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An accidental music encounter: Mary’s Island

I missed the band I was looking for, but found my fav local rising band instead

Saturday night I went to Moma’s Musical  Bar in the next town to see the Los Pretty Boys only to find out that the poster I had seen was wrong – they were on Friday night. Oh well, a free Saturday night.  So I checked to see what else was going on .

Not much. Oh , there was music, not just much that I wanted to write about. Mostly cover bands, both Mexican and Gringo. Mr. Mitch was serving up  micheladas and great tacos to the beat of the very lovely and talented DJ Panda, celebrating her third year there. But I was looking for bands, so I swung over to El Camaleon, where I usually see the Tekila Blues band, but they were off  that night so the only thing going on was drinking.

DJ Panda at Mr. Mitch’s

La Mescaleria, home of experimental rock and 60 brands of mescal, had been shut down for violating noise and curfew regs (they did get a bit rowdy at times) and the county has not yet given them their license back. Merakis was on vacation and I did not feel like driving  to the Chapala clubs or the 27 miles to Guadalajara, so I was thinking of packing it in.

As I came to the end of the tourist area on Colon street and started to turn at the Malecon – the boardwalk along the lake – I heard a familiar song. It was one of my favorite local rising bands, Mary’s Island. They were playing at Mariscos Peter, a huge, dimly lit, tourist fish restaurant on the Malecon, which I had never been to because, well, it’s for tourists. I parked and headed inside to the music.

I talked about Mary’s  Island in IndiePulseMusic back  in June (https://bit.ly/3C9v0H3). There is no Mary – the lead singer is Fernandra Prara, backed by  Alvaro Medeles, Israel Angulo and Kevin Real. They are a recently formed local band made up of players I know who congealed around Fernandra’s vocals, song writing and guitar and keyboard skills. I like them because in a short time, they have melded into a tight band that can go from tourist covers to lilting original songs – all done with a youthful joy. No  lights, fireworks, razzle-dazzle – just great music.

When I walked into the restaurant, there they were, setup beneath a giant wagon wheel, crooning Beatles songs with their usual smooth smile (Fernandra can make a song smile!). When I sat down at a table in front of them, ordered a reposado and Coke chaser, and hauled out my camera, she gave  me a big grin and snuck in an original song.

Here’s the thing; breaking into the music business is really, really hard. Over 60K songs go up  on Spotify every day. A young band with only 1 recorded original song (they are recording  an album) has to work very hard and be very good to even have a chance. And then they have to think they have a chance.

As I said, Fernandra can make a song smile, and that makes her stand out and makes the band stand out. I am going t follow them and see if they rise about the noise. They have already built a following that has grown past friends and family. And their first song “Dreams” has collected over 12,000 streams in just a few weeks.  I am looking forward to the album. Stay tuned.

Next week, Mexican pianist Kristine Trejo

Patrick O’Heffernan

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About Patrick O'Heffernan, Music Sin Fronteras (400 Articles)
Patrick O’Heffernan, PhD., is a music journalist based in Mexico, with a global following. He focuses on music in English and Spanish that combines rock and rap, blues and jazz and pop with music from Latin America, especially Mexico like cumbia, banda, son jarocho, and mariachi. He is also edits a local news website and is a subeditor of a local Spanish language newspaper. Check out his weekly column Music Sin Frontera on Sunday nights.

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