Migguel Anggelo recently told a group his music, which recounts his experience as an immigrant in America, is like a tree. “My songs have roots. My arms become the branches and leaves of the tree. They provide shade and comfort to everybody.”
Discussion on immigration is certainly relevant today and Anggelo has spent the better part of the last five years developing music that speaks to the immigrant experience. He brings that to Friday Night Live! at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) on Friday, Nov. 18.
Through his music he shares how he forged his own American identity through love, loss, family and national pride. The show, Another Son of Venezuela, which includes his band the Immigrants, begins at 7:00 p.m. and is a combination of pathos and humor as he recounts his experience as an immigrant in America.
The show was developed with and is directed by Obie Award winner David Drake and Musical Director Mau Quiros. Anggelo’s music mingles Latin, pop, and folk classics with his and Quiros’ original compositions and his poetic storytelling takes us on a music-theater experience in our ever-expanding bilingual world.
“Another Son of Venezuela’ sheds light on the complexities of being an immigrant in the United States an experience I know well and conveys that story in a way that all of our visitors can relate to,” says DIA Director Salvador Salort Pons. “The DIA is a place where the arts can function as springboard to bring to the foreground important current issues in our society. Music, in this case, is a language that will help bring a fresh perspective about immigration and foster a better understanding and friendly dialogue within our communities.”
Anggelo began his Detroit tour by participating in a panel discussion last weekend called “Art and the Immigrant Experience.” Curated by Culture Lab Detroit and moderated by Global Detroit, the discussion explored the complexities of the transnational experience. It asked the following questions. What does it mean to be an artist and an immigrant? How can art aid in cultural placemaking? How can we utilize the language of art to shift emotional and political perspectives?
One of the pieces he will perform is a song he wrote called “Inmigrantes.” Here is the English translation of some of the lyrics:
We all have a dream
Of having a better future
A long time ago Berlin was freed
and on the outskirts of Mexico they are building another wall.
Is it a crime to have an illusion?
or seek help without running from immigration;
I’m sure it is a crime to walk without a visa
but you don’t need permission to walk on the moon.
IMMIGRANTS… we are all immigrants
my only boundary was my mother’s womb
we all have different names
but we have the same color blood.
Here he is performing the song at Joe’s Pub in New York.
Anggelo artistic experience includes a dozen years learning classical ballet and studying voice at the Conservatory of Music in Cologne, Germany. His passion for music started when he was 13 and starred as Pinocchio in a South American touring production of the Broadway musical.
Another Son of Venezuela is free with museum admission for residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.
– Top p