Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Connecting people through music

Perla Batalla defines cultural heritage through song

Express Staff Writer

Grammy- nominated Perla Batalla will perform at the Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood in Ketchhcum. Courtesy photo

Celebrated and accomplished vocalist, composer and arranger Perla Batalla will take center stage at the Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood in Ketchum on at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, at 7:30 p.m. to present her special blend of "Mestiza" music.

The Grammy- nominated Batalla is a hard-working performing and uniquely creative performing artist who loves to make people laugh and inspire audiences with her music and stories. Batalla sings in both Spanish and English because she believes people have a soul connection to music regardless of language.

"You don't' know you are learning things, and I am so inspired from where I came from and to have the Spanish language in my life because it is so beautiful and expressive," Batalla said. "The words themselves are beautiful and attaching it to a story and how a particular song came to me and my family and how it is handed down from generation to generation is wonderful."

Batalla is very intent on making sure all her shows are original and . She never plays the same show twice because she wants her performances to be inspired by the place or community in which she is performing.

"My band members are my best friends and I drive them nuts because I will walk into a place, and I have to feel it out and walk around, meet people and then decide upon what I am going to do," Batalla said. "I give a lot a credit to a community that would book someone like me."

Having been one of Leonard Cohen's back- up singers for many years, Batalla plans to sing some Cohen songs and continues to work with him in movies and other projects. In addition, Batalla will include some songs inspired from a recent trip to Argentina to see her mother's family whom she never met because Battalla was born in Los Angeles.

Battalla released her first self-titled solo album "Perla Batalla" in 1994, followed by "Mestiza" in 1998, which brought her great acclaim on public radio and was selected as Best Independent Release of the Year by In 2000, "Heave and Earth" was released and dubbed her Amazon's Emerging Artist of the Year.

The CD "Dicoteca Batalla," is named for Batalla's parents' record store, one of the biggest influences and inspirations in her life. Her latest work, "What I Did On My Summer Vacation," was inspired by her trip to Argentina, and is an anthology. It includes original works with traditional Spanish-language classic songs, which Batalla arranged to express both her personal and musical heritage.

Tickets are $20 for Sun Valley Center for the Arts members, $25 for non-members and $5 for children under 12. Tickets can be purchased online at or call 726-9491.

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