Harpfest in Chapala

I’d heard about Harpfest for several months. Hints of it; allusions to it. Nothing specific, just that it was coming.

I don’t know about you, but Harpfest conjured up images of angels sitting on clouds, or, at the very least, musicians in well-dressed black garb playing lovely big stringed instruments.

Well, no. This is Mexico and music, like many things, happens in its own way here. And a delightful way it is.

Harpfest happened last Wednesday, starting at 1PM and ending, well, I don’t know when. I had to leave for another commitment late in the afternoon. The site was the Centro Cultural Gonzalez Gallo, otherwise lovingly known as the old train station.

While I was there though, I was treated to a wide array of music. Mostly bands, some with what appeared to be harps; others not.

Some of the harps do resemble what many gringos have been exposed to in the U.S. and Canada. However, the body of the instrument here is often hollow, so it resonates, like a guitar. Other harps here resemble steel guitars and are played with the instrument lying flat and is plucked from above. Here is a brief intro to the history of harps in Latin American and in Mexico.

There was a big crowd for this event. As big as any I have seen in Chapala. And interestingly enough, mostly locals with a smattering of gringos. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the procession of acts across the stage. No one’s spirits were dampened by the surprise rain in the mid-afternoon. Everyone crowded together under the tent and the music went one.

Below I offer a few videos of some of the music. I apologize for the quality of the video. It’s just from my phone. One of these days, I’ll upgrade. For now, I hope you enjoy them and maybe, just maybe, they inspire you to visit.

This was the seventh annual Harpfest. So mark your calendars for next year!


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