Multi Latin Grammy-winner Fonseca has been described as one of the easiest artists to like and one of the most difficult to categorize. Colombian born and educated at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, the singer-guitarist, who now lives in Miami, began his career in rock.
As he evolved as an artist, his music grew to include elements of Colombian “Tropipop,” as well as a variety of other sounds from ranchera to salsa and even classical. Lighting designer Churry Lafuente reflects Fonseca’s diverse musical message in light on the artist’s current Conexión tour, thanks to some help from a collection of Chauvet Professional fixtures provided by rental company Línea Estratégica.
Lafuente, who began designing for the international superstar almost three years ago during the Ilusión tour, created an intense, bright and very flexible rig for the multi-national tour, which is in support of Fonseca’s top five Conexión album. A triumph in musical fusion, Conexión is, in the words of its creator, “an album with many worlds.”
The lighting design for the current tour captures the mood of these musical worlds, whether it’s represented by a ranchera style song that features a unique tuba opening, or a hot dance tune. Lafuente was able to put this varied mix of music to light through his careful selection and placement of fixtures. “For me quality is always more important than quantity when adding fixtures to the rig,” he said.
Lafuente has put together a well-appointed rig for the Conexión tour. He is using 20 Nexus 4×4 COB LED panels and 24 Next NXT-1 moving LED panels, as well as an impressive collection of moving washes, beams and spots, including 12 Legend 230SR Beams. The Nexus panels and the moving fixtures are being flown on two V-shaped truss lines that span the width of the stage. Ten Nexus panels are front mounted on each side of the back line of truss. Moving fixtures hung from the bottom of the truss are interspaced among the Nexus panels. The remaining moving fixtures are positioned on the frontline truss.
Having the fixtures in this double V configuration draws attention to the center of the stage and helps frame the artist. It also gives Lafuente a broad lighting palette to match the diversity of Fonseca’s music. For example, the LD has been able to cross the stage with sharp Legend beams from every direction for high-energy songs. He is also able to create evocative looks by saturating the stage with light from the overhead Nexus panels.
“I love the Nexus and Next NXT-1 for color purity,” said Lafuents, who is controlling his Conexión rig using a grandMA2 console. “I also love these fixtures for their output. In fact, I had to make a master group for limiting the intensity to 25% because they are so bright. I also like the Legends because they are quick and their motors don’t jump at low speeds.”
Lafuente positioned the Next NXT-1 panels on four truss trees, each with three cross T branches. He has two of the moving LED panels on each branch. The panels on the middle branches are spaced further apart than those on the upper and lower branches. This allows the LD to achieve a circle effect when all of the panels are turned on. He also uses this configuration to create mesmerizing chase scenes on the trees, which themselves are arranged in a semi-circle on the upstage riser.
The patterns displayed on the tree-mounted NXT-1s varied to reflect the different moods of Fonseca’s songs. Sometimes the panels served as a subtle backdrop; at other times they enlivened the stage with their intense output and rapid movements, all the while supporting the music of an artist who is a master at weaving different genres into his work.
For his part, Lafuente is grateful for the opportunity to push the creative envelope. “I thank Fonseca for putting his music in my hands,” said the LD. “It is an honor and responsibility to dress up and give life to his show. I feel privileged to be a part of this tour.”