A person can leave the country, but the country does not leave him. Something similar is happening to singer Oruro Rosario Arce, who has spent more than half her life in Canada. There he gives concerts and presents musical performances with Bolivian voices. Only recently in the North Country did she win Artist of the Year. He has already spent three years collecting awards and in a few days will be presenting his new musical production.
During his childhood he spent hours admiring music programs on radio and television. At the age of 10 he appeared in music competitions, loved singing and endeared himself to the public. Many things have changed since then. But his passion remains the same.
His father, Emilio, and mother, Maria Esther, became his first audience. Then they accompanied her to her first performances and became a fan of the girl. They enrolled her in the Maria Luisa Lucio School of Music and then in the Ballet Catuccia School of Dance. At about the age of ten, he was already beginning to shape his artistic career.
Orureña comments: “Thanks to the fact that I learned to play the piano, at the age of 15 I formed a choir for the children in the neighborhood. They sang children’s songs and I accompanied them on the piano.
His main inclinations were singing. Emilio and María Esther encouraged her presentations and made her custom-sew costumes so she would shine on stage.
She recalls that at a young age she started participating in some talent shows and singing competitions. He won the Student Festival in the Singles category and twice participated in the Charango de Oro Festival where he won the first two places. She recounts: “I was at the Aqui Canta Festival in Bolivia where I was recognized as the best revelation of the year by the media. I met great composers who praised me, among them Nestor Olmos Molina, Oscar Elias Seles and Rogers Becerra Casanovas.”
In the glow of his career, he auditioned for Discolandia and had plans to record an album. Towards the end of the 1980s, he shared the stage with national artists, and made his voice known on radio stations and television channels. He held his first concert in the halls of the Oruro government and when his career was getting stronger, his parents decided to go to new destinations in their lives.
The proposal to register for Discolandia was postponed, as were the presentations.
Canada, a distant sight
Rosario travels back years, to her start in Canada. “Going to a country is not for you like being born again. You have to learn the language to communicate, you have to adapt to a new culture, its laws, its food, its climate. It wasn’t easy for me because I missed my friends at school, my routine, my food and everything I experienced. The important thing is That in Canada I had the support of my parents and I just had to worry about studying.”
Canada has two official languages: French and English. Rosario was in the cities where she spoke both languages; This is why he had to learn French and English in the first years he was away from Bolivia. All this learning was not in vain as he is now fluent in three international languages and when on stage he speaks to the audience in their own language.
Having adapted to the new country, she returned to the stage carrying her roots. “My first performance was at the Drummondville World Festival, in Quebec, where I had the opportunity to sing in front of more than twenty thousand people in the audience,” says the artist, who is also a mother.
At that first concert, Rosario recalls, the Canadian audience did not understand Spanish, but they moved and enjoyed the Bolivian rhythms. Charangos and Panpipes were part of the show.
He explains that his second success in Canada was his participation in a singing audition. She was elected and traveled to Winnipeg, in the Canadian province of Manitoba, where she stayed for a month. The event was organized by the Canadian government and she had the opportunity to sing in English, French, Spanish and Quechua.
In those years I discovered a new passion. “Early in my career, my parents hired designers to make special dresses for me and they did an amazing job, but I still felt like something was missing and I couldn’t tell what it was. Over the years I realized what was lacking was my stamp, my touch in those suits. I decided to start sewing and designing my own clothes,” Rosario tells.
Her mother, as usual, praised the initiative and gave her a mannequin with her measurements. Now, at every presentation, she seeks to show off and design her outfits ahead of time. She leaves nothing to chance, she picks the colors, the textures of the fabrics, makes the cuts and sews her clothes.
Bolivia Out of Bolivia
He has learned to speak both English and French, but the language he is fluent in is the language of nostalgia. Rosario made Bolivian friends in the North American country and also hooked up with a donut with an api.
I have received many awards from Bolivian organizations in Canada, as well as from our Embassy. And so, in 1998, the Bolivian Embassy appointed me as the Bolivian Ambassador of Culture to Canada. The title was conferred before the consuls and ambassadors of other Latin American countries, ”says the artist.
In the past three years, he has enriched his award show with the Latin Awards in Canada. In 2020 I won in the Popular Music category; in 2021 I was nominated in three categories: Best Video, Audience Artist, and Best Female Artist of the Year. I was honored to win in the Female Artist of the Year category. In 2022 I was nominated in four categories and they chose me as the winner for recognition as Popular Artist for this year.
One of the pieces that has given him the most satisfaction lately is Jugaste con mi Corazón, in a sticky sly rhythm. He’s already preparing a new production, Amada Bolivia, which will premiere on March 31. The work is in the rhythm of cueca chapaca, which is dedicated to the country and especially to its history.
“I love and really enjoy singing with all the rhythms that represent our country. All the songs that are part of my repertoire are my favourites. In order to sing, I need to connect with the audience,” Orureña admits.
Of course, the song is Rosario’s mascot. “Las Palmeiras is my mascot. This song has given me a lot of satisfaction in my music career. I had the luxury of winning the International Latin American Song Festival and singing.”
He has been on stage for more than three decades and Las Palmeiras remains his most representative song, which he performs in different parts of the continent. She has been on stages in Canada, Mexico, Chile and Bolivia.
In Bolivia, his musical gifts are also appreciated. In 2021 he was awarded a golden statuette for his music career in Santa Cruz. The Chamber of Deputies of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia recognized his artistic career. In the same year she was named Trinidad’s illustrious guest, after a concert in Beni’s capital.
Whenever he can, he returns to the country. She is like a large palm tree that is inseparable from its roots, so it sings of its nation and of nostalgia.