Juan Lizh is musican and composer who is passionate about sharing the beauty Colombia with the world. In addition to Juan's own solo work (enjoy the Spanish composition "Bella Trigueña” at the end of this article), he is also one half of When Planets Align. A cosmic creative conjunction between Juan and and Vietnamese-American poet Mark Nguyen, the duo struck up an immediate kinship, musically and professionally, while enrolled in the music business program at UCLA. Releasing via Planet LA Records, their most recent album, The Death of Us, is a melodic pop/rock drama punctuated by an electric guitar extravaganza. Thematically, it represents not only grief and loss, but learning to let go when “what we had and knew” is gone. The collaboration also investigates the psychic shock of losing a relationship that seemed so strong, so authentic, so cosmic. Over the past dozen years, the collaborators have released three albums, Radio Silence (2009), The Universe in Me (2012) and 2019’s Lovers & Angels, which debuted at a release event at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica, California.
What is your favorite word to describe Bogota?
What word best reflects the people of Bogota?
Delightful, like my wife--a Bogota Beauty.
What is the most creative, spiritual or emotional place in Bogota?
Spiritual: Monserrate. A beautiful location, based on the top of the eastern mountains, where you can breathe, imagine and watch the totality of the city.
Emotional: El Parque El Virrey. An amazing park where you can meditate, camp with friends, and play music just in one location.
Creative: La Zona G. A charming neighborhood, with vast with small cafes, restaurants, tattoo joints, bars, and cultural expressions. The perfect place to open up your mind in the city.
What is your favorite outdoor activity in Bogota?
For me, it's practicing martial arts in the different and alluring parks the city has to offer. As a martial artist, I just love to go and do my routine in the different meadows and express myself in these breathtaking locations.
What is your favorite indoor activity in Bogota?
I love the boundless types of restaurants--filled with all types of local cuisine, where you not only enjoy a delicious meal.
What is your favorite sound or noise in Bogota?
Bogota is a metropolis, filled by creative expressions covering all the Colombian musical spectrum. You can find in all the bars and restaurants some type of Colombian folk music playing, and, this for me, is a reminder and a connection with my roots on an everyday basis.
What is your favorite smell or taste in Bogota?
I believe the best taste is Bogotas Ajiaco. It's a traditional soup, made with all the local delicacies and due to Bogota's cold weather. When you taste it, it just gives you a hug and tells you, "welcome home my friend."
What drink best reflects Bogota?
Chocolate Santafereño. Hot chocolate is so famous in Bogota, that it is called “Santafereño,” because we drink it a lot (Bogot's full name is Santafé de Bogota originally). Usually, we eat it with cheese. The cheese goes inside the cup--with a spoon you take it out and then eat it. It's delicious. Coffee is our standard and more precious drink. It reflects the tradition of our best and global product. We totally enjoy it.
What song or type of music best reflects Bogota?
Bogota is pluricultural and you can find all types of music here. You can find metal in one bar and then electronic beats in the other one. Old people listen to the classic romantic sounds of latin ballads, and then they put on Salsa and Vallenato. When I was younger they called me the black llenatero, due to the fact that I listened to black metal and Vallenato and loved them both. And that's the key of music here in Bogota. Lots of genres are combined in a profound and evolving existence.
If Heaven were Bogota, what would God say to a visitor when they arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Welcome to a city full of wonders and adventures. Open your mind and enjoy all we can give.