Lady Zen Sings Aretha Franklin

August 18-21, Sunday-Wednesday 7pm, Wednesday 3pm
San Miguel Playhouse, Avenida Independencia 82
$350, $400

Lady Zen Sings Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin, one of the greatest vocalists the United States has ever produced, probably knew she was destined for stardom when she was a child gospel singer at a Baptist church in Detroit, where her father was minister. But there was a slight bump on the freeway to fame. In 1959, Franklin, then 18, signed a recording contract with Columbia Records, best known for easy listening favorites such as Andy Williams and Dinah Shore. While Franklin made some excellent recordings for Columbia, it was no home for a gospel singer. Then, in 1966, Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records lured her away, and, as he liked to say, put her "back in the church."

By the end of the 1960s, Franklin was dubbed "the Queen of Soul," with indelible hits such as "Respect," "Chain of Fools," "Natural Woman," and "I Say a Little Prayer," to name only four.

Franklin died on August 16, 2018, and almost exactly one year later, Lady Zen, one of the luminaries of the San Miguel music scene, will debut a series of five tribute concerts to the recording star, at the San Miguel Playhouse, Avenida Indendencia 82. The tribute series, which Lady Zen calls Requiem for the Queen of Soul, will run Sunday, August 18 through Wednesday, August 21. All concerts are at 7pm, but there will be an added 3pm matinee performance on the final Wednesday.

Reserved-seat tickets are 400 pesos for the center section, and 350 for the side sections, available at Boleto City, Mercado Sano, Ancha de San Antonio 123, open every day but Sunday from 11am to 5pm; or online by clicking either of the "Buy Tickets Online" buttons in this email newsletter; or at; or at the theater door starting one hour before each performance.

Lady Zen will perform with a superb backup band consisting of Susan Varcoe on keyboards, Rick Shlosser on drums, Kiko Kornejo on guitar, and Aaron Romo on bass. Most of the 1960s hits for which Franklin was best known, along with musical numbers from later in her career, will be featured.

Lady Zen's tribute concerts are consistently sold-out events, and no other singer on the San Miguel scene is better equipped for a tribute to Aretha Franklin. She, too, received her formative musical training in church. Born Alzenira Quezada in Brazil, she was plucked from an orphanage by Christian missionaries, and raised in Fayetteville, Arkansas, as Sheri Joy Glick. By the time she was learning to speak, Sheri Glick was the star vocal attraction at the Church of the Nazarene, singing at tent revivals, church concerts, and county fairs all over the South, winning over sixty vocal competitions in the process. She, too, took a slight detour in her singing career. At 17, she was studying opera on a Fulbright Scholarship at the University of Arkansas. Then Sheri discovered jazz, blues, and gospel, restored her birth name, and pursued the career she was meant for. Combining her opera training with soulful singing, Lady Zen is a one-of-a-kind performer.


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