Magos Herrera and Monica Salmaso

Magos Herrera (Photo: Jill Steinberg) & Mônica Salmaso (Photo: Lorena Dini)


Magos Herrera and Mônica Salmaso: "Curiosity about Latin America Brings Us Together"

By Jocelyne Enríquez

The Mexican and Brazilian singers are "soul sisters" who make music "deeply rooted in tradition." AS/COA interviewed the artists.

Mônica Salmaso and Magos Herrera first sang together virtually, during the pandemic. It was a collaboration that was destined to be, as both share the same curiosity and appreciation for their roots and the musical background of their upbringings. “Our paths at some point needed to cross,” said Herrera during an interview with AS/COA.

The artists will perform together on Thursday, March 21 at Americas Society, where they will revisit the Latin American songbook in their first live collaboration.

Growing up in São Paulo, Brazil, Salmaso started her relationship with music at a young age. She would listen to her parents’ LPs and sing along to songs that provoked emotions. "I had with music, my emotional learning even before I could name those feelings," she recalls. "It was like discovering a new world."

She holds two Latin Grammy nominations (2007 and 2012) for two of her albums. Her approach to singing these classic songs of MPR (Música popular brasileira) has always been from a position of deep respect for the history they represent, she said. "I sing these songs because they are very important to me, including the way I've learned all of them," she added.

Salmaso's music series, Ô de casas, allowed her to collaborate virtually with a varied set of artists who share the same passion for music, including Magos Herrera.

Herrera, originally from Mexico City and currently based in New York City, is a Grammy-nominated singer and composer who elegantly reflects the core of Latin American music by blending different genres and languages together. She found in jazz a way of expressing herself and her diverse experiences. "That's how jazz brought my attention into this possibility of bringing different influences within one thing," she says.

When asked about her unique approach to singing in Spanish, English, and Portuguese, she says that it's a mere reflection of who she is.

"Those are the languages that I speak every day," she explains. "I relate to all of them in the same capacity." Herrera has performed at acclaimed international stages throughout her career, making her a cultural ambassador—"unconsciously"—of the richness and diversity of the region's music.

“We're going to tell a story and we're going to give space to each other and bring our both voices together," said Herrera about Thursday's concert, which will also include original pieces she wrote. "So we're going to explore different ways to tell the story. But basically we're going to tell the story of sounds of Latin America."