Journeyman drummer Ian Hoffman moved to Barra de Navidad five years ago after traveling extensively throughout Mexico. He says he is “amazed and excited” by all the talented musicians who now play in the area, including many students from the Instituto Universitario de Bellas Artes de Colima.
Hoffman has been recording, touring and performing for over five decades. Born and raised in Los Angeles, he began playing at the tender age of 12 and was on the road touring as a 20-year-old.
Hoffman was influenced by seeing the Beatles, Buddy Rich and Louie Bellson perform in his early years as a musician. He was also fortunate to have enjoyed strong support from his parents, who were into jazz, big band and Brazilian bossa.
Another one of Hoffman’s first influences was Walter Wonderly, the first Brazilian artist to have a major hit in the United States, with “Summer Samba.” Wonderly became a close friend as he lived with Hoffman’s family for a year during his youth. There were constant jam sessions at the family home, and musicians from Sergio Mendes’ Brazil ‘66 and Herb Albert’s Tijuana Brass frequently dropped by. Hoffman later immersed himself in the Los Angeles music scene and had some modest success while opening for notable musicians such as Bob Dylan. These days, Hoffman finds himself very much in demand, thanks to the great diversity of talented musicians performing in the area.
Check out Hoffman as he plays with part of the Chido Rivera Band every Friday at the Albatros in Melaque. The same band also plays Thursdays and Saturdays at Vainilla Pimienta, and Sundays at the Salamandra Restaurant, both in Melaque. In Barra de Navidad, Hoffman plays with Hugo Becerra on Wednesdays at the Backstage Bar.
Simon & Mike
Here’s another duo of journeyman musicians that you’ll want to follow.
Simone and Mike Lamers have performed in the Costalegre area for more than 12 years. Simone’s history includes a rich jazz and R&B background performing with, and opening for, acts such as the The Ray Brown Trio and The Platters. She also played for many years as a duo with Henry Young, the touring guitarist for Nina Simone.
Mike’s experience is built on blues, funk and folk and he has shared the stage with Juno nominees, Rick Fines and Bill Johnson. This winter season they’ll be playing Thursdays at Pedro’s by the Sea in La Manzanilla, Fridays at Vainilla Pimiento, and Sundays at the Albatros, both in Melaque. They will also play other venues, including Chantli Mare in Boca de Iguanas and Luna y Coyote in Barra de Navidad.
The Backstage Bar
Meanwhile, guitarist Hugo Becerra Dominguez (Santi) can be found every Wednesday night playing at the Backstage Bar in Barra de Navidad, along with Ian Hoffman.
The Backstage Bar is a gem of a place that always has great music and features fun potluck meals on Sunday afternoons. It is located on Av. Miguel Lopez de Legazpi 154 (upstairs) and the owner is China.
A good way to check what bands are playing in the area is to type “Music In Barra & Melaque” into the Facebook search engine.
La Azotea D’ Bar
This is a place I just have to mention. La Azotea D’ Bar (the roof) in Barra de Navidad started when friends of Arturo Herrera Franco would climb up a ladder to hang out on the rooftop of his house.
One day Herrera decided this would be a perfect rooftop bar location and built a palapa there.
La Azotea D’ Bar has been a yacht crew hangout for over 15 years and is managed by Gilberto Grijalba Villaseñor. “The atmosphere is like no other in the area with the palapa covered with hanging t-shirts (signed by yacht crews) from all over the world,” he says.
You will always find a friendly game of pool and reggae playing on the juke box, as well as a cold cerveza or two or three ready for everyone. The house specialty includes lime margaritas. Located at Av. Lopez de Legazpi 152, Barra de Navidad.
Costalegre Rotary Club
The Costalegre Rotary Club in Barra de Navidad has planned a few upcoming fundraisers.
According to President Pat Quinn, this year’s goal is to help local youth in the area. “We are active in supporting and providing funds for local schools and putting our efforts into making sure schools have water for hygienist sanitation on a yearly basis,” she says.
The Costalegre Rotary Club is an English-speaking group made up of expats. The club meets every Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Cabo Blanco Hotel.
Upcoming fundraisers include a dinner/dance/auction on Wednesday, December, 17 at the Cabo Blanco Hotel. There’s also a charity golf tournament on Saturday, January, 24 at the Isla Navidad Golf Club.
For more information on the Rotary Club or fundraisers, contact Quinn at 315-355-8195.