Friday night we headed down to the University of Hartford’s Wilde Auditorium to hear Tish Hinojosa—a Mexican-American folk singer whose voice I can only describe as hauntingly beautiful. (This description got me in trouble a few years ago when Nichelle failed to notice the word voice in what I had written.) Tish was accompanied, as previously, by the extremely talented guitarist/mandolin player Marvin Dykhuis.
This is the fourth time Nichelle, NaNi, and I have had the pleasure of hearing Tish’s gorgeous music live, and the third for the rest of the kids. (Naomi’s first experience was several months before she was born.)
We were a little concerned about taking Naomi. Last year she spent part of the concert in the lobby screaming. To our delight, NaNi was immediately enchanted by the singing and the guitars, and remained enthralled for the entire program.
The auditorium was over half full, but it’s a venue that feels delightfully cozy. The audience clearly adored Tish, several times breaking into applause at the beginning of a song. My favorite occurrence was the applause and cheers that broke out Tish sang the line “Our forefathers crossed the muddy line,” in “By the Rio Grande.” Tish interacted often with the audience, taking requests, and (as is typical of her) paying extra attention to the children she noticed. After croaking on a line at the end of La Llorona (due to having a cold), she joked that the weeping woman had died, but the cold did not seem to affect her singing after that.
Last year David got special attention because he was wearing my sombrero vaquero—Tish has a thing for cowboys. This year David (age 6—the old smoothie) asked if he could wear my hat again. I found him one that was his size, but he got embarrassed and wouldn’t wear it after we got in.
The concert was lovely, and the time flew by.
While purchasing Tish’s latest CD, “A Heart Wide Open,” I mentioned that “Frontejas” was probably my favorite, and that we were hoping for another all- or mostly-Spanish CD. She mentioned that she’s been talking about doing another one for five years now. I keep hoping.
For other fans who may be interested, here’s a rundown of what Tish performed:
- Tu Que Puedes, Vuelvete (You Who Can, Return)
- La Llorona (Weeping Woman)/Riendo El Rio Corre (Laughing River Running) medley
- By the Rio Grande
- Siempre Abuelita (Always Grandma)
- Sign of Truth
- Shotgun Ridin’**
- The Kitchen Table**
- Finding Paris**
- Roses Around My Feet
- West Side of Town
- Las Golondrinas (The Sparrows—Tish was kind enough to dedicate this to Nichelle*)
- Something in the Rain
- Never Say Never Love Again**
- Derechos del Corazón**
- Something More than This**
- Con Su Pluma en Su Mano (With His Pen in His Hand—A corrido about the life of Amerigo Paredes)
- Donde Voy (Where I Go—This was a big hit in Korea)
- Taos to Tennessee
- Closer Still
- In the Real West
- San Antonio Romeo
- Reloj (The Clock)
- God’s Own Open Road
- Song for the Journey
*I had written out this dedication as, “The most beautiful song I have ever heard, dedicated to the most beautiful woman I have ever known, my wife of 14 years, Nichelle”; Tish presented an introduction about the history and style of the song, and a little bit about its meaning in English, but remembered only to dedicate the song to Nichelle, rather than my longer, sentimental dedication. (This was just as well: My sappiness would not have paired well with her introduction.”)
**From Tish’s newest album, “A Heart Wide Open.”