Victor Valdes Returns to Canberra : Viva Mexico Tour!

By Joshua Eckersley

The virtuosic Victor Valdes is returning to Canberra with his Viva Mexico Tour, bringing with him all of the exciting and emotive colours of Mexico’s musical landscape. His authentic and masterful interpretations of traditional Mexican and Latin music is a must-see event that is inherently of its place and culture, and yet unlike anything else.

The Viva Mexico Tour will showcase the many varied and vibrant musical styles of Mexico, with the goal of sharing Victor’s life-long appreciation and admiration for the culture of his homeland.

Victor has chosen some of the more internationally recognised styles to perform with his band, such as Mexican Polkas—with their vibrant and uplifting tempos—as well as Mariachis, Boleros, and Mexican Cumbia.

Thankfully Victor has done all the legwork and can break it down in simple terms for those of us not fluent in the intricacies of Mexican musical styles.

“Polkas and Cumbia are definitely styles of music that get the whole auditorium up and dancing,” Valdes enthuses. “But for the more romantic ones among us, Boleros will make the couples dance, and Mariachi makes you sing out loud.”

All these styles have their own distinct features and rich, historical origins that Victor carries with him wherever he goes. Perhaps the most influential style of all is Son Jarocho, due to the impact on a young Victor, growing up in Mexico, before moving to Australia and settling in Sydney, back in 1998.

“I love and respect all styles of music and dance,” Valdes says. “I love opera. I love contemporary music and Aussie rock. But my heart will always be with the Son Jarocho music from my hometown, Veracruz.”

“One of my dreams is to create Australia’s own Son Jarocho movement, similar to what is happening right now in the USA,” he tells us. “The music is having a fantastic movement, particularly in California. It’s also an important part of Chicano culture too.”

Mexican and Latin American music is also seeing a notable surge in popularity here in Australia, but it is not just the music that is drawing people in. There is a wealth of creative and artistic activity contributing to a burgeoning fascination and appreciation for the unique aspects of Mexican and Latin American culture.

“There are many elements contributing to the Mexican and Hispanic cultural popularity in Australia,” Valdes attests. “Firstly, there is Hollywood, with all of the great movies based on Mexican and Latino culture, as well as the social and political issues. The soundtracks have become so recognisable that when I perform school shows for the kids, they ask for songs such as Remember Me and Un Poco Loco from the Disney movie, Coco.”

“Secondly, there are the many outstanding icons of Mexican art, such as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera”, Valdes continues. “Their masterpieces have been displayed in The Art Gallery of NSW, and right now in The Art Gallery of South Australia, there is an amazing exhibition of their work.

“Frida, in particular, was a lover not just of art but music, and you cannot think about this amazing Mexican artist without associating her with traditional Mexican Music.”

As part of Victor’s Viva Mexico Tour, he will be bringing his incredible band to perform once again at the beloved Canberra stomping grounds of The Street Theatre. It promises to be an unforgettable journey through the songbook of traditional Mexican music, and Victor has nothing but praise for his world-class band.

“I have 11 musicians on stage, each of them from different musical backgrounds, who have found new ways to express themselves through the infectious rhythms and challenging styles of Mexican music,” Valdes extols. “I feel so proud and accomplished every time we perform together, knowing that they come from so many different parts of the world.

“Some don’t even speak Spanish, but they embrace and recreate Mexican traditional music here in Australia. On stage, it just feels like we are playing our favourite game.

“It is a lot of fun!”

Don’t miss out on Victor Valdes’ performing his Viva Mexico tour at The Street Theatre on Saturday, 23 September at 7:30pm. Tickets are $45 – $49 + bf available via The Street Theatre website.

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