Bahia World Music Festival 2019 comes to Puerto Vallarta

Jaír Cabrera, the co-founder of the popular Media Luna band, is the man behind the organization of Bahia World Music Festival. His dream is to create a yearly venue to showcase the incredible talent found around Banderas Bay and other parts of Mexico and bring this talent to the attention of an ever-broader audience, making the area a must on music-loving travelers’ itineraries.

Aside from offering music by super talented musical groups, one of Jair’s favorite features of the festival is a competition designed to motivate aspiring young people to realize their potential to become the future generation of musicians in our community and beyond. Contestants need only be under 18 years of age and play any instrument. The inscription is simple, as outlined on the festival website. There are cash prizes too! Finalists will perform at the festival, and members of the musical community will decide on the winners.

To anyone who follows my articles, it will come as no surprise that I am looking forward to two days of music played by some of my favorite local musicians. Since I first heard each of these groups, I have been amazed at their talents and ever-increasing creativity. Each of them brings its element to the program from the Flamenco music of Tatewari, the Mediterranean and jazz manouche of Moruno, the incredible Gypsy rumba and Latin fusion of Media Luna to the Brazilian jazz of Trem de Minas.

I am also very excited to see and hear the groups that will be visiting us from other parts of Mexico. It is a real privilege to have Pedro Dabdoub with us for this, our first, Bahia World Music Festival. Among his many achievements, he put together several collections of music for a record label, which was mostly responsible for my exposure to World Music, Putumayo.

Pedro Dabdoub was born in Mexico City in 1970 and moved to France at an early age, where he received an extensive education in classical music, mastering a variety of instruments. Returning to Mexico after his years in Paris and later Argentina, Pedro turned to more popular music, jazz, new age, and other creative forms.

He composed music for film and telenovelas. Famous performers like Alejandro Fernandez recorded his music. He produced and compiled new age and folk music for record labels like Putumayo. He is a recipient of numerous awards and celebrated for his contributions to education and many creative projects.

His latest project, Jazzpango, is described as stemming “from different musical streams that are characterized by improvisation – such as jazz, rock, rumba flamenco and huapango” and creating a “surprising, exciting and hypnotic language and environment.” Jazzpango is the group he brings to our festival in its inaugural year.

YaYa Fuentes holds a particular interest for me because of my Peace Corps experience in her native country, Chile, and exposure to the music that came out of the tumultuous period from which she and her family fled. Add to that her mastery of the very rare musical instrument, the hang drum, which in addition to being so singular, she learned to play in Switzerland while living with the family who created it. It will be thrilling to watch her as she gracefully extracts magnificent sounds from this extraordinary musical instrument.

I adore the carefree style of the group Caravane and look forward to the vibrant beat of Rabeat, who will have us all on an imaginary dance floor throughout their performance.

The elegant setting of Oscar’s Tequila Distillery, where the festival will take place, is the icing on the cake. With the River Cuale on both sides and the lovely Banderas Bay in front, it is doubtful a more delightful setting could be found to spend two days listening to the awe-inspiring sounds produced by these talented musicians. The festival will take place from 5:00 PM to midnight on both Saturday and Sunday. Paco Ojeda will be the MC for the festival.

For more information and tickets visit the festival website worldmusicfestival.mx. Tickets are also available at Oscar’s Restaurant and Babel Bar, both on River Cuale Island.

By: Christie Seeley

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