Photo: Wilmer Aburto

Paloma Negra

By Meghan Power

Paloma Negra came to Calgary in September of 2018 from Aguascalientes, Mexico and is quite possibly the only professional regional Mexican performer in Alberta. She sings and composes in several different regional Mexican styles including banda, norteño banda, ranchera, cumbia, country blues, rock and pop.

“Being a female songwriter in Mexico isn’t easy. As an emerging songwriter, it can be hard to find an established singer willing to take a chance on an unknown. When I arrived in Calgary, I decided that I was going to try singing my own songs.” Since she moved to Canada, Paloma has been nominated for Latin Awards Canada, and CBC Music’s Toyota Searchlight. She has toured across the country, performing in Ottawa, Gatineau, Montreal, and Vancouver, and has collaborated with Harley Davidson, for her La Aventurera music video, and created jingles for various companies.


Mi Viejita Chula (My Lovely Old Lady), was written about 10 years ago as a tribute to Paloma’s grandmother, who raised her, but it’s also a tribute to all the aunts, grandmothers and adoptive mothers (blood-related or not), who raise other people’s children as their own: “These are people who recognize the value of these children and give them the affection and love that everyone deserves and needs — this was my grandmother; she gave me the strength and courage to live my dream.” 


Paloma and her manager, Fredy Rivas, both felt that the story of Mi Viejita Chula would make a great music video and they were right. The video currently has more than 29,000 views on YouTube. Paloma credits Rivas with suggesting she work with an animator on the video. Funding from Calgary Arts Development’s (CADA) ArtShare program allowed Paloma to hire and work with Quiriam Pinilla, a professional animator based in England, who brought the memories of Paloma’s grandmother to life. “Pinilla’s animations captured the essence of my grandmother, down to the smallest detail. The clothes are identical to what she wore in real life! And most importantly Pinilla’s animation expresses the tenderness and the love that is at the heart of my song.” 


“The funding from CADA is helping me build and grow my audience in Alberta and to grow as a performer.” Paloma appreciates how English-speaking Canadians and Albertans have embraced her music. “I feel like it resonates with a lot of Canadians who grew up listening to a lot of country music genres.” She also believes in the power of music as a universal language and its ability to introduce people to different genres of music that expand their world. “Making this music video has helped make my music more accessible for English speaking audiences. But also, has strengthened my connection with my Latinx audiences in Canada and Alberta; it reminds them of home and the regional music that they grew up with or that their parents or grandparents listened to. It brings together the strong emotions and connections of family and gives people the strength to keep going and to follow their dreams.”


YouTube video for Mi Viejita Chula