Stage presence: "Ghost Light Sessions" at the Lensic

Guitarist Justin Lindsey performs "Great America" during The Ghost Light Sessions

The lights may have dimmed on Nuestra Música, the annual celebration of traditional New Mexico folk music that was scheduled to take place at the Lensic Performing Arts Center (211 W. San Francisco St., 505-988-1234, in April, but the ghost light remains. Illuminated solely by a single light — the traditional name for the bulb that’s left burning when the theater is dark — local performers take to the Lensic stage for a series of recorded performances in The Ghost Light Sessions.

The first musicians to participate in the Lensic’s new virtual program were Reyes and Cordelia Garcia, who perform as Reyes and Cordelia. Originally in the lineup for Nuestra Música, Reyes and Cordelia were invited to perform three original songs in Spanish, with Reyes on guitar and Cordelia on tambourine. The Lensic has a slew of recordings in the works to follow theirs, featuring guitarist and vocalist Matt Sanford, ukulele player Talia Kosh, and classical pianist Jacquelyn Helin.

“The Lensic, of course, has a lot of performers that come into its sphere,” says the Lensic Executive Director Joel Aalberts. “We wanted to show that the performing arts are alive in Santa Fe. We wanted to make our stage available in this very reduced format series.” The idea was to produce a series of low-tech, high-quality performances recorded with safety in mind. In order to maintain social distancing, they restricted the featured artists to solo or small group performances. Alone onstage with the darkened, empty house stretching out behind them, the setting creates an intimate experience for the home viewer.

“When Nuestra Música was canceled, I reached out to our collaborators on that, and we made contact with the artists because we still want to make sure that those performers are seen,” Aalberts says. “There are so many other singer/songwriters in Santa Fe, and we also had some concerts coming up with people who are in the classical music side of things. For people that have been making their living on this, how do we continue to bring attention to what they’re doing?”

The Lensic plans to feature the performers on their social media platforms and link the YouTube videos of The Ghost Light Sessions from their website.

Although no formal schedule for the release of the videos has been set, the recording sessions will be ongoing. Sessions with Reyes and Cordelia, singer/songwriter and guitarist Justin Lindsey, and banjo player Johnny Bell are available now. “We’re still collecting them and we’ll be coming up with our release dates as we move through the year so that there’s a nice mixture from singer/songwriter to traditional New Mexican music to classical.”

Future segments include Americana and rock vocalist Felecia Ford. Keep checking the Lensic’s website for updates. There’s no charge to access the videos. 

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