Latin Grammy-winner Gaby Moreno performs with her trio in free family performances with ¡Viva el Arte de Santa Bárbara! Hear them at Isla Vista School, Friday, March 9, 7 pm; then at Guadalupe City Hall, Saturday, March 10, 7 pm; and at the Marjorie Luke Theatre, Santa Barbara Jr. High, Sunday, March 11, 7 pm.
Born and raised in Guatemala, Gaby Moreno grew up inspired by artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, and Aretha Franklin. She immersed herself in blues, R&B and 60’s Soul and learned to speak English by singing the songs she loved. She moved to Los Angeles after high school to pursue a career in music.
Gaby Moreno describes her music as, “Spanish folk-soul,” and the original blend of Jazz, Blues and 1960s Rock & Soul has earned her the respect and appreciation of audiences in Latin America, Europe and U.S. In 2013, she received a Latin Grammy for Best New Artist. Previously in 2006, she won the Grand Prize at the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Moreno co-wrote the theme song for NBC’s hit television show Parks and Recreation and recorded the theme song for Disney’s Elena of Avalor series. In 2012 Gaby recorded Fuiste Tu with the legendary Guatemalen singer-songwriter Ricardo Arjona.
Gaby Moreno has toured across the globe alongside artists like Tracy Chapman, Ani DiFranco, Ricardo Arjona, Van Dyke Parks, The Punch Brothers and Calexico. Most recently she performed at David Byrne’s Meltdown Festival in London and Washington DC’s Kennedy Center, and has been part of the Celebrating David Bowie world tour in Tokyo, Sydney, Los Angeles and London. Gaby often performs on NPR’s Live From Here, and on his recent visit to Santa Barbara host Chris Thile praised her as “one of my favorite duet partners.”
Gaby Moreno’s music celebrates Latin American traditional styles, but she has a strong affinity for American blues. Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Gaby relayed her experience as a 13-year-old visiting New York for the first time, “…I hear this woman singing in the streets and she is singing this song that completely enraptured me. I listened for about 20 minutes and I said, ‘What’s that song that you’re singing? What’s that style?’ She said, ‘That’s the blues, honey.’”
Gaby is currently touring in support of her new record Ilusión (released September 9, 2016). NPR’s Felix Contreras calls it, “a high water mark in a musical career that’s never been predictable.” The song Fronteras, from the album touches on immigration in a very joyous and determined way. Gaby explains in the Los Angeles Times, ’… I wanted to speak to all of the Latin American immigrants who are hard-working people who come to this country to follow their dreams and deserve to be here. I wanted to highlight those wonderful qualities. So the song ends with me saying that the immigrants are here to stay. We are going to make this a better place to live and we will help build this county – which has been happening with immigrants for many centuries.”
¡Viva el Arte de Santa Bárbara! is sponsored by SAGE Publications, The Roddick Foundation, Monica and Tim Babich, Anonymous, Montecito Bank & Trust, National Endowment for the Arts, UCSB Office of Education Partnerships, The Stone Family Foundation, Linda Stafford Burrows, Marianne Marsi and Lewis Manring, and the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission Community Arts Grant Program, with funds provided by the City of Santa Barbara, in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture. Additional support comes from The Marjorie Luke Theatre’s Dreier Family Rent Subsidy Fund. The program is supported in part by the Santa Barbara Independent, the Santa Maria SUN, El Latino CC, Radio Bronco, Entravision/Univision Costa Central, the Hilton Garden Inn Santa Barbara/Goleta, The Kimpton Goodland Hotel, Pacifica Suites and the Best Western South Coast Inn, and Santa Barbara Unified School District. Viva is co-presented by The Marjorie Luke Theatre, the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center and UCSB Arts and Lectures, in partnership with the Isla Vista School After School Grant.