Music is to be enjoyed. Kick back and chill with it.
Sometimes just kicking back with friends and being low key is necessary to put music in perspective.
After a week of the Mariachi Festival and then the International Jazz Day (weekend) and the videos and stories that went with them, I needed a low key night of music that I don’t need to report on, review, photograph, or video – I just enjoy it.
A couple of friends of mine, Christy Carter Caudwell and Kristine Handgen were singing at the La Estación Sourdough Pizza and Bakery in Riberas del Pilar for a night of Broadway and classics. They were appearing as the Non-name Duo – i.e. just a couple of friends who happen to be professional singers having fun harmonizing. No rehearsals, no tickets, no backup band. Just two very good entertainers and a computer and speaker. And no tripods or lights or professional camera for me. Just my cellphone and (not great) l available light.
La Estación is not small. The venue had an opera singer down from Guadalajara last week and filled 90 chairs. The restaurant itself is only a few tables but it is in front of a huge empty space that the owners can open up for big audiences. But Saturday night the audience was about 15 people – half them friends and family of the owners – just right for chilling.
While we sipped drinks and munched pizza, Christy and Kristine treated us to Cabaret, Blue Skies, Stormy Weather, Night and Day, Mambo Italian, Crazy and many more classic crooners – my parents music. Sometimes the computer gave them the right accompaniments, sometimes it didn’t. No matter; we all just laughed and clapped. My wife even got up and sang “When You’re Good to Mama” from Chicago (not my parents’ music).One of the Mexican women, who also happens to be a great singer, got up and belted a rocker in Spanish.
Each time a singer did a good job (and almost every song was a great job) someone rang one of the three fire bells scattered around the restaurant amid applause and cheers.
Christy Carter Caudwell is unstoppable. Her long and distinguished career in music keeps on trucking as she produces, directs and sings in Broadway reviews, cabarets, charity concerts and of course, at La Estación. Kristine is right there with her, when she is not fronting for a rock band, or singing and dancing in musicals. Together they are planning a fundraising musical revue at the lakeside Little Theater in August for Mama Cleo’s orphanage. Unstoppable
It feels good to take a break from the clubs and arenas and award shows for a while. Don’t get me wrong – I love to catch the rising young international talent at FIMPRO and the national rock and rap bands at Porto America were a blast, as were the Flor de la Toloache and Mary’s Island concerts in C3 Rooftop. And I enjoy listening to the 100-200 new songs I receive every week from bands and agents and PR firms for my Hot Half Dozen weekly column. But occasionally, just chilling with friends like Christie and Kristine or Old Souls or Triálago puts it all in perspective. Music is to be enjoyed. Kick back and chill with it.
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