It was Canada. It was winter. If I am 80% accurate, it was the winter of 1994 or 1995. Maybe a year or two later, we were attending Edinboro University. A high school buddy of mine and I decided we needed to go somewhere for Spring Break, and we had decided to travel to Canada, ultimate destination, Niagra Falls, then circle back to see my favorite basketball team, the Michigan Wolverines, then pick up a friend from Pittsburgh attending Duquesne University, and then head to West Palm Beach in Florida, and back. No matter that at the time I was driving a 1972 Ford Torino, no matter that we had no idea how much that would involved. (I do remember that was a 19 hour trip to Florida from Pittsburgh and we were able to get alot of Basketball on the Game Gear in – taking a rental car for that leg of the trip) – but through it all, it all came back Friday, May 14th evening. This is how.
On that leg of the trip to Canada, it was of course in the winter time, and we wanted to see Niagra Falls in the winter. Once in Canada, we stopped and parked at night ( I remember in a huge ice path that was a parking space) and happened into a small restaurant that was playing music. For the life of me, I will always remember the live music that night, a mashup of some of the best classic and American folk and rock music. I am not sure what we were expecting to happen upon, but it was a great performance. Fast forward to May 14, 2016.
Thanks to a current colleague, we were able to attend an evening concert at El Pendulo, in a small, intimate theatre that I did not know existed, we attended the concert being announced, and I checked it out here, known as Faralae.
I was surprised because it seemed tobe a mix of so so much, French, Spanish, American, all put together into some amazing sounds. I had no idea what awaited me. I fell in love with the area as we entered, as was said by another colleague, intimate, personal, and not a bead seat in the house. Comfortable, living room-like seating, the numbers all stitched into every chair, and a balcony, but the stage was pretty much right in your lap. You get the sense of a secret speakeasy club, as it just lies behind the walls of the upper balcony desk of the restaurant. AWESOME!
What would happen next was just unexpected. The singer – dressed in one of the most revealing and seductive dresses you could imagine, literally, shocked everyone (no it was not the dress). The ability to imitate the trombone, (check out 4:08 here) a variety of instruments tat involved keys, and pitches of high and low that are normally NOT made by a human, – you have to experience it to believe it. Yet, add to that element and ability a piano player who could fly over the keys, two violinist players tha brought the stage to life and emotion, a banjo and guitar player that burned through the strings, a clarinet player that added the jazz and soul to so many of the performances, a drummer that added just the right beat, rhythm, and flavor to the overall performance, and add the mix together – with songs that you can imagine a group from New Orleans performing, a recreated tune from Elvis Presley, the blues and jazz era resurrected and SO MUCH more, again, this was a performance that you could only witness to truly absorb.
I think one of the hardest to believe, is this was right in our backyards of Mexico City. Walk one block from my house, and here this experience was. All over Mexico City, you have this opportunity, either at La Franca, Pata Negra, or Zinco Jazz Club, and you have some of the BEST jazz experiences you can find in Mexico City, that represent some of the farthest reaches of blues and jazz in the world. These pockets are worth delving into, worth experiencing, and will stick with you longer than you can imagine. It stuck with us that night in Canada all the way back from in the mid 1990’s, and we can only be so lucky to have those same experiences in our youth, still visit us today! Check out the Foro de Tejedor at El Pendulo on Alvaro Obregon, you won’t regret or forget it.