By Indiana Reed
Special to The PREVIEW
Breakout Latin band Jarabe Mexicano comes to the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College Saturday, Oct. 28, at 7:30 p.m.
The dance floor will be open.
From San Diego, Calif., Jarabe Mexicano is committed to honoring the past while embracing the future. Band members range in age from 18 to 33, and most have grown up living, studying and working on both sides of the U.S-Mexico border, giving them an understanding of the transborder demands and the challenges facing millions who experience cross-cultural lives.
Noted Alejandro Lugo, Ph.D., director of transborder studies, Arizona State University, “They truly are excellent and they bring new ‘blood’ to the musical traditions they perform. Every single one of the musicians is hugely talented.”
Band leader Mario Eguia (who plays the requinto), is a Navy veteran who served in Iraq. He grew up living in the Imperial Valley town of Holtville during the week, and in Baja California Norte’s state capital of Mexicali on the weekends. Intimately familiar with the challenges of working and living between countries, he notes, “As artists, we have the responsibility to entertain as well as to be a voice for our community.”
Lead vocalist Gustavo Alcoser, a San Diego native, moved with his family to Tijuana as a child and crossed daily into San Diego for school and work. He is currently completing an interdisciplinary masters of arts degree in Latin American studies with a focus on transborder identity and its effects on gender, creative processes and artistic performance. Alcoser is passionate about the band’s mission, stressing that, “Jarabe Mexicano strives to build bridges between communities, generations and cultures.”
Jarabe Mexicano is filled out by Kevin Lomes (vihuela/vocals). Born and raised in San Diego, Lomes is currently completing his bachelor’s in music education with an emphasis on classical voice at San Diego State University.
Chris A. Behrens (guitarrón/vocals) is a native of Southbay San Diego and began playing music in middle school, where he took a beginning mariachi class. He continued playing mariachi music at Chula Vista High School and went on to play guitarrón for Mariachi Hidalguense and, later, Mariachi Diamante. Moving to Denver, he played bass and vihuela for various groups before this year returning to San Diego to join Jarabe Mexicano.
Starting on percussion at an early age, Alejandro Tapia (percussion/guitar) studied classical guitar at Southwestern College and San Diego State University’s School of Music and Dance. With deep roots in Tijuana, Tapia participated in the operatic Ensamble Lirico Juvenil de José Medina and played classical guitar in his own Ensamble Luminaria.
Carlos E. Arellano (accordion) spent the majority of his life growing up in Tijuana and felt music as his calling from a young age, specifically the regional music of northern Mexico. He began playing the accordion at age 13, learning completely by ear. At 17, he enrolled in the conservatory Escuela de Música del Noroeste in Tijuana and formalized his technical music skills.
Most of Jarabe Mexicano’s members are now trained educators and have also established strong ties to local community organizations including the City Heights Music School, the Road Scholar Senior Education program and other arts programs throughout San Diego.
View the promotional video of the group’s latest hit song, “Get Up, Stand Up,” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zV7by9OW-1M.
Jarabe Mexicano is supported by Colorado Creative Industries, WESTAF, the Western Starts Arts Federation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Tickets for Jarabe Mexicano ($15-$22) are available online at www.durangoconcerts.com, by calling 247-7657 or by visiting the ticket office inside the Durango Welcome Center at 8th Street and Main Avenue in downtown Durango. Ticket Office hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All sales are final.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2017, the Community Concert Hall is a not-for-profit, multiuse performance venue located on the campus of Fort Lewis College.
By Indiana Reed