Gina Chavez The Rivoli, Toronto ON, June 18
Published Jun 19, 2015Gina Chavez is one of those artists whose music is impossible to pigeonhole. On up.rooted, the exceptional sophomore album that garnered Chavez several prizes at the prestigious Austin Music Awards earlier this year (including Album, Song and Musician of the Year), the Mexican-American singer moves as fluidly from socially conscious folk music to blues to Latin rhythms as she does from English to Spanish, forging a distinctly multifaceted musical identity.
Chavez's set as part of Project ATX6 — a showcase for Austin, Texas musicians at NXNE — was a similarly eclectic blend of the personal ("Miles de Millas," about the challenges of long distance relationships; the slow-burning blues of "Fire Water") and the political ("Like An Animal," a lament for the poor and homeless inspired by Mother Teresa; a cover of "El Sombrero Azul" by legendary Venezuelan folk singer Ali Primera) that showed off her rich, superlative voice and superb musicianship, with help from fellow Austinite Brian Kremer, who contributed guitar flourishes and backing vocals.
Elsa Cross joined the pair on the closing "Siete-D," a propulsive, boisterous call-and-response sing-along that brought the house down and left everyone wishing the party could have lasted a little bit longer.