Livestream Los Angeles, CA
Material: Most of the songs were from the artist’s latest album, Louder, released on April 23. They cover a variety of genres blending jazz, folk and pop. All have a kind of a fun, jazzy, happy feel. “Nothing Ever Lasts” is light and airy, about time passing. Can’t get over this feeling that I’m growing old too fast––Nothing ever lasts. Good lyrics, but not depressing, though the subject could have been.
One of the more serious songs she performed was “Isabell,” written for her mother in both English and French. More minor chords here, but not somber. “Blue,” a happier, more upbeat song, was written for her sister and was played on ukulele with a solo on kazoo.
“Louder” is a pure pop song. A more rhythmic, major chord feel. “Johnny & June” was just plain fun. You’re the tic to my toc/ the key to my clock/ just like Johnny and June/ like the Sun to the Moon.
Musicianship: When a musician gets really good at playing an instrument, they get to a point where it seems they’re not working so hard on it anymore. They’re just having fun. That’s Alfa. A lot of what she played was not that easy. Lots of jazz chords, and some intricate melodies and changes. But she glided through them flawlessly. She seemed to be simply enjoying the ride.
Performance: This concert, celebrating the artist’s 10th year in Los Angeles, was done on Zoom and Facebook Live simultaneously. The technology, she admitted, “is not my friend.” On one beautiful song, a Zoom viewer did not have his mic muted and was coughing and clearing his throat loudly. At times, Garcia seemed preoccupied with following comments in the chat stream and responding to as many as possible. “Oh my God! Jack! It’s been ages! How are you? It’s so good to see you!” (Pause to read comments.) “Yeah, I know! right?” A little bit of that goes a long way. The “winging it” approach with free-form patter can be dangerous. It can wander and slow things down. There were moments when she wasn’t sure what song to play next. Still, Garcia's easygoing and comfortable stage presence went a long way toward smoothing things out.
Summary: Philippine-born Alfa Garcia is an accomplished musician and songwriter with great diversity of style and genre. Her music is a joy to listen to. This artist's serious dedication to her craft is masked by her “always having fun” delivery. May cause ear-to-ear smiling.