Helping to establish her footing away from the band, ironically, was Mosri's former bandmate Ruby Castellanos. “When I left Taller Sur, I told Ruby that we needed to practice more and play more shows,” Mosri says of the effort to get their name out. “We needed a show where there were only women,” she added noting the lack of such promotions in her surrounding area. When time came in March for Women's History month, the two musicians put together a night of solo performances under the banner “Mujer(es) Cantando” at Bellflower's Casa de Luna Café. Castellanos had invited two other singer-songwriters from Orange County, Best Latin award-winner Nancy Sanchez and Nancy 'Cat' Mendez of ¡Aparato!, to complete the lineup.
“It was a beautiful night,” Mosri reminisces. “People were paying close attention to the show. There was no noise, not even a whisper.” For Sanchez, Mujer(es) Cantando provided a means for her to collaborate with fellow Latina musicians. “It was a really cool experience,” she says of the night. “I feel really lucky to have found this group of women. We are all different, but we can work together.”
Given that all performers that night were from OC, save for Mosri, it was only logical for the musicians to get together again and bring the show close to home. The only question was that of finding a supportive venue. Sanchez took the lead. “My friend is booking the Commonwealth Lounge in Fullerton right now,” she says. “I did an acoustic show there last month there and I really liked it.” When approached about bringing Mujer(es) Cantando to the venue, Sanchez's connection was all for it. Everything was set to recreate the moment.
The second installment, rechristened “Viva Mujer Sessions,” will be crafted much in the same spirit as its predecessor. “We will do everything from rancheras, to trova and rock,” says Mosri. Other forms of artistic expression will take place in addition to the solo acoustic sets. “I'm going to read a poem,” Sanchez reveals. “I've never read poetry before!” The Fullerton resident also recruited extra artistic support. “Sarajeva Vasquez is a friend I went to High School together with in Anaheim and she's bringing visual art pieces into the show,” the singer-songwriter adds. “Everyone has wanted to have something like this to happen. I had poets and artists who wanted to get involved. It builds community and artistic friendships.”
As for the collaborative future of the mujeres, more is on the way. “It's in our plans to continue this project and bring this to other cities,” Sanchez says noting a June date in Downey. The ladies have very good reason to do so. Every musician on the bill is recording solo material. Shows such as the Viva Mujer Sessions allow for them to try out new material.
Fadia Mosri is ambitiously looking towards a September 2011 release of her rock flavored debut Tocando Cielos working with notable drummer Alex Acuña on the project. Sanchez is busy in the studio recording a full-length album of Latin, jazz, and pop influenced original compositions to follow-up her self-titled debut EP. Nancy 'Cat' Mendez and Ruby Castellanos are also in the process of writing and recording solo songs for future release away from their respective bands.
There's talk of even taking the show across the border to Tijuana and creating a Mujer(es) Cantando album comprised of ten songs from five musicians on each side of la línea. But before the collaborative spirit ripens to that extent, the ladies are all set to serenade Fullerton. “I'm very excited to play with these girls again,” Mosri says with renewed confidence. “They're all very talented.”
Consensus: Viva Mujer Sessions at Commonwealth Lounge & Grill, 112 E. Commonwealth Ave, Fullerton, www.commonwealthlounge.com. (714) 525-8888. Mon., 8 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. Free. 21+