The National Museum of Mexican Art will hold its first ever music festival with help from Mexican artists around the country. It’s called Sonido Dieciocho or Sonido 18 Fest, and the theme “Sounds of 18th Street” pays homage to its location.
“For a lot of the South Side Mexicans and Latinos, it wasn’t known as Pilsen it was known as La Dieciocho,” says Jorge Valdivia, the museum’s director of performing arts. “That’s how it was commonly referred to way back in the day. Now ‘Pilsen’ is used to refer to it a lot more. So it’s sort of paying homage to La Dieciocho and how we used to identify Pilsen as.”
But it’s about more than a tribute to Mexican culture.
“We’re not a monolithic culture,” Valdivia says. “There is so much richness and diversity in who we are. I think this festival is really allowing us to showcase these different artists that are Mexican descent. We have house music, people singing dusties and oldies, ranchera, folk music, electronica and reggaeton. So it’s an eclectic music festival.”
Eleeza Silva is one of the featured vocalists, and a local up and coming artist.
“When it comes to my songs, I try to reveal parts of myself that even I have trouble accepting,” Silva says.
From reggaeton to jazz to neo soul influences, Silva describes her sound as experimental.
“My songs are very self-reflective,” Silva continues. “I just try to get to the bottom of what is bothering me. I feel like a big part of my life was other people trying to bring me down, influence me or put stuff in my head. Especially with music and making more songs, it made me recognize my songs and my worth and nothing else matters as long as I’m focused.”
Silva says she is eager to bring people together through the sounds of her story while sharing the stage at Sonido Dieciocho with other Latino artists.
“Especially (with) the state of the world — music is all we have that could really pick you up,” Silva says. “Every song has a story. Even if the songs don’t have words, you can feel what’s trying to be translated. Which is helpful because it brings clarity.”
Silva plans to release a live album fall 2021 and debut her first EP early 2022. You can catch her set this Saturday at 2:50 p.m. in Harrison Park in Pilsen. Tickets to Sonido 18 Fest are free but registration is required.
Follow Angel Idowu on Twitter: @angelidowu3
Angel Idowu is the JCS Fund of the DuPage Foundation Arts Correspondent.