Born in the “City of Palaces” (Mexico City), Eugenia Leon discovers her musical calling at the College of Sciences and Humanities in Naucalpan, where she lent her voice for the compositions of her schoolmates.
During the turbulent 70’s, young people started to identify with the musical movement known as La Trova, singing about Latin American life, liberty, and soul.
Those influences defined her style and her future path, and she never looked back.
When she turned 18, she decided to study at the National School of Music. Those were hard times, constantly switching jobs, and learning from life’s blows and surprises.
Encouraged by her sister, Eugenia Leon formed a musical group called “Victor Jara”, with a totally Latin American folk style. Afterwards, she forms the group Sanampay, with the same roots. She left Sanampay in 1982 to pursue a solo career, based on a repertoire of songs from contemporary Mexican composers, and including also boleros and music from Brazil.
She releases her first recording in 1983, “Asi te quiero”, and traveled all over Mexico with a small group of musicians playing in various gigs.
Eugenia Leon’s career took a definite turn in 1985, when she entered the OTI International Festival at Seville (Spain) representing Mexico, with Marcial Alejandro’s song “El Fandango Aqui”. As a devastating earthquake hits Mexico City on September 19th, right while she’s competing at the Festival, Eugenia transformed the pain of her people into strength, and turned her voice into the utmost expression of courage and hope. She was awarded First Place in the competition.
Since then, she has recorded more than 20 albums, all diverse and unique. Among the composers that have given her songs are Fito Paez, David Haro, Joan Manuel Serrat, Marcial Alejandro, Armando Manzanero, Jose Alfredo Jimenez, Francisco Gabilondo Soler and Maria Grever. She has also explored diverse styles such as mariachi, bolero and tango. In 1998, the government of the Mexican state of Veracruz granted her the Agustin Lara award, as homage for her excellent interpretation of the songs of the famous composers.
Commemorating her 30 years as singer, Eugenia Leon staged a concert at the National Auditorium in Mexico City (the largest venue in the country) on November 1st, 2003, selling it out completely. The concert was a spectacular show with Mariachi Vargas and the Orquesta Sinfonica de las Americas, enthralling the audience with samples covering Eugenia’s entire career and musical repertoire.
Eugenia Leon is the best Mexican singer according to many, while others also consider Eugenia’s concerts and recordings to be a guarantee of high quality. In any case, Eugenia helps to make sure that the musical spirit of Mexico will remain alive and well.
Eugenia León got her start in the New Song Movement, Latin America’s equivalent to the rise of Bob Dylan and company in North America and Europe. With a repertoire that pairs contemporary composers with the creators of the traditional music of Latin America and Mexico, Ms. León is not locked in to any one genre. Rather she seeks to nurture her music with elements of theater, cabaret, and opera. Her association with actors, poets, painters, and writers imparts a distinct and rich dimension to the production and staging of her music.
In 1985, her rich voice and assured stage presence guaranteed her the top prize at the OTI International Song Festival in Spain. Since then she has participated in other prestigious events such as the Pan Pacific Music Festival in Japan, the Kennedy Center’s AmericArtes Festival in Washington, DC, the Latin Festival in New York City, Expo Seville in Spain, and the Americas Summit in Cartagena, Colombia. Ms. León was also invited to entertain the thousands of women gathered for their global summit in Beijing, China.
Back home in Mexico, audiences know that Eugenia León’s musical style transcends the trendy ups and downs of the world of commercial music, and she regularly packs the top venues of the nation meeting demands of fans expectant of quality songs passionately delivered. This performer/audience relationship, she believes, leads to ever higher levels of musical culture in a country fairly bursting with song. The end of an Eugenia León concert often finds the entire crowd on it’s feet applauding, at once, the Mexican popular music culture, and the artist who has given it a new voice.
With her roots deep in Mexican culture, she has also taken on the task of reaffirming the ties with other Latin American cultures. Her recent live recording of Tangos has renewed Mexico’s love affair with this genre.
Along these lines, she paid homage to Mexico’s most dearly loved children’s song composer, Francisco Gabilondo Soler’s Cri Cri (Mister Cricket) with a shimmering recording of many of his most frolicsome melodies. Accompanied by the Baja California Symphony Orchestra, Eugenia León has gifted a new generation of Mexican children with the imagination and identity of this joyfully playful tunesmith.
Edited by avivagabriel on 11 Mar 2009, 08:47
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