CALA Alliance Presents
Crossfade LAB Presents: Daniel Alarcón and Javiera Mena
Moderated by Josh Kun
Mon, April 15, 2019
Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:00 pmCrescent Ballroom
This event is 21 and over
Please note: This event is not a concert
The seventh edition of Crossfade LAB will stage an intimate dialogue between beloved Chilean musician and recording artist Javiera Mena and acclaimed Peruvian-American novelist and Radio Ambulante founder Daniel Alarcón. Moderated by CALA Crossfade Lab co-curator and MacArthur Fellow Josh Kun, our evening will move across the U.S. and Latin America, mixing fiction with reporting, songs with stories, and podcasting with synth pop.
Mena began performing live at the age of 17, her first concert occurring in a classroom of Juan Gómez Millas Campus at the University of Chile. In 2002, she began to study musical composition and musical arrangement at the music academy ProJazz, while also performing at underground parties and clubs. In 2003 she recorded various demos which leaked to the internet shortly thereafter and spread by her friends. In 2004, she performed outside Chile for the first time, opening for Argentinean electropop band Entre Ríos in Buenos Aires.
Between 2003 and 2006 she was also part of the Electropop duet Prissa (formerly Tele Visa), along with her friend Francisca Villela. The group released an EP entitled Ni Tú Ni Yo.
Javiera's first song officially published was “Sol de Invierno", which was included in the 2005 compilation album Panorama Neutral. Another song, “Cámara Lenta”, shortly after was included in the soundtrack of Alberto Fuguet’s movie Se arrienda. Her debut album, Esquemas Juveniles, was recorded between 2004 and 2005 and it was produced by Cristian Heyne. The album was first released in 2006 in Argentina by an indie label owned by Entre Ríos, and was released in Chile and Japan through local indie labels. Her music began to achieve attention worldwide mainly because of the internet, especially sites such as MySpace. The album was later named the second best album of the 2000s by Latin music website Club Fonograma, while its opening track "Al Siguiente Nivel" was named the best song of the decade.
In 2009, Mena performed in Europe for the first time, as being invited by Norwegian duo Kings of Convenience to be their opening act in their concerts held in Spain and Portugal.
After four years of production and mastering, Mena's second studio album, entitled Mena, was released in late 2010. This album was again produced by Cristian Heyne, and took a more dancefloor-oriented style compared to her first work, which was more of a balance between dance with mid-tempo and slow ballads. The album’s first single, “Hasta la Verdad”, was listed as one of the "Singles of the Week" in the American version of the iTunes Store, and iTunes Mexico named Mena as the breakthrough album of the year. Club Fonograma gave Mena its first, and to date only, perfect 100 rating, and later named it their 2010 album of the year.
In April 2011, Mena performed live in the Chilean version of Lollapalooza. In May, she toured in Spain and performed live as one of the foreign acts of the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona. She was praised for her performance and got the attention of the Spanish local press.
In 2012, Mena was featured in El Guincho's single Novias.
In March 2013, Mena along with fellow countryman artist Gepe collaborated with Mexican singer-songwriter Julieta Venegas for a song entitled "Vuelve".
In October 2014, Javiera Mena released her expected third album, Otra Era. The album marks the search of the artist for a heavy 80's 'disco' sound, with a wider use of synthesizers and more danceable beats than her previous work. Also, this stage reflects a bigger interest in the visual aspects of her career regarding music videos and live shows. The first single released was the song 'Espada' ('Sword'), released in 2013, whose video (and lyrics) became widely popular due to its references to LGBT community. The video was directed by Luis Cerveró (part of the remarkable visual collective CANADA) and has more than 2 million views on YouTube.
On the cover of the album 'Otra Era', Javiera appears in a black and white picture, wearing sunglasses by designer André Caurregès (an item which later became an icon of Javiera) and showing full breasts. The cover was censored by the media and music and streaming services like iTunes and Spotify.
On the year 2015, she toured in 'Otra Era Tour', taking its shows to Spain, Mexico, Perú, and Chile.
In the year 2016, Javiera was invited to participate as a jury in the most popular music festival in Chile, The Viña Del Mar International Song Festival. She was also invited to play a show at the festival, which was broadcast on national TV and satellite international signal on A&E. Javiera arranged to make a very attractive and spectacular show for the night, including very colorful visuals, fancy garments and a set of numerous female dancers. The show was a gateway for a lot of people in the country (and in Latin America) who didn't know the work of Javiera, and the end of the show she said "I'm very happy to be here. It's very difficult to be an independent artist in Chile, and besides the numbers and sales, I make music because it comes from my soul, from my heart."
The year 2016 marks 10 years of career of Javiera Mena (since the release of 'Esquemas Juveniles') which she will be celebrating in a commemoration show in Santiago on September of the same year.
Information from Wikipedia.
Professor Kun is a cultural historian exploring the ways in which the arts and popular culture are conduits for cross-cultural exchange. In work that spans academic scholarship, exhibitions, and performances, Kun unearths and brings to life forgotten historical narratives through finely grained analyses of material and sonic manifestations of popular culture. He complicates our understanding of the evolution of racial and ethnic identity in America in works such as Audiotopia (2006), a comprehensive comparative study of African American, Jewish American, Mexican American, and Mexican popular music, and the co-authored And You Shall Know Us by the Trail of Our Vinyl (2008), a close reading of over 400 Jewish music album covers.
More recently, Kun has turned his attention to the diverse and vibrant culture of Los Angeles, with an emphasis on bringing present-day communities together around historical intersections of cultural expression. To Live and Dine in LA: Menus and the Making of the Modern City (2015) uses taste—and political, economic, and sociological undertones of eating—as points of entry into urban history. An accompanying exhibition and a series of public events in Los Angeles introduced local and national audiences to a fascinating yet easily overlooked aspect of the city’s past. Kun created a similar multiplatform presentation of the Los Angeles Public Library’s collection of Southern California sheet music from the 1840s to the 1950s. Including a book, Songs in the Key of Los Angeles (2013), new recordings, and an exhibition, the project culminated in a free public concert that brought together diverse communities to hear Stevie Wonder, Jackson Browne, and other performers share their music in a spirit of unity and inclusiveness.
In these and many other projects, including cultural studies of the U.S.-Mexico border, Kun is showing how communities that may have historically been seen as separate actually have much in common. At the same time, his dedication to identifying new ways to make the histories of cultural production tangible for the public is demonstrating the power of public humanities at its best.
Josh Kun received a B.A. (1993) from Duke University and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley (1999). In addition to being a frequent contributor to newspapers, journals, and radio, he is the co-editor of Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies (2012) and Tijuana Dreaming: Life and Art at the Global Border (2012). Kun has curated exhibitions and installations at such venues as the Getty Foundation, the Museum of Latin American Art, the Skirball Center, and the Grammy Museum, among others, and in 2005, he co-founded the Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation, through which he has co-produced albums and organized several concerts of Jewish American music. He is currently a professor of communication in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and director of the Popular Music Project in the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California.