A couple of years ago after a wonderful concert in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, I was able to sit down with Esaú Galván, a classically trained Spanish guitarist, and chat about his childhood, his career as a master Flamenco guitarist, and his plans for the future.
When Esaú was a boy, La Cruz was primarily a fishing town. As a youngster, Esaú accompanied his father, sometimes for a week at a time, on fishing trips for his business. The town, he told me, was quite different in those days as the Marina had not yet been built. According to him, it was a tranquil, close-knit, and wonderful place to grow up. The construction of the Marina actually required landfill all the way up to the spot where the residents used to enjoy sunsets, the waves, and a swim at the beach. Much has changed but the town maintains a peaceful yet vibrant atmosphere fed by the sailboats and tourists attracted to the marina and the fine restaurants and music.
Esaú studied with well-known guitarist Wolfgang (Lobo) Fink, a master Flamenco guitarist who achieved world recognition with Willie Royal as Willie and Lobo. When Lobo was living in La Cruz, Esaú met and began studying with him. Lobo awakened a love for flamenco guitar in Esaú that has not left him. He took classes in Guadalajara, studied music at the University in Tepic, and was eventually able to travel to Spain to study flamenco guitar with a maestro at the Academia Cañarroto El Entri in Madrid. Esaú recounted with fondness his experiences, stories of his fellow students from around the world, and his impressions of Madrid and Granada during his fruitful three-month stay.
In 2006 Esaú and lifetime friends Dani Márquez and Alberto “Mimi” Ramirez formed the group Tatewari meaning grandfather fire in the Huichol language and tradition. Canadian friend and artist Sonny Davis joined them in 2011 bringing an added element to the band. When they were starting out, all the young men had were talent, their guitars, and Dani’s old Volkswagen which got them to their playing gigs around southern Nayarit.
Esaú now keeps very busy with concerts and private events both as a solo artist and accompanied by his partners of Tatewari and other talented artists from the area. Concerts with his mentor Lobo in 2018 and 2019 were a very special recognition of the relationship between the mentor and student of previous years. There are several CDs produced by the duo. Esaú and his group Tatewari have also produced 4 high-quality CDs of their original music. They are sought after at local venues, producing sold-out concerts both in La Cruz and Puerto Vallarta, and are repeat special participants in popular festivals including the renowned San Pancho Music Festival. They were featured at the first Bahia World Music Festival held in Puerto Vallarta in 2019. In the Fall of 2019, the group accomplished their goal of a successful tour of Western Canada.
Is it fame and fortune Esaú is after? Well, maybe, but when I asked him what his dreams for the future were he did not hesitate. “To play”, he said without a second thought. Let’s all make this dream come true and share the magic of Esaú’s talent on guitar, his compositions, and music with the rest of the world whether at a private event or on a concert stage!
By Christie Seeley