Since I’ve been in Latin America I have immersed myself into the local music. If you look at my playlists you’ll find artists from all over South and Central America in the genres of merengue, bachata, and of course tons of salsa music. I’ve seen that learning to love the local music is a surefire way to experience and enjoy a community in every town and city in the world. Music is a main outlet for the values and expressions of a culture, and as many have said, “Listen to what the music is about, and it will show you what a culture appreciates.”
You may be thinking of some of the more negative examples from the dominant channels of music in our culture which showcase people who look like celebrities but carry none of the talent. Their music is formulaic, the lyrics are empty and derogatory, and all of it is manufactured for consumption. Here’s is just one of many articles that speak of this new business. The Song Machine – “The hitmakers behind Rihanna.”
Essentially, the artist never has to dip into personal memories, be they mountain or valley experiences, they just show up to learn the melody and sing it good enough so someone can auto-tune it to the studio producers’ liking. The concert experience, then, is just going to hear the digitally perfected album played over loud stadium speakers with thousands of shouting voices that drown out the song. Now, I admit, I will go to just about any concert, so this element doesn’t destroy it for me, but what bothers me is that the principle that music is an expression of a culture is now so absent in the performance of the music. Is that what we value?
Enter one of the great salsa voices of our time, Marc Anthony, the top selling tropical salsa artist of all time, who like many salsa singers, sings with a complete band. Marc sings live accompanied by an orchestra of talented professionals. Real people, playing real instruments, in real-time. You have to see it and hear it to believe it, but yes, there are still performers who do it the old fashioned way. They make real music live.
It had been a dream of mine to see Marc Anthony live since I set foot in Latin America over four years ago. He has one of the truest, purest voices that I rank up there with Michael Buble, and Josh Groban. You have to hear it live to take it in. His voice is the story of pain and joy, of happiness and despair, and this past night it was pure celebration.
And then there was the orchestra, comprised of the best instrumental talent of men and women that we have today. Trumpets, trombones, saxophones, guitar, bass, piano, full drum set and Latin bongos. The orchestra alone was worth the price of admission, but together it was one of the greatest concerts I’ve ever been to and I got to share it with my girlfriend and thousands of other Marc Anthony fans.
Here’s what it was like, but you’ll have to multiply it by two or three times to get the real effect:
I know you’ve heard his most recent hit: