Music Sin Fronteras radio is coming to Semanario Laguna.
Foto: Patrick O’Heffernan.
Ajijic’s own global music radio program, Music Sin Fronteras, hosted by music critic and writer for the English page on Semanario Laguna , Patrick O’Heffernan, will now be available at semanariolaguna.com/. Each week, Laguna readers will get an advance peek at the upcoming guest and a phone number they can use to call in live on the show.
Covering every facet of popular music, Program Host Patrick interviews artists and plays cuts from their albums, EP’s and singles. He talks with artists from the US, Latin America and sometimes even Europe. All interviews are in English, although the song lyrics are often Spanish or Spanglish.
Host Patrick focuses on rising singers and bands, local talent in Lakeside, and artists who are at the cusp of going big time, with the occasional famous guest. While his specialty is fusion music –Latino/gringo– he plays virtually anything you can dance to from cumbia to hip hop to blues and jazz and rock and even folk and electronica. He also covers local live music – it’s coming back!– and the FIMPRO Latin Music Convention in Guadalajara, the Latin Alternative Music Conference in New York, and the Latin Grammys.
On the air for seven years in Los Angeles as Music Friday Live radio, Host Patrick changed the name to Music Sin Fronteras when he moved to Mexico last year and set up a broadcast studio in downtown Ajijic. He broadcasts every Friday at 1 pm CT on stations in the US and the UK. Semanario Laguna readers will get the broadcast link, the weekly lineup, and the talk line to call in and talk with the artists.
Nancy Robins talks about her late husband, the beloved Michel Robbins of Ajijic
Photo: Nancy Robbins with hers and Michaels instruments.
Patrick O’Heffernan (Ajijic).- Nancy Robbins settled back into a leather couch in her apartment cluttered with vinyl albums, music awards, a big screen computer and indigenous art to talk about her late husband, the American-born, Northern Indian musician beloved in Lakeside, Michael Robbins. The conversation was ebullient, like Nancy, full of smiles, laughter, and funny stories.
“He led such a fascinating, dynamic life and taught and helped so many people ‘I have to celebrate him’”, Nancy said, “he always lived the highest values in morals, in art, in intellect, and in athletics, so of course I celebrate him”.
Michael and Nancy Robbins have been fixtures in Ajijic and the Lakeside music scene for decades, training other musicians, running a popular Indian restaurant on the Ajijic Plaza, organizing performances and just plain helping people. They started coming to lakeside in 1992, and were married in Chapala. But Michael’s story starts 60 years earlier in Los Angeles where he was born in LA, the son of a movie theater manager. “Of course Michael went to the moves for free, but it was gymnastics that captured his heart”, Nancy explains. His father, who was his inspiration, died when he was thirteen and he felt he had to do something to live up to his father’s expectations. That something was gymnastics.
“Michael had a decision to make: he would come from the Boy Scouts, put on his band uniform and play, and then change into spots clothes for gymnastics – he had to choose one so he chose gymnastics”, Nancy said, almost as if she was there. It was a good choice; he was All City Champion and then went on to win a national championship and a full scholarship to UC Berkeley, where he met his first wife, Mary Lawrence, who left him after a year of marriage.
“They parted ways because they were quite different. He was an athlete; he didn’t drank or smoke or hang out and party. So after they parted he came down to Mexico in 1961,” Nancy said, describing the beginning of his love affair with Mexico. “He became a painter and a professor at Lake College in Mexico City. I met him 13 years later when I was babysitting for his ex-wife in San Francisco”.
While she was babysitting, a friend of Michael’s brought some tapes of his music back from India and Nancy listened to them over and over. When Michael returned, she peppered him with questions about the music. “I had all kinds of questions and what is more attractive to a man than a women interested in his subject, whether it is cars, football or Indian music? And I can cook,” she said with a laugh, “I was 24 and he was 37, but how many times in a lifetime do you get a chance to be with someone of that caliber, so I grabbed hold of the guy and would not let go!.” They were together for 45 years.
Michael Robbins went to India to study classical Northern Indian music, an artistic tradition that goes back over 2500 years. Originally music of the royal courts, instruction in tablas, sarod, harmonium, sitar and the music they played was passed down from father to son or nephew by a few elite teachers who allowed no deviation from tradition. (women now play the sarod and the tablas). Michael learned from some of the most famous, and most strict of the teachers, becoming a disciple of Pandit Radhika Mohan Moitra in the Sarod, and Pandit Jnan Prakash Ghosh in Tabla. Nancy explained he started in Calcutta with a teacher who was too busy for him, but noticed he could play real music and gave him a break.
Michael would play the classical recorder while others played the tabla or sitar and his teacher said “You can actually play something – these other guys are just playing scales – come on, I will take you to a teacher”, and took him to Radhika Mohan Moitra, who took him. He went on to become not only a student, but a force that help reinvigorate the music.
