A renowned vocalist in the contemporary Latin American jazz scene, Magos Herrera, who was born in Mexico and is based in New York, is no stranger to Chennai or India. Known for her soulful voice, Magos is a popular singer- songwriter in Mexico and Latin America. Some of her popular albums include Cajuina (1998), Orquideas Susurrantes (2000), Pais Maravilla (2002), Todo Puede Inspirar (2004) and Soliluna (2006). Hailed as a prolific performer, she has regaled audiences across the world with concerts at Mexico, Brazil, Spain, India, Malaysia and Singapore. A known face on television, she has produced and hosted music shows for Mexican TV channel 22. As a visiting faculty across institutes in the world, Magos teaches technique and vocal improvisation, jazz with a Brazilian and Latin repertoire. She is also a visiting faculty at the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music in Chennai. On her third visit to the city, she talks to CE about her love for spicy food, respect for Chennai’s music culture and what will bring her back to the city, with which she shares a close bond.
A Close Bond
It’s my third time in Chennai and I am always excited to come back. The people here are the best part of the city. I’ve been in India many, many times not only to teach, but also for personal matters. Every time. I find myself going back home with an open heart. India grounds me and it feels almost like a very ancient, close relationship.
Soothing and Sophisticated
I have had the opportunity and privilege to teach at Swarnabhoomi, while Karthick (ghatam / percussion faculty) has been teaching as well. So, through him I have been introduced to it. It’s a very beautiful, sophisticated music form and I respect it immensely. I’m not very familiar with the local scene, so I can’t say much, but I have met very talented, enthusiastic young musicians at the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music who surely will contribute to the growing scene.
I was overwhelmed when I first got here, and since we went straight to the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music campus. I had a very different view of the city. I find that every time I come here my experience is different; we make new discoveries and of course meet new people who invariably turn into friends.
I am Mexican, so I’m familiar with spicy food and hence I do alright. I love eating at Amethyst and on the Swarnabhoomi campus, we have a multi-cuisine cafeteria, but when there is Indian food I am always delighted.
Oasis of Uniqueness
There must be millions of unique things, but I love the feeling that I am living in a small oasis — you find here a harmonic balance between Indian exquisiteness and Western influences.
I’d like to continue collaborating with Karthick. He is an amazing world class musician with a deep heart, whom Alex and I admire