Zihuatanejo Guitar Festival and Mexico Tour

 

I spent the month of March on tour in Mexico and it was absolutely wonderful.
I started out in the beautiful colonial city of Guanajuato and was honored
to be invited to perform with the early music group “Los Tiempos
Pasados” in a concert for the governors of all the states of Mexico.
The concert took place in a beautiful setting in the garden of a luxurious
hotel. I played dulcimer and the musicians in the group coached me on
the fly through all the changes in the music. The governors loved it (they
kept sending up shots of some rather fine tequila to the stage) and the
group wound up being booked for five more concerts in various states around
Mexico.

Next up was my own concert at the Museo Iconografico (also in Guanajuato)
which is a museum dedicated to art works based on the theme of Don Quijote.
They host a year-round concert series in their sculpture-filled atrium.
It turned out to be one of the most enjoyable concerts I’ve ever given.
The leader of Los Tiempos Pasados, Armando Lopez Valdivia, joined me on
several numbers playing on eight of the instruments from his collection
of over one-hundred and twenty. The audience was quiet, focused and very
attentive and the combination of a beautiful setting, a great guest musician
and a supportive audience made it an experience to remember.

The Zihuatanejo International Guitar Festival turned out to be another
unforgettable event. The festival is a fund raiser for arts education
programs for under priveledged kids in the Zihuatanejo area. It brought
together twenty-four guitarists from Mexico, Canada, Great Britain and
all parts of the United States to give a series of more than thirty concerts
in venues all over the town. I was greatly inspired by hearing so many
fantastic players from so many genres of music. I gave three concerts,
the first in a ritzy restaurant with a breathtaking view overlooking Zihuatanejo
bay. The audience was mostly well-to-do americans that had to drop a hefty
donation to the cause to attend the event but, I must say, they were very
well-behaved. The second show was in a restaurant/bar that was much more
casual and attended by folks that really wanted to hear guitar music.
A dozen guitarist each played 25 minute sets, making for a long but constantly
intriguing concert. My third and final set was in the closing concert
in the “zocalo” or town center (it’s actually right on the beach).
They set up a large stage with a giant video screen like in a rock show
to give close-ups of the guitarist’s fingers. Someone estimated the attendance
at 2,000. That’s hard to judge but there sure were a lot of folks there,
almost all Mexican locals. I left Zihua tired but inspired by all the
fine players that I got to meet, listen to and jam with. You can see more
photos at the Zihuafest website photo
gallery
.

Playing some dulcimer during my set at El Pueblitoduring Zihuafest. Same show – Jamming with (from left) Michael Lewis, Ricardo Sweatt Rodriguez, me, Brook and Neil C. Young

 

Mexico Tour

4/8/06

Well, the Mexico tour was absolutely wonderful. I started out in
the lovely colonial city of Guanajuato and was honored to be asked
to perform with the early music group “Los Tiempos Pasados”
in a concert for the governors of all the states of Mexico. We performed
in a beautiful setting in the garden of a five star hotel. I played
dulcimer and the musicians in the group coached me on the fly through
all the changes in the music. The governors loved it and the group
wound up being booked for five more concerts in various states around
Mexico.

Next up was my own concert at the
Museo Iconografico (also in Guanajuato) which is a museum dedicated
to art works based on the theme of Don Quijote. They host a year-round
concert series in their sculpture-filled atrium. It turned out to
be one of the most enjoyable concerts I’ve ever given. The leader
of Los Tiempos Pasados, Armando Lopez Valdivia, joined me on several
numbers playing on eight of the instruments from his collection
of over one hundred and thirty. The audience was quiet, focused
and very attentive and the combination of the beautiful setting,
great guest musician and supportive audience made it an experience
to remember.

The Zihuatanejo International Guitar Festival turned
out to be another unforgettable event. The festival is a fund raiser
for arts education programs for underpriviledged kids in Zihuatanejo.
It brought together twenty-four guitarists from Mexico, Canada,
Great Britain and all parts of the United States to give a series
of over thirty concerts in venues all over the town. I was greatly
inspired by hearing so many fantastic players from so many genres
of music. I played three concerts, the first in a ritzy restaurant
with a breathtaking view overlooking Zihuatanejo bay. The audience
was mostly well-to-do Americans that had to drop a hefty donation
to the cause to attend the event but they were actually very well
behaved. The second show was in a restaurant/bar that was much more
casual and attended by folks that really wanted to hear guitar music.
A dozen guitarists each played 25 minute sets, making a long but
intriguing concert. My final set was in the closing concert in the
basketball court in the “zocalo” or town square (it’s
located right on the beach). They set up a large stage with a giant
video screen like in a rock show to give close-ups of the guitarist’s
fingers. Someone estimated the attendance at 2000. That’s hard to
judge but there sure were a lot of folks there, almost all Mexican
locals. I left Zihua tired but inspired by all the fine players
that I got to meet, listen to and jam with.

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