FIMPRO, the annual Latin music convention held at the University of Guadalajara’s Cunjuto Santander center at the universities music school,  kicked off is “hybrid” conference Wednesday with online workshops and panels, in-person get togethers for music journalists. 

Attendance numbers are not available yet, but the Santander Auditorium where the showcases and the Opening ceremonies took place was a little over half full,  with the empty seats occupied by signs advising social distance, so my guess is that there were less than 500 people in live attendance , with another thousand or so on line for the virtual events. When we get numbers we will report them.

The day started off with virtual panels. The Mexican  women’s’ organization Now Girls Rule!  Joined with Spotify and FIMPRO to conduct a virtual panel, “Mexican Women at Full Blast”,  discussing the  roadblocks for women in the Latin music industry and how to avoid them.  That was followed by another virtual panel on “Music and Artificial Intelligence” which looked at the movement of AI into playlists and other aspects of the music industry from a Mexican Perspective.

Later, Bruno Axel was interviewed virtually  on his take on the Latin music industry.  Originally from Spain, Axel is a leading experimentalist in Latin music creating such works as Mi Cinema Orchestra, drawing from his training at Conservatorio Superior de Sevilla and the Blackheath  Conservatory in London.  His interviewer Miguel Solis took us through his thoughts on where music is going and how today’s artists can incorporate radical ideas into their music.

During the rest of the day, virtual speed meetings took place between artists and record executives, producers, other artists, and a in person gathering of music journalists, which was mostly in Spanish (of course! ).

The final event of the first day was the “inauguration” or opening ceremony featuring speeches by the men who organized and direct the conference.  That was followed by the opening showcase featuring York, a duo of two sisters from Chile  who delivered their haunting, eerie songs using a flute, guitar, vocals and a cajon that have allowed them to build an audience in the US and Latin America.

The highlight of the night was the showcase by Nancy Sanchez who kicked up the energy level up several orders of magnitude with just her and her guitar bringing us songs from her albums, including her most recent album La Gran Civilización.  Then she stepped back to reveal a Lukos O. and his Guadalajara band Los Charros Semifinalamentes  including a mariachi trumpet player .

She and the band delivered her hugely popular Puerto  del Sol followed by the new single released by Nancy and Lukas O, Cenzontle..  A great ending to the day’s program, as people poured out of the Conjunto Santander auditorium and into the lobby to greet the bands, taste tequila from one of the Sponsors, Casa San Materias, or snag bottles of beer from strolling waiters.

About Patrick O'Heffernan

Patrick O’Heffernan is co-host of the LA-based, nationally syndicated weekly program, Music FridayLive! and is a music reviewer for online magazines Vents, The Hollywood Progressive and MusicJunkie. He has also co-hosted a national political talk show, The Fairness Doctrine, and hosted the “Uplinks” media segment on Saturday All Things Considered on NPR. He holds a PhD in International Relations from MIT, has been awarded an Emmy, four Addy’s, and a Webby-Honors, among other awards. He has published 5 books and ghost-written others. A project he co-launched, the North Asia Nuclear Free Zone, was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. He serves on the Board of Netroots Nation.

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