After a spectacular performance by Mexican American singer-songwriter Lila Downs last Saturday evening here in Oakland, California, I decided to spend one more week in the north before returning to Puerto Vallarta. Lila was performing for an annual Day of the Dead celebration held at the historic Paramount Theater, site of many memorable performances in thriving downtown Oakland. The event was hosted by SF Jazz as part of their festival.
With the encouragement of SF Jazz organizers, Lila integrated the dancing of Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company out of Los Angeles and the music of Mariachi Feminil Flores Mexicanas from El Paso, Texas. It made for a vibrant and exciting show where the entire audience of fervent Lila Downs fans sang and danced throughout the performance celebrating Mexico’s reverence for its deceased loved ones with songs like “Son de los Difuntos.” Lila is so masterful a communicator that you don’t have to understand Spanish to enjoy her imaginative interpretations of great Mexican classics as well as dazzling deliveries of her original compositions. All of the costumes were incredible! I especially enjoyed those of the Chinelos, traditional folkloric characters from the state of Morelos, as they danced El Brincón.
Speaking of this great Tradition, I look forward to the ART VallARTa Day of the Dead celebration with art and music in the street starting Friday, October 25, from 6 to 9 PM. If you didn’t see the article last week (La Noche De Alebrijes – “’Til Death Does Us Art”) in the Vallarta Tribune, look it up! I think it will be a winner.
Unable to be two places at once, I missed the extraordinary music performed at Babel Bar’s Latin Festival in honor of Día de la Raza on October 12, but my good friend KC kept me in the loop with stunning videos of the celebration. Everyone was great, but Moruno with Roberto Falcon on bass and “Jimmy Jaguar” Jaime Ramon on percussion especially enthralled guests until well past closing time with inspired deliveries of jazz manouche (French Gypsy jazz in the tradition of Django Reinhardt) along with captivating variations of Mediterranean themes. Sorry to have missed that!
I hear everyone is preparing inventive Halloween costumes, and anticipate being back in town in time to see them even though I am not very good at dressing up! Between that and Day of the Dead, we have a lot to celebrate.
Apparently, Los Bambinos are back in action for the season. Immer Morales of the Bambinos has announced delicious breakfasts at Trattoria Los Bambinos with tempting photos on Facebook. Their regular dining and entertainment schedule should start up again soon! Enjoying performances by Los Bambinos, locally celebrated for their wonderful harmony and versatile nightly performances, has become a popular tradition in Puerto Vallarta. I will be there soon for my favorite—Latin Fiesta night every Friday!
See you all soon!
For more details, visit my website vallartasounds.com.