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Two musical talents for you: Whitney Tai & LYXR

Two talents – the startup LYXR and the established star – Whitney Tai. Bookends in a wa

I have two talents to direct you to this week, Whitney Tai and LYXR, on both sides of the border.

LYXR is  here in Mexico and is just starting out  – as yet only available live  and on YouTube.  Whitney Tai is a seasoned LA artist with a solid catalogue and a new song out, and who came within a hair’s breadth of a Grammy nomination this year. I bring you these two in the same Music Sin Fronterias column because they represent two ends of the spectrum – a band overflowing with raw talent but just starting out, and a woman who, in the years I have followed her since she started out, has become one of the most creative forces I know.

First, is Whitney Tai, a breathtakingly brilliant singer, songwriter, and producer who crafts some of the most exciting and emotionally deep music I have ever heard. Her newest release is “Pisces Rising”, written, produced, engineered and sung by Tai, who also played the guitar parts; backing vocals by Blak Emoji and mixed and mastered by Tim Janssens. The single is now streaming on Spotify.

“Pisces Rising”  is the epitome of what Tai does; she has  created an emotional and musical parallel universe with her old -soul childlike voice.   It is dreamy, serious, haunting, on the edge of living poetry.  In the lyrics she tells of a soulful being – maybe her – and its relationship to this universe. Psychoanalytic, as is much of Tai’s music, it swirls with demons but also with the strength to master them.  An opening rotating arpeggio launches you from star to star in her universe, the same one she sucked you into with Apogee and “Starfish”,  keeping you in a trance so all you know is the rising of her sign, the fish.

You can’t listen to a Whitney Tai song without delving into your own soul and losing yourself in melody and starlight.  “Pisces Rising” does all those things, but with an intimacy beyond that of her earlier works. She is there with you, shimmering and sparkling and maybe dripping wet with salt water and seaweed. Is the analysis in “Pisces Rising” of herself, the singer/star sailor, or of you, the listener and learner? Play it many times to answer that question. As you do, close your eyes and let the wind catch your sails along the Milky Way with Tai as your star guide.

The local talent is LYXR, fronted by Ellizé Navarro.  Navarro works with a tight three-man group – Diego Ernesto Medeles, Dante Jimenez and Benjamin L. Guerra – to produce covers and originals that range from soft crooning blues and love songs to rocking dance numbers – some originals, some covers. Both Navarro and the band can change tempo, key, and tone in mid song, smooth as glass, and with a grin because they know the audience follows it and loves it.

The band has been together a short 10 months and is now playing in Lakeside’s usual venues for rising and mid-range local bands. And they do a very good job, regardless of the venue.

 I saw them Friday night at the Ajijic Spot, a beer and games bar that has created a popular outdoor music area on Ajijic’s Plaza. The Ajijic Spot’s magic is that it is both intimate and limitless at the same time. The band du jur is surrounded by a half dozen tables with its backs to the plaza, but inevitably an audience forms in the plaza with people sitting on the walls and even dancing. LYXR played both to the Ajijic Spot audience in front of them and to the wider group around them, a neat trick.  As a constant stream of waiters, bathroom-seekers and seat changers flowed past the band, they were unflappable.

I think they will succeed, much like Ajijic’ s own Mary’s Island band has succeeded (members of which were at the LYXR gig and played and sang in a guest spot). LYXR is tight, Navarro’s voice has a great range (she was raised in her dad’s piano business and has been listening to and playing music since she was a wee child – and she moves pianos with her dad!), plus she knows how to hold an audience. They need to tighten their harmonies a little and balance their sound system better, but for a new band just getting out there, they are damn good. They are not online yet, but I suspect that they will record one of their original songs and upload it soon. In the meantime, check out my YouTube Channel for their music.



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About Patrick O'Heffernan, Music Sin Fronteras (470 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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