After returning from India, Michael founded the Sarodya Society in the 90’s to promote the awareness of sarod and tabla and train other musicians. He continued that tradition in Lakeside training many Mexican and gringo musicians in Hindustani classical music. His students include some of Lakeside’s most popular and talented musicians like Juan Castañón Acasia, Angel Madrigal, Alvaro Rubio, Alvaro Rubio and others.
But the move to Lakeside was slow and careful –process that began in 1992 and ended in 2000 when they finally moved everything to lakeside and became residents. Once in Lakeside, the quickly developed a strong music community, not only through teaching but through the Indian restaurant they opened on the Ajijic Plaza, that served as a venue and gathering place.
“I had learned Indian cooking we wanted a venue here, so when I saw the For Rent sign on the Plaza and said to Michael I wonder how much they want for that, he said go for it,” and I did. They ran the restaurant for almost seven years. “It was fun and I met so many nice people. The restaurant was a way for people to come to use, instead of us going to them. I thoroughly enjoyed it,” she says.
During their time in lakeside, Nancy cooked and played music, ran the restaurant and “all the other things wives do”, while Michael played and taught, creating a community and training so many of the musicians that entertain Lakeside residents today.
Michael died last week of congestive heart failure brought on by a 50-year old liver problem. But even in talking about his death, Nancy was upbeat. “We didn’t go to the Plaza for about 4 months and then eventually he was in bed for the last two days. I held his hand and he asked me to roll him over and I did and propped him up and that was the way I found him. I thought he was sleeping until the dog jumped on the bed and licked his foot and he didn’t complain, so I knew he was dead.”
My Fair Lady opens this Friday at Lakeside Little Theater
Eliza Doolittle and the ensemble in My Fair Lady at the LLT.
Patrick O’Heffernan (Ajijic).- Lerner and Lowe’s famed musical My Fair Lady opens Friday night, Feb. 21, 2020, at the Lakeside Little Theater and is already sold out. The run has been extended to March 4 to accommodate the demand for tickets.
Winner of Best Musical Award in 1957, it is a comedic romantic tale that illuminates class divisions in turn of the last century London and the cluelessness of the male ego. Directed by Dave McIntosh with music direction by Ann Swenson and choreography by Alexis Hoff and Mary Neill, it features a cast of three dozen dancers, singers and actors.
With sumptuous costumes and a set evocative of London in 1917, the LLT production stars Michala Swanson as Eliza Doolittle, Brian Fuqua as Henry Higgins, Rob Stupple as Alfred Doolittle, and Mark Heaton as Colonel Pickering. Presented with permission of Tams-Widmark, the production was generously underwritten by Jeff & Connie Pecsar. The Lakeside Little Theater is Mexico’s oldest English-language theater and has been in operation since 1965.
A self-sustaining, all-volunteer not-for-profit organization, it offers theatre arts to Lakeside residents at its recently renovated 122-seat facility in San Antonio Tlayacapan. Tickets available at the box office for the extended run as long as they last.
Renowned Mexican singer Jaramar in intimate house concert in Ajijic
Jaramar Soto created a magical night of 15 songs in a unique, intimate concert
Patrick O’Heffernan (Ajijic).- The renowned Mexican singer Jaramar Soto made a surprise appearance in Ajijic Friday night, at an intimate concert organized by singer-songwriter Yanin Saavedra at her home. Supported by her long-time accompanists Luis Javier Ochoa on guitar and Alejandro Fernández Figueroa on violin, the Latin Grammy-winning Jaramar treated the audience in Saavedra’s living room to 15 stunning songs, mostly composed by her.
Clad in a simple black lace dress, she swayed, sang, smiled and mesmerized the people on folding chairs only feet away from her with a voice that everyone in Jalisco knows and loves. From the mischievous “Máquina” to the soulful “Echar el Ancla”, she filled the house with music usually heard in grand theaters in Guadalajara, Mexico City or Los Angeles. In between songs, she told stories of the songs, her life, art and her dreams.
Jaramar, born in Mexico City but now based in Guadalajara. Is a singer, dancer, composer and visual artist who has recorded 15 solo albums, among them El hilo invisible (with el Cuarteto Latinoamericano, for which she won the 2016 Latin Grammy for Best Classical Music Album.
Her visit to Ajijic is the result of her friendship with Saavedra and her continuing desire to develop new projects and touch new audiences. Yanin Saavedra and her partner, bassist Gilberto Rios, produces a continuing series of intimate concerts bringing artists from around Mexico in genres, ranging from electric dream pop to folk to classical. Jaramar earlier appeared on the Ajijic-based radio program Music Sin Fronteras.