From the Mountains to the Sea—A Musical Journey

Coming off a fun filled weekend of incredible music and great company and looking forward to another, I am rushing to get this little review off to the Vallarta Tribune that so generously publishes these articles so you, our readers, can stay up to date on musical happenings!

Last Saturday I had the good fortune of attending a musical retreat hosted by Tree House Bar of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle in the picturesque mountain town of San Sebastian del Oeste.  The program featured the exciting music of the full band of the group Media Luna.  Joining brothers Caleb and Jair Cabrera and their cousin Gibran were the Renteria brothers from Queretaro, Julio and Armando, on voice, bass and percussion, and talented guest accordionist Gilio from Colombia.

The incredible concert was followed by two wonderful encores demanded by the enthusiastic crowd. Around a welcoming bonfire after the show, several of the guests played guitar and sang accompanied by the others and, to their delight, by the cheerful Caleb Cabrera of Media Luna who joined them on guitar. Later in the evening singer/guitarist Cheko Ruiz with Daniel Barragan Navarro on trumpet arrived with more lively music.

The celebration went well into the night. Guests were housed in historic hotels around the plaza of the Magical City of San Sebastian del Oeste and enjoyed a succulent dinner of Mari Chuy’s barbecued ribs and joyful conversations with the lovely people who attended the event. It was all I might have expected and more.  Definitely an event to put on your calendars for next year!

Sunday, rolling down the mountain and back to the beach, I visited the charming town of San Pancho just north of Sayulita for their 19th Annual Music Festival.  I arrived at my airbnb room early enough to explore the town and be at the Plaza del Sol just as the music began. The event was community sponsored and entertainers were all top quality. I got there on time for local  banda Ojo de Agua including one of my favorites Charly Peña on flute. They were followed by the rockabilly group the Jokers who had everyone dancing. As a finale they invited visiting bluesman Craig Caffall to join them for some real down home blues.

Tatewari, the group I really came to see, lit up the evening with their fiery flamenco guitar music for the twelfth year in a row and thrilled the audience with original compositions and surprising renditions of familiar classics.  Following their performance there was a tribute to the organizer of the event over the last nine years who retires this year, Chas Eller, founding member of the fusion jazz group Kilimanjaro. 

For me the highlight of the experience were Lobo and Jaguar (Wolfgang Fink and Esaú Galván) who had the crowd going wild with their inspired improvised flamenco guitar and to top it off they invited bluesman Craig Caffall to join them for a one of a kind performance of these three very talented performers.  The interaction was formidable. Three maestros of varying generations spoke to each other in a way only they could. The audience was totally blown away.

With a full weekend like that all I can think about is getting on the bus from San Pancho, arriving home and resting. Not so fast Christie. This week, like all others at this time of year in Puerto Vallarta will be filled with more and more fantastic music opportunities!

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