a Spanish acoustic setting; she ventures in folk and contemporary styles showing her love for all music.

Some songs are written about significant events in her childhood.

“Growing up in Puerto Rico I got to experience some big changes to our country, one was about the sugar cane,” says Perez. “My mother and I would grind sugar cane together, and we would sit and sing together, this is where this song comes from.”

Puerto Rico plays a huge roll in Perez’s life showing her the hardships that people have, giving her a chance to give the liberal fighter a voice. Perez finds herself writing songs for these freedom fighters, giving them hope, helping them to fight another day.
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“The issue of Puerto Rico, is that sovereignty is a necessity, and there has been a history of resistance by the Puerto Rican people, who believe that they should be the ones deciding what is the status that is going to be them.” says Perez. “There are musicians in our country that have been really influential in terms of style and writing, in imagery that what I look for.”

During the performance Perez took time between each song to open up to the audience, and discuss where her inspiration came from for each of her songs. Also giving a personal touch to the audience, Perez dedicated her final song to the audience stating that without each other this event wouldn’t have been possible.

After the show Perez met her audience, and gave advice to City Colleges students about their music. She says that the most important thing is to not give up on what you love, and to keep practicing.

City College students were thankful for the experience, to see an established musician from Puerto Rico. Perez is now making her way to Alaska where she will continue to play music and sing about experiences.

Pérez closed her concert with this song dedicated to Argentinian singer Mercedes Sosa, who died on Oct. 4. Pérez had worked and performed with Sosa numerous times throughout her career.

Video produced and edited by Cecilio Padilla, with footage by Padilla and Ian McDonald, and reporting by Matt Laguardia.

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