Ana Gabriel lives up to the title ‘La Diva de América’ | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Ana Gabriel lives up to the title ‘La Diva de América’

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Ana Gabriel, nicknamed “La Diva de América,” has influenced generations of music fans since she launched her career in the 1970s. With her no-holds-barred approach to every tune and her signature vocal quality—a husky rasp that evokes long nights of crying and drinking—the Mexican singer-songwriter has mastered torch songs in a wide range of genres. Over the decades, Gabriel has had massive hits in Latin pop, rock, and most notably mariachi music. She’s released 35 studio and compilation albums and won dozens of awards, including the 2015 “Legend” award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, which celebrates Hispanic contributions to the United States. Though Gabriel has rarely taken explicit political stances, she commented during the ceremony on the anti-Mexican immigrant tirades of presidential candidate Trump: “We can’t let them hurt us—we are a brave people, and we know why we came.” While Gabriel typically performs in venues that hold thousands, her charmingly heartfelt delivery and evocative gestures create a sense of intimacy, giving the impression that she’s sharing moments of tribulation from her own life and facing them with unfaltering courage. The chemistry between the beloved diva and her audience is electric and instantly palpable, and her concerts inevitably evolve into stirring, massive sing-alongs. Many of Mexico’s iconic traditional female singers are no longer with us, and most contemporary Latin pop skews toward rock, punk, and electronica. There’s simply no one else in the world of Latin pop and mariachi music quite like this grande dame.   v

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