Earlier this year, Tijuana wunderdrummer Carlos Maria (Madame Ur y Sus Hombres, La Ballena de Jonas, Carla Morrison) launched a monthly series of free concerts at local orphanages, retirement homes and rehabilitation centers, a project titled "Fundacion Sembrando Cultura" or the Sowing Culture Foundation. The idea is to introduce or return live music to ostracized segments of society where arts and culture often take a backseat to everyday survival.
Sunday's six-song jazz set took Maria -- along with pianist Roberto Salomón, bassist Roberto Arredondo, videographer Rudo Guevara and me -- to Orfanatorio Emmanuel, a hilltop home for girls in southeast Tijuana's Sanchez Taboada neighborhood. Short and unsurprisingly bittersweet, the set list included "My Favorite Things," "Watermelon Man" and "Besame Mucho."
"Really happy with yesterday's concert at the Casa de Niñas orphanage," Maria later posted on Facebook. "It was a really different experience from our first concert. The kids sucked all our energy; we felt as though we had given a three-hour concert when in reality it was 40 minutes. It was really touching to bring music to the children. They enjoyed it, they seemed attentive and they applauded. But we also realized that in addition to food and education something really important is missing. Love. It's incredible how they seek the warmth of love and of being loved."