The National Museum of Mexican Art will hold its first-ever music festival with the help of Mexican artists from across the country. It’s called Sonido Dieciocho or Sonido 18 Fest, and the “Sounds of 18th Street” theme pays homage to its location.
“For a lot of Mexicans and Latinos on the south side, it wasn’t called Pilsen, but La Dieciocho,” says Jorge Valdavia, the museum’s performing arts director. “That’s what it was commonly called at the time. Now ‘Pilsen’ is used to refer to it a lot more. So it’s kind of a tribute to La Dieciocho and how we used to identify Pilsen.
But it’s more than a tribute to Mexican culture.
“We are not a monolithic culture,” says Valdavia. “There is so much richness and diversity in who we are. I think this festival really allows us to showcase these different artists of Mexican origin. We have house music, people singing dusties and oldies, ranchera, folk music, electronica and reggaeton. It is therefore an eclectic music festival.
Eleeza Silva is one of the star singers and a promising local artist.
“When it comes to my songs, I try to reveal parts of myself that even I have a hard time accepting,” says Silva.
From reggaeton to jazz to neo soul influences, Silva describes his sound as experimental.
“My songs are very self-reflective,” Silva continues. “I’m just trying to get to the bottom of what’s bothering me. I feel like a lot of my life was made up of other people trying to put me down, influence me, or put things in my head. Especially with music and doing more songs, it made me recognize my songs and my value and nothing else matters as long as I’m focused.
Silva says she is eager to bring people together through the sounds of her story while also sharing the Sonido Dieciocho stage with other Latino artists.
“Especially (with) the state of the world – music is all we have that could really take you,” says Silva. “Every song has a story. Even if the songs have no words, you can feel what you are trying to translate. Which is useful because it brings clarity.
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Note: This story will be updated with a video.
Angel Idowu is the JCS Fund of the DuPage Foundation Artistic correspondent.