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Barra de Navidad & Melaque Journal - February 25, 2017

More than just music 

Melaque and Barra de Navidad are attracting a heartswell of players of all styles and genres of music, from all corners of the globe.

Locals banding with visitors and expats are developing something very special in this community. 

Area musicians now affectionately refer to Melaque and Barra as “Music Towns” – perhaps in the hope that one day they might achieve a similar status to Mexico’s famous “Magic Towns.”

The power of music is more than just creating a fun time – many musicians are performing not simply for their own enjoyment, but for the “good” of others. 

Thursday afternoons at Barra’s Hotel Cabo Blanco is a perfect example.  Countless players, professional and non-professional, join in to be part of the fun but they’re actually part of something much more profound. The Thursday event has officially been named “Musicians for Education.” For the past many weeks these players have combined with BECCAS por Barra, the local organization that is selling draw tickets for their “Chase the Ace” fundraising event. Some Canadians may remember the contest held in Lourdes, Newfoundland and Labrador that raised nearly $C500,000 for the Lion’s Club. 

Patrons of this area’s most popular event sit by the Cabo Blanco Pool on Thursday afternoons from 1 p.m., enjoying the music, and participating in the opportunity to win some cash. 

Music styles range from blues to reggae with performances from guest guitarists, drummers, keyboardists, singers and songwriters. The nucleus band consists of Paul Bourassa from Alaska on drums; Scott Pettigrew from Ontario on bass, and yours truly, Doug Pettigrew, from Ontario on guitar, hosting the event and coordinating the music. 

Proceeds help to fund further education for eligible area students. The power of the music assists in allowing these students to reach their dreams. 

More worthy causes

Musicians from the area are always willing to step up and be a part of these events by offering their time and talents for worthy causes. This underscores why many tourists are showing up in the “Music Towns” of Barra and Melaque. 

Well-known Barra de Navidad restaurant Sea Master held a musical fundraiser in partnership with Cihuatlan’s CIA – Centro de Iniciación Artística, bringing together dancers and musicians in a beautiful presentation by the oceanside on Saturday, February 18. Monies raised helps these young enthusiastic dancers toward their goal of traveling to a national competition in Cancun. Thanks to Sea Master for creating this wonderful and unique evening.

On Sunday, February 19, one of our area’s most recent heartfelt efforts, Funds for Chica, spearheaded by musicians Rojo, aka Scott Pettigrew and seconded by Paul Bourassa, raised money for an urgent medical procedure. 

Coming forward without hesitation were Marianne and Catharine (aka The Beverly Sisters); guitarist Estephan with bassist Don; guitarist Salvadore; guitarist/songwriter Marc Pettigrew; rockers RC and the Pacemakers; guitarist Rusty Williams; guitarist Marco; singer Jerry the Plumber; guitarist/songwriter Coco; and percussionist Mela. 

Although not all had a chance to perform, they collectively raised more than the goal of 10,000 pesos. A great time was had by all in the spirit of music for a cause.

This week’s Carnaval Costalegre celebrations, an annual event held in the Jardin of Barra de Navidad, features RC and the Pacemakers and Los Otras volunteering their time.

Help needed

Saturday March 4, 1 p.m., Melaque is reaching out and asking the community to participate in another fundraiser that will assist a local musician and music teacher. Miguel Angel Pardo Salas is well loved by all who know him. He recently suffered a severe car accident, and currently requires 24/7 rehabilitation. Funds are being raised by donations of new and gently used clothing items and accessories which will then be sold for 50 pesos each. Miguel Angel and his family thank you for being part of this event taking place at the Ed Gilliam Studio, Calle Esmeralda 32, in Villa Obregon.

Mario Montalvo

Born in Guadalajara, Mario Alberto Gutiérrez Montalvo is one of the area’s most popular and generous musicians. Often paired with his dear friend David Webber (Elvis), these two are are powerhouse when it comes to drawing a crowd and raising funds.

Mario’s father was a guitarist who died when he was just nine years old. “His legacy for me was music,” says Mario, who took up the instrument at the age of 16. 

 “I decided to dedicate myself to music because I felt a closeness with him.”

Mario’s styles include instrumental-flamenco, gypsy jazz, bossanova, tango, blues, rock and oldies Mexican. 

Mario has composed many of his own songs and has covered some of the world’s best artists. His YouTube cover of the Eagles’ “Hotel California” is sitting at three million views.

Currently with ten gigs per week in and around Manzanillo and Melaque, Mario never fails to wow his audience.