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December 28, 2015
Review: Migguel Anggelo’s “Another Son of Venezuela” at Joe’s Pub
Photo credit: David Andrako
Photo credit: David Andrako

Mambo meets Andy Kaufman, spiced with a pinch of Michael Bublé – and served in English and Spanish -- in Migguel Anggelo's Another Son of Venezuela. Anggelo sings and dances, talks with passion, and knows how to connect with the heart of the audience. His messages are direct, compassionate, openhearted, and honest; a shy friend who only can express himself through melodies.

In Another Son, Anggelo educates us on Venezuela: about the life on the beaches and in the capital, Caracas; Hugo Chávez and politics; the country's occasional power outages and its seven Miss Universe titles; and his own journey, which has led him to Joe's Pub.  His song collection reaches from Nina Simone to the Buena Vista Social Club, as well as his own pieces performed by a Pan-American ensemble, The Immigrants. Onstage are a Cuban percussionist (Ivan Ilanes), two lovely supporting singers (Tsilala Brock and Michelle Walter, or as Anggelo calls them, Mrs. Guatemala and Mrs. Bahamas), a trio in the back with a bassist from Miami (James Quinlan), a drummer from Connecticut (Jake Golbas) and a guitar player from Ohio (Tim Basom), and Migguel's musical director on the piano from Costa Rice (Mau Quiros). The group sparks with Latin American tunes and tales of joy, tears and the fullness of life.

Photo credit: David Andrako
Photo credit: David Andrako

An epic connection comes at the very end of the evening with the Mexican folk tale "Little Dove”, famously recorded by Harry Belafonte. Anggelo sings "Cu Cu Ru Cu Cu“ and evokes familiar feelings and memory for anyone in the audience who has been far away from loved ones. The song is at once comical and melancholic; when the cooing sounds begin, Miguel dressed in a Mexican poncho, embraces the audience with compassion and bestows a good night kiss.

Anggelo tells stories of freedom and immigrants.  His voice is soft; his words clear and grounded against injustice and violence in Venezuela and everywhere else. With the hope to work and live in freedom and peace, he came to the US twelve years ago, and his Green Card seems to be worth more than any awards to him; at the same time, once you leave your home it becomes more beautiful and Anggelo seems to embrace his role as messenger for his culture. Tell more stories, Migguel Anggelo! Your stage work is truly present and moving and makes us aware of the troubles you share with thousands of others, who still struggle to live in this country.

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