At the Heart of the Immigration Story

As Congress and the White House focus on immigration legislation, UNCG’s Lorena Guillén has been steadfastly shining a spotlight of her own and getting to the heart of the matter.

Guillén, a performer and professor of Musicology, is a highly awarded singer, song-writer and conductor.  A native of Buenos Aires, she had been looking for a way to engage with the community, and to help Latina women share the stories of their journeys from their countries of origin to North Carolina.

“I am an immigrant, a Latina, and I want to use my art to give voice to other women like me.  The music I’ve done has always been leading me to this.”

And so, The Other Side of My Heart was born.  Guillén, and her husband, Alejandro Rutty, who also teaches at UNCG’s School of Music, wrote the piece which is a musical-visual artwork composed of songs and recorded conversations with six women who shared and reflected about their dreams and fears while evaluating the things they gained and lost

Guillén says the music and story, performed by her Tango Ensemble, transcend politics and stereotypes.

“This is not an openly political piece- and we are not preaching- some people find the topic of immigration to be uncomfortable.  But these topics can appeal to not just immigrants.  They are the concepts of home and the value of friendship.”

Guillén and The Tango Ensemble have performed The Other Side of My Heart around the Triad and she says it has been well-received by audiences everywhere.

“This is an humble piece but it presents an opportunity to open dialogue.  Music opens that kind of space.  It allows people to relax and listen differently.”

If you’d like to learn more about Guillén’s work, here are two local opportunities or you may visit the project online using the links below:

Mon., Jan. 22nd, 2018, 5 PM, SOM building, room 217: Talk-Presentation of the “The Other Side of My Heart” project (Conversation with the artistic creator and representatives of immigrant support organizations of the Triad)

Sat., Jan 27th, 2018, 8 PM, UpStage Cabaret at Triad Stage: Concert Album Release of “The Other Side of My Heart” with the Lorena Guillén Tango Ensemble