NiteTalk: Maria Del Valle Presents 500 Spanish Album Covers at “¡Mira Que Lindas!”

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Polyglot Miami is about to get a bit more polyglot. The reason? "¡Mira Que Lindas!" (Literally: "Look How Pretty!"). The show is both something to be seen and heard: a collection of 500 Spanish language album covers spanning the last 40 years and a wide variety of sound talent, from Nicaragua, Mexico, Spain and right here in the MIA. It's all put together by one Maria Del Valle, who runs the Centro Cultural Español, one of the many few institutions whose mission it is to open our eyes and ears to the world's beautiful mix. And it all kicks off this Saturday night at The Awarehouse.

What's the Centro Cultural Español and what does it do? CCE is a Miami based non-profit organization founded in 1996. Its fields are international cultural cooperation, promotion of the culture in Spanish (from Spain and Latin America) and participation in the development of the community and the citizens through cultural projects. CCE has year-long cultural programs in many artistic disciplines: visual arts, music, theater, dance, literature, film, etc, all of which have a strong educational component.

You've put together a show called "¡Mira Que Lindas!" Can you please tell us a bit about it? "¡Mira que Lindas!" is at heart an art exhibition. We at CCE wanted to present a comprehensive program to talk about the music industry, the challenges in this digital era, how a band can come out from their garages to the market, especially in a situation like today, as well as the relationship between music and graphic and visual art. The idea is to give the Miami audience an opportunity to engage with various artists, some of them unknown and from countries where being a musician is really a challenge -- like Perrozompopo from Nicaragua for example. They'll get to hear their music, then meet and speak with them after each show.

Who are some of the other bands we'll be hearing and how did you come up with the line-up?
We wanted to have a great variety of styles and origins. CCE, Fabrikalink and The Latin Recording Academy have worked together and we have come up with this amazing program with local bands: Elastic Bond and Xperimento, local DJs Mr.Pauer and DJ Le Spam, plus the rock and pop of Nicaragua's Perrozompopo, the world music of Dominican-blooded Pacha Massive, the electronica of Spain's Fangoria and the Brazilian virtuoso Yamandu Costa.

What about the images? How were they selected what do they represent?
It's a journey through the history of Latin music, mostly pop and rock, but many other styles as well. The jackets of records are put into thematic groups in a very fresh and original way. The images were originally chosen by Ruben Scaramuzzino of Madrid's Zona de Obras, who first mounted the exhibition.

Do you have any favorites among those many images?
Many favorites. The classics, like Molotov, the first album of Soda Stereo, the hippie photo of Caetano Veloso.

How did you come across the folks from Zona de Obras anyway?
Since we are the Cultural Center of Spain we are in touch with many Spanish organizations that work in different cultural fields, Zona de Obras is a young group doing a great work in the more contemporary and urban culture in Zaragoza, Spain, and they are originally from Argentina. This is the kind of collective that we love to work with and it doesn't matter where they are from or where they are based.

Madrid's one of Miami's sister cities. Do you plan on more inter-city collaborations?
We didn't have this in mind. We are interested in presenting different cultures and different approaches to the public of Miami. Miami is a very diverse community but the paradox is that this richness is not seen like that -- like something unique. The reality is that the communities exist apart from each other and they don't mix. We try to bring together all this, and to present Miami as the rich cultural capital that it should be.

What made you decide to do this show at The Awarehouse? Miami has a lack of spaces like this. You can go to a theater with ridiculous expenses, or a club, but it's really difficult to find a venue where you can present an art exhibition and have concerts with the quality that it requires. Awarehouse has all this. More important the team is focused in the same objectives that we are. They are trying to bring to Miami high-quality shows and open the space to all the communities living here in a very friendly and professional way.

When you hit the town where do you most like to go? I'm not that much into trendy clubs and lounges. I'd rather go to Churchill's or Tobacco Road and small restaurants and open-doors places.

What's coming up for Maria del Valle?
After ten years in Miami and seven as director of CCE it's time to move on, and I'm going back to my hometown Madrid, to another professional project, a brand new cultural center where I expect among other projects bring America (North, Central and South America) creativity to Europe.

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