Entertainment As A “righteous Act”
Newsweek Europe|October 25, 2019
Entertainment As A “righteous Act”
The new collection of songs by singer Gaby Moreno and arranger Van Dyke Parks is a tour of retro Latin music and a protest album
Peter Carbonara

¡SPANGLED!, PUT OUT BY NONESUCH RECORDS , is a collaboration between Guatemalan born singer/guitarist Gaby Moreno and composer/ arranger Van Dyke Parks that has been ten years in the making. But the CD, part a nostalgic tour through several different styles of retro Latin American pop and part lushly orchestrated protest music, sounds perfectly timed to the remarkably ugly and xenophobic political moment America has been living through the past few years.

Moreno, 38, says, “Our plan was to celebrate the diversity that we have in the Americas—so many different cultures, so many different kinds of music. It’s so beautiful and I feel it’s my duty to celebrate that particularly here in the U.S., especially the contribution of immigrants.” Parks calls it “a comfort zone, an escape clause for people who are tired of the present tense.”

Now Los Angeles based, Moreno, came to the U.S. 20 years ago and began attracting attention first as on opening act for singer Tracy Chapman and also through collaborations with actor/musician Hugh Laurie, Arizona-based indie band Calexico, longtime David Bowie keyboardist Mike Garson as well as appearances on NPR’s Live from Here. Along the way, she’s been writing and recording her own songs and performing constantly—in three languages (English, Spanish and Portugese). She also co-composed the theme music for NBC’s long-running sitcom Parks and Rec.

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October 25, 2019