Category Archives: Personal Narrative

Garzón-Montano Impresses with Jardín


Jardín by Gabriel Garzón-Montano was released on January 27, 2017 on iTunes, Spotify, and Google play. Born from a Colombian father and a French mother, Garzón-Montano is a singer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist from New York. The violin, bass guitar, drums, and guitar are among some of the instruments he plays.

In Jardín, Garzón-Montano fuses and weaves funk, soul, and Latin sounds into his music. The sounds for each song range from heavy bass guitar to an accompany of string instruments. Each sound is a representation of his identity and his upbringing in a multicultural household.  The lyrics and song titles of this album contain vivid imagery and metaphors. For example, in “Sour Mango”, the second song in the album, Garzón-Montano sings about picking a red, green, and ripe mango from a tree on top of a hill and tasting it. The mango turns out to be a nasty, sour mango and represents how life can be nasty like a sour mango. “I’m tired of sour mangoes, give me something sweet” is one of lyrics that represents being tired of having merciless luck in life and wanting a change.

The themes that are present in the album include love, struggle, life uncertainty, and hope. “Cantiga” is similar to “Six Eight”, a song from his first album that was sampled by Drake, in that it slowly churns, but always feels like it’s growing even though there aren’t an overabundance of elements at play. It is heavily influenced by R&B instruments and sounds.The word cantiga itself means “music consisting of one musical line, without accompaniment”. It shows Garzón- Montano’s ability to create something engaging with minimal add-ons. This song is simple, has little instrumentation, yet is beautiful to listen to.

The second to last song “My Balloon” sends a message of hope to its listeners by providing a metaphor that describes a balloon as an object that will take a person higher and to happiness. The sounds in this track resemble 60’s and 70’s psychedelic music much like music that the Bee Gee’s produced. It contains a heavy guitar bass line, sounds that resemble spaceships and sirens, and high pitched vocals.

The word Jardín, in both Spanish and French, translates to Garden in English. Throughout the album, Garzón-Montano paints a picture of a life with hardships and sadness and at the end describes happiness, hope, and growth within himself. The title is a perfect fit for the themes and representations it contained.

Garzón-Montano created a beautiful image and story with his music. He appeals to the audience by being honest and transparent about his life. His music and lyrics represent cultural and mental state information about his personal life. This might be a reason why people enjoy listening to him and what makes him stand out from other musicians. Being able to connect with the audience is important and Garzón-Montano accomplished this. The imagery and metaphors create vivid imagery that help his audience understand the themes and messages throughout the album.  Garzón-Montano’s album is truly a work of art.

This album deserves to get a “yaaaaas!” from its listeners!



Becoming An English Communications Major

“Dear Diary,

Yesterday, I turned fifteen years old. In my culture, when a girl turns fifteen we have a party called a “Quinceanera”. It is a coming of age ceremony.  Yesterday, I received and got to wear my first pair of high heels. I’m short and they made me feel powerful because I was finally tall. If I could, I would wear them every day to feel powerful…”

This was part of my last entry that I wrote in a diary I had kept since I was ten years old. For five years, I wrote down memories, feelings, and thoughts into a Lisa Frank diary.  I remember writing about buying my first lipstick, having my mom buy me my first bra, my first kiss, etc. Most entries in the diary were memories that made me feel like I was growing up.

I stopped writing in it towards the middle of my sophomore year in high school. That was the year that I got my first job. In the morning, I would go to school, then attend soccer practice, and go to work at 6:30. This was the routine I followed until the last week of my senior year. It became hard to keep up with my diary.

When I got to Armstrong, being a first generation college student, I had no idea what academic future to create for myself. I chose a major that did not interested me, but would provide me the most money in the future. I grew up in a lower class household with a single mother. She always wanted me to be a doctor, lawyer, or anything that would pay above six figures.

That is why for my first academic year I was a declared biology major and took thirty-six credit hour. I hated it. I spent all day studying for exams in which I could not get A’s in. I knew I needed a change.

Before my sophomore year, I decided I was going to have to switch majors. So, I started thinking about subjects that interested me. I thought about my childhood and how I would always excel in my writing and literature classes. I thought back to the diary I used to write in every day. It occurred to me that I liked writing. I just didn’t know what type of writing I liked to do. Thoughts like those made me decide to switch my major to English Communications.

When declaring an English Communications major, a person must choose one out of the four tracks in communications: Creative writing, Journalism, films studies, or technical communications. Neither creative writing or film studies caught my attention, so I decided to give Journalism a try.

In Spring 2016, I took a speech communications and a newswriting course. I found it interesting that both had similarities. In speech and news writing I was taught to introduce the “lead” at the beginning of a presentation or story. As I kept practicing this type of writing, I developed a penchant for it.

At the end of the semester, I received an A for both courses. I put in a lot of effort in both courses not only for the grade, but because I was genuinely interested in the material being taught. That is when I had the sudden realization that I enjoy writing non-fiction. I like writing about how-to do things. I like to inform people on current events and news. I like to write about new places opening around town. I like to write about my surroundings.

People say curiosity and experiences make a great journalist. It may be true. I am always looking to learn from my surroundings and experiences. Once I experience something (good or bad). I want to remember it forever. Currently, I do this by journaling like I did when I was ten and by writing for newspapers. Writing non-fiction allows me to record the experiences of others and mine. This is why I am an English Communications major with a focus in Journalism.