And the Bands Played On in Chapala

June closed with a torrent of music here in Chapala. It’s just been wonderful.

Back to our favorite venue here, the Centro Cultural Gonzalez Gallo.

On Thursday night we were delighted by the last in a series of recitals by students from the University of Guadalajara’s prestigious music department. The young lady who played did a variety of the usual suspects: Bach, Chopin and Beethoven. The Beethoven was delightful and remarkable.

We look forward to the next series of recitals for the University.

Then Friday night, we were treated to a jazz trio.

With jazz, I’m always a little bit leery. My experience with jazz has often been that of a group of musicians on the same stage, each of them playing a different tune.

I know jazz aficionados who love jazz as much as we love rock and roll and opera and classical music.

These young men definitely were on the same page though. The piano spotlighted; then the bass, and the drums. The selections were lively and fun and well, jazzy.

Then on Saturday night, we found our way to a concert that was highlighted in the Guadalajara Reporter (the local English language newspaper).

We saw the announcement of the concert a few weeks back and decided to give it a go. The performers were Jamara Soto and the Cuarteto Latinoamericano. The Cuarteto are winners of a Latin Grammy award. And to boot, the price was right. Free! Yes, a Grammy winning artist. Okay, we’re there for sure.

We did not, however, know where this theater was. Google Maps showed it as being somewhat North of lakeside and mostly East. About a half-hour from us.

We left early, just in case.

Glad we did.

Alas, driving never ceases to be an adventure in Mexico. We followed Google Maps as assiduously as possible but sometimes it and we don’t quite communicate. In this case, it wanted us to take a slight right and we ended up on a retorno and then a small town of narrow streets to navigate. Definitely a wrong turn.

Getting back on the highway, we were routed right back to the “slight right”. The only choice, other than the one mistake already taken, was a hard right on a barely perceivable road. We gulped and took it. And off into the country we went. We got some spectacular views of Guadalajara and the surrounding countryside before finally winding up in another small town where, thankfully, we arrived at the theatre.

It was a lovely little venue. Comfortable seats; well lit. Seating for maybe 400 to 500. And it mostly filled up.

We were the only gringos.

The quartet played an instrumental and then Jamara Soto joined them for plenty of Sephardic songs.

These were stunningly beautiful. Jamara was radiant and the quartet was both professional and feeling.

You can get a good taste of them here:

I watched a video on the making of the El Hilo Invisible CD. Alas, it was in Spanish and even with the literal translation from YouTube I didn’t get much.

My understanding is that the Sephardic musical tradition was born in a period of time in Spain when the country was ruled by the Moors and the Catholics and Jews formed an uneasy truce against their common enemy. The songs speak of these times, yet with a powerful spiritual overtone.

We’re so grateful we got this little adventure and found a musical treasure at the prize end.

Oh, did I forget to mention that the total cost for three nights of musical delight was $150 pesos (about $7.50 US) for the jazz trio? The recital and Jamara and the quartet were free.

Just sayin’.

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