iLe Is Redefining the Great American Songbook at Lincoln Center

Lead Photo: Photo by Cesar Berrios. Courtesy of the artist
Photo by Cesar Berrios. Courtesy of the artist
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Who says the Great American Songbook has to stay full of songs by old blanquitos? Not iLe. In an effort to reimagine what gets called the “canon” in America, Lincoln Center has invited the Boricua songstress to join their American Songbook series — and she takes the stage tonight, February 12.

iLe, or Ileana Cabra, has a performance that’s slated to span “a varied tapestry of songs that expose the poetry and strength of this multilingual, multitalented star,” as per Lincoln Center’s ticketing page. Translation: iLe is bringing her brand of nostalgic stardom to a series that, five years ago, had still not seen its first Spanish-language artist.

Lincoln Center, to their credit, is upping diversity efforts. When the venue kicked off it’s American Songbook series back in 1999 with Broadway and Tin Pan Alley-focused programming, its featured artists — from the Gershwins, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers and Cole Porter — fit neatly with the venue’s local Upper West Side crowd. Yet these days, the American Songbook series has expanded their definition of the popular music canon to include the likes of Talib Kweli and, yes, former conscious rap group Calle 13 member, iLe.

iLe, who is currently off of on her Almadura tour, is finally stopping by New York City for tonight’s concert. Her American Songbook show is set to take place at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Appel Room, a swanky fifth-floor space on Columbus Circle. The Puerto Rican star will perform to a nearly (!) sold-out crowd in a music hall that boasts a nighttime skyline view of Central Park South, thanks to its glamorous floor-to-ceiling windows. Only the best for la mas iLevitable.

A handful of tickets are still on sale at the time of writing for $75.00. If you want to support iLe as the next initiate of the  American Songbook series at Lincoln Center, check the link for purchase here.