Master Class: Latin Rock Star Juanes & DC Public School Students

It’s hard not to crush on the Colombian Rock Star Juanes:

  • His music fuses different rhythms and traditions, including old school Latin American Baladas, Classic Rock, Cumbias, and the Nueva Trova or Nueva Canción (sounds and socio-political messages).  As it/he evolves, it/he gets better.
  • He has historically worked to raise awareness about the devastation caused by landmines around the world, and has raised money for mine removal, as well as prosthetic limbs and wheelchairs for victims.
  • He has performed what he’s coined “Peace without Border” concerts on the Colombian-Venezuelan border and controversially, in Havana.
  • He has not joined the Shakira haters or of other Latin American recording artists who have “crossed over” to sing in English and make a ba-zillion dollars.  Instead, he’s been classy, respectful, keeping the spotlight on his music and his commitment to sing in Spanish.

But what sent me over the metaphorical edge was Juanes’ interaction with DC public school students.  Watch the first story or “package” (in journolese) that I have ever shot and then edited all by my lonesome here:

I was invited by my ol’ buddy John Reilly from entertainment public relations firm Rogers and Cowan to the sound check.  The Antioqueño, as people from the Colombian province of Antioquia are known, was all business:

“Let’s practice ‘Fotografía’,” he ordered in Spanish.

“Slow it down, so I’m not rushing to keep up with you,” he explained to his band.

“This isn’t right,” he complained to the sound team about his ear piece and mike.

Then just like that, he jumped off the stage. “Hi, I’m Juanes!” he boomed, landing steps away from some students from Washington, DC’s Oyster-Adams Bilingual School.

Right away he taught an abbreviated master class through his answers to the questions:

“What does music mean to you?”

“You’re a rocker.  Will you use strings in your compositions?”

They weren’t afraid to get personal à la Oprah: “Do your kids like to play musical instruments?”

Between his ear to ear smile and his Levis jeans, jacket and Converse sneaks, it was hard to figure out who was the Rock Star, who was the Kid, who was the Master, who was the Student.

Then as the cameras kept clicking, Juanes’ people whisked him away to chill before the concert.  The Oyster-Adams students didn’t stick around since it was a school night.  But by asking questions and observing him, they learned some valuable life lessons that will last longer than any concert:

  • Adapt to your circumstances.
  • Lead your team with a balance of high expectations and camaraderie.
  • Set and stick to a goal.
  • Don’t just work hard, but with passion, integrity, and conviction.

It wasn’t anywhere near my bedtime, so I tossed my Flip Cam and my Panasonic point and shoot in my handbag, and as quickly, regressed to my days as a crazed teen fan, circa Duran Duran, circa 1987 when I manipulated Big Bro, clad in his Z Cavaricci jeans, to take a Gal Pal and I to San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts where Simon, Nick, John, and Roger were performing.  Back then, I actually thought Roger would notice me (this was before I knew about statutory rape laws) and we would ride off into the sunset on a tour bus (this was before I realized what happens to Groupie Chicas).  R.O.M.A.N.T.I.C.  B.E.Y.O.N.D.

Fast forward to 2011 and Fairfax, Virginia’s Patriot Center.  I K.N.O.W. B.E.T.T.E.R.  This mathematical equation does NOT exist:

Juanes & Vivi:

2 gether + 4 ever = 6 cess

But this little fact didn’t keep me from screaming my head off and shakin’ my bootay with Gal Pal Bhava.

The Performance, the Music, the Energy: ¡Delicioso!

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