Amaranta Santos – Singer Extraordinaire
By Kay Davis
Los Cantantes del Lago have made their impact on Lakeside, and one of their many talents is a bi-lingual contralto named Amaranta Santos.
Where did this “larger than life” voice come from? Originally, Mexico City. Amaranta does not understand the fear many of us have of driving there because it is home to her and just another large city. But it is more than that. It is also a place rich with history and of many delights.
It was there that she began singing with her musical family who picked up guitars, swept along with the 60s and 70s music, plus the historical music of Mexico. Amaranta has had few opportunities for formal vocal training, but that magnificent voice projects like that of an opera singer—or folk singer. You can hear her clearly when she sings. Her music embraces the listener.
But it isn’t just the voice that grabs us. Her nuances are subtle: a twist of a fan here, hand on hip there, a raise of the eyebrow, a dance step, or even when a prop drops and she recovers it with a swoop between notes.
Who is this woman who entertains us with her personality as well as her voice? For one thing, she is young. Her uncle invited her to move Lakeside, a job assured with a real estate company that needed her talents, maturity and “savoir faire.” The real estate market has been sluggish this year, but Amaranta has kept it going and entertained us at the same time.
Raised in the capital of Mexico, Amaranta went on singing tours around the United States, showcasing not only some of Mexico’s music but its culture, as well. Later, she became administrator for a circus that was based in Los Angeles, California. A circus with the “big top.” Amaranta’s job was to get permits for the animals, veterinarian certificates, temporary business permits, etc. needed to put up the big tent.
The big cats were especially temperamental. Beautifully cared for, they were magnificent animals but they needed daily walks, opportunities for play and mental challenges.
There were also four elephants who loved the owner of the circus as if he were part of their own family. Elephants form strong family bonds. Once, when a female became seriously ill, the owner remained in the stall with her, giving her medicine, water and whatever nourishment she could take. When he finally dozed off, exhausted but afraid of what he would find if he fell asleep, he was awakened by a gentle tap of the elephant’s trunk on his cheek. She had made it through the crisis and was showing him her gratitude.
For Amaranta, such moments added to her understanding of the quality of life we share with others, all others. The border may present cultural challenges but we are, at heart, more similar than different.
Since Mexico is my adopted home, I am glad to see the border turning slowly into a dotted line. In my experience, Mexicans such as Amaranta have welcomed me and so many of my culture to share the joy they offer us.
Mucho gusto, Amaranta. It is my pleasure to have met you and to hear you sing.