So you or yours have decided to pack it all in for the winter, grab that guitar, and hit the road.
Now here you are under the sunny skies of Mexico looking to “live the dream.” You walk into a local bar and discover many new friends have the same idea. Everyone is waiting his or her turn to get up and sing with the local band. Mexico can be the land of dreams come true. Singing and playing music is at the heart of Mexican culture so there is no shortage of opportunity to share those long-lost skills.
Walk in to a local “Open Mic” and you’ll be surprised at the talents on display from all over the world.
Barra de Navidad, Villa Obregon and San Patricio/Melaque offer unique opportunities for all performance types from guitar player/singer songwriters to jazz enthusiasts to blues lovers, or rock and roll bands willing to share the stage. Some clubs even offer instruments and P.A. systems that will give your sound that professional edge.
There are rules though. You will need to sign up, and be ready in most cases to perform up to three songs. Unlike karaoke, you will likely be playing with a band of professional musicians whose skill set includes building and supporting the confidence levels of all would-be performers.
Bands such as Chido Rivera feature incredible expertise in all styles of music with ease. They welcome “jammers” on Sunday evenings in Melaque at a well-known venue called Albatros. Be prepared to play with some of the best and most competent jazz players in the area. Don’t be intimidated. Chido is a group of nice guys willing to support you.
Open Mic Friday nights at La Oficina are eagerly anticipated by many acoustic performers as the season rolls forward. Show up at La Oficina prepared to play or sing your set in the beautiful atmosphere of their palapa restaurant. Meet Aaron and Juliana, the owners, experience songsters and storytellers from around world. Recently, Aaron has acquired a Yamaha digital piano, the only one in the area provided to those who want to play. Acoustic instruments that plug in are the norm and the fun includes a “jam” with the whole audience. Hosted this year by Dave Spinks, you are invited to present your covers, or better yet, your original music. You may also give up a piece of the stage to Homer and Bart, Oficina’s pet boxers and mascots. If you’re lucky, three-year old Aaron junior may play his harmonica or dance out a little tune with five-year-old sister Trinity. Located in Villa Obregon, La Oficina has been hosting their open mic for years. Their audience awaits you on Friday evenings at 8 p.m.
Barra de Navidad holds two unique Open Mic opportunities. Take a walk along Av. Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, Barra’s main street by the beach. Ask anyone where they might find Backstage Bar and you will be readily directed to one of the most loved venues in Barra de Navidad. Sometimes dubbed “the home of music,” Backstage Bar’s owner Chynna Glee features area musicians and amazing blues players from across Mexico. Backstage is a great spot where spontaneous jams break out with musicians who have never met and now discover a common love for their craft.
Take a look at Esmeralda’s Open Mic in Melaque on Saturday afternoons at 1 p.m. This one is great fun and is open to everyone. Country music is the flavor of host Jack Connors, but all music is welcomed.
Cabo Blanco’s Thursday Open Mic/Jam combo by the pool starts at 1 p.m. and continues until approximately 4 p.m. (or the last performance). This great outdoor venue, offers swimming, dancing and an atmosphere of sharing. There is a list to sign up, and they even offer an opportunity for you to show up on Wednesday to “rehearse” a song with the band members. Cabo’s musicians play bass, acoustic and or electric guitar, with drums, and most all music tastes are satisfied.
Viva Maria 1910 in Melaque begins its Open Mic at 2 p.m. with hosts Tata Joe and Los Magnificos. If you’re looking to be a part of some Carlos Santana-styled tunes, check this one out and bring your percussion or guitar. A great new concept will start up shortly at Viva Maria 1910. This time it’s for the storyteller as a spoken word open mic on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. Each guest performer will have five minutes to engage and capture your attention.
Barra Galeria de Arte’s first event of the year kicks off with an exhibit featuring the fabulous photography of Jeanne McGee. Her series, Water Dance, depicts the soft movement of ocean waves in an abstract style.
The opening reception will be held Monday. December 11, from 3-6 p.m. at Av. Mazatlan 75. Refreshments will be served. The show runs until December 29.
Villa Obregon is gearing up for another wonderful season of events down here. The first art show is a combined effort scheduled Monday, December 18, 3-6 p.m. at the Ed Gilliam Studio (Calle Esmeralda 32) and Galeria Amiga (Calle Esmeralda 129).
There will be 12 to 16 artists participating, showing paintings, photography, jewelry, bags, rugs, and clothing. Coffee and goodies will be courtesy of Taza Negra and tequila by Señor Gila’s Tequila Girls.