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Music Sin Fronteras: a  magic night with Jaramar

Jafrarmar, one of Mexico’s most renowned singers treated us to a one night only concert. She and her band created magic. An unforgettable night.

The largest venue in Ajijic, outside of the charro stadium, is the state auditorium. Its official title is the Centro para la Cultura y las Artes de la Ribera, which for obvious reasons, is commonly known as the CCAR.  It’s a  400+ seat auditorium in the middle of a cultural complex, one of several such complexes operated by the Jalisco  government. (Mexican local, state, and national governments pour a lot of money into the arts (including rock bands!). The Jalisco cultural centers are programmed for several nights a week by the Jalisco Secretary of Culture staff with local state and national talent.

Saturday, that programming included one of Mexico’s most renowned and innovative singers, Jaramar Soto, who came to the CCAR with her band for one night. I had seen Jaramar 4 years ago in a small private concert with local musicians, and we have kept in touch, but I had never seen her on a real stage with her own band. I knew from YouTube videos that Jaramar live, on the big stage, is an unforgettable experience.

It was.

Her current  tour is a celebration of the 30th anniversary of her first solo album, which was followed by 20+ more albums, a Latin Grammy, and several world tours. She sang songs from across her career, sort of like an “Eras tour” but without the dancers, special effects, and $1000 tickets. For this tour she had assembled a setlist that combined traditional Mexican and Latin American songs with old European music.

The set list was a journey from anonymous medieval songs, to Mexican traditional music, to her own compositions. It included songs from almost all her albums which enabled her to dig into her obsessions: life, passion, love, death. She told me afterward that the guiding threads of the evening were her constant desire to mix poetry with sound exploration, and to present the finest in excellent musical craftsmanship, with the voice as the expressive force and center.

A lot to cram into a 2-hour concert, but it worked magnificently.

Given that her voice ranges over more octaves than I can count, and that in her youth she trained to follow her mother into ballet and dance, the blend of the Latin traditional with the European medieval music expressed with movement meshed beatify. Not only did Jaramar use her voice to soar like an angelic choir, but to belt dance notes as she whirled barefoot onstage and swayed withs her arms outstretched and a her facing shifting from an impish grim to a trance like glow.

The audience, which included young and old, Mexicans and Expats, swayed and clapped along with her, and then finished the night with a standing ovation. The ovation extended to her band: guitarist Luis Javier Ochoa, violinist Alex Fernández Figueroa, Double bass player Carlos Sánchez Vilches, and drummer Luciano Sánchez who are all, alike Jaramar, at the pinnacles of their talent. They scaffolded her ethereal voice, and stepped forward to solo at the perfect moments. The result was a magic night.

She told me afterward that the magic is not over, that she has ideas for other music projects here in Ajijic. Wach for more stories and videos of Jaramar in Music Sin Fronteras.

Jaramar’s albums are available on all major platforms and she well represented on YouTube.

Patrick O’Heffernan



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About Patrick O'Heffernan, Music Sin Fronteras (485 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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