Profiles published by date: Conductor Gordon Campbell, Ania Swiatlowska, Claudia Lavista, Mike Veselik, Anne Murphy, David Robb, Rafael Rodriquez, Rubye Hinton, Delfos, Lucila Santiago
Let’s see what’s new with David Robb
To see more of David Robb’s oil paintings: contact the Luna Gallery, or e mail David directly at:
With Rafael Rodriquez, “we felt the soul of Mexico”
By Mary and Wally Glavind
Arriving in Mazatlan we had no idea it would be a musician that would make our stay so memorable. But sitting under the palapa listening to Rafael Rodriguez our first evening, we knew we had found something special; excellent music from a very talented guitarist and vocalist. From the first note we felt, rather than heard, the soul of Mexico. Born and raised in Mazatlan, his love of home is obvious as Rafael’s music pours from his heart, takes a trip through his voice and guitar, and ends up in our hearts.We don’t understand one word of the Spanish lyrics but we hear the rhythms, watch the emotions, and listen to the refrains and know we have experienced Mexico.
Always aware of his audience