Friday, December 30, 2005
Last night I went to Joe's Pub in the Village to see "The Latin American Songbook", a one-hour show by Rubén Flores. I wasn't familiar with Rubén Flores, but the description of the show – a journey of poetry, music and passion – sounded perfect for me.
And it was.
Rubén Flores is a very attractive young Mexican actor, he sings beautifully, he's charming and personable, and he picked a wonderful variety of songs, a mix of old and new, popular and traditional, from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Spain, Perú, Cuba, Argentina, Chile, Brazil...... but he's also much, much more than just a talented cabaret act. He's a young man who is thinking about his dream, working to achieve that dream, and at the same time trying to process what it means to try to achieve that dream.
Each song reflected a step in the journey, as he wove the lyrics together with stories of his life and his desire to come to the United States to make his mark here. He talked about how lonely and anonymous it can be. One line I loved was when he said, "Sometimes I feel so unloveable, even my dreams want to break up with me." And he talked about his struggle to be true to himself as an artist.
After his opening song, Déjame Soñar, he spoke about the word soñar in Spanish – how in Spanish you dream with someone, not about someone .... so essentially, in Spanish, as you are dreaming about someone, that someone is also dreaming about you. You are dreaming together. How true .... and just one of the many, many reasons I love the Spanish language so much. So many things are inherent in Spanish that just can't be expressed in English. I know that's exactly what keeps bringing me back to the concept of The Bilingual Soul, how we have different personalities and even different souls when we move from one language to another.
I gather that this show is a once-a-year event, but I'd love to see it happen on a much more regular basis (and for longer than one hour!). In the meantime, you can check out www.rubenfloresonline.com to keep up with this very thoughtful and very talented young artist.