By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Friend for Life is a heady dive into a sound that invites you in, perhaps to experience sounds you can’t put a name on but that seem somehow familiar — as if it’s been buried deep in your psyche, or your soul. For the most part, the songs are lushly imbued with the traditional Mexican love song, the bolero.
Says Cooder, “Bolero music, which flourished in the ’40s and ’50s, was based around one idea, and that was that you could deliver this romantic poetry in such a way as to make people feel it; they don’t sit there and intellectualize. Common sentiments, simple ideas, the poetry is very simple — it isn’t anything fancy, but if you really can sing it, people really will feel it.” He places Arvizu in the upper echelons of the great bolero-style singers, a discipline always in danger of disappearing from the face of the earth.
And as with Ibrahim Ferrer from Cooder’s Buena Vista Social Club, Arvizu’s feel is not about the lyric in the Spanish language. “It’s wonderful,” Cooder says, “but you don’t have to know exactly what the singer’s saying; it’s what the singer’s able to do, and that they do it inside themselves, and that it originates in there. Arvizu talks about her parents teaching her to sing, but, you know, this is really just something that you have inside.”
“God gave me that,” says Arvizu. “I don’t know where it came from, but he gave me that. You have to be born with that. But then, the rest you learn in experience — the more you sing, you know where to put your vibrato, you know where to sing sexier, where to sing softer. You learn that, but as far as what’s gonna come out of your throat, you have to be born with that.”
It’s kind of like boxing: “I know how to throw a combination, I know how to break to the left and hook ’em to the body. I know how to execute.”
ERSI ARVIZU | Friend for Life | Anti-