By: Justin Worthing
Javier Mendoza, along with guest guitarist Jim Peters, performed songs inspired by his brief visit to Cochabamba, Bolivia.
Kennedy Auditorium was filled to capacity for the musician’s concert “Stories and Songs from Cochabamba” last Thursday.
The evening began with Mendoza singing an acoustic song written in English, accompanied by Peters’ guitar and background vocals.
They then introduced themselves and explained what brought them to Bolivia.
They told the audience about the documentary on the Pan y Amor project, a program sponsored by the St. Louis Archdiocese that runs an orphanage in Cochabamba.
The film’s videographer approached Mendoza to create the documentary’s music.
“I went on this thing; it was a total adventure,” Mendoza said.
“I went on the trip just to get inspired by music, learning the charango and the traditional instruments, but when I got there I don’t think they realized the extent of the lack of English that is in Bolivia… I became a huge asset right from the get-go.”
Mendoza then showed an excerpt from the film featuring some of his instrumental music and introduced the Salomon Klein orphanage.
Profits gained from the documentary’s release will go directly to the Pan y Amor program.
Their songs explored various styles as well. Many songs were relaxed and pop-like, but others incorporated electronic looping techniques to build an unusual blend of hip-hop and flamenco.
Overall, Mendoza described the trip as a humbling experience and he hopes the work he is doing for the documentary has a real impact on its viewers.
“I always believe that music really helps transcend the message and move the message to a different level of consciousness,” Mendoza said.
“Put (a commercial) on mute and watch it, you lose a bit of that emotion. You put the music in, you create emotion.”
Information on the Pan y Amor program can be found at archstl.org/missions, and information on Mendoza can be found at javiermendoza.com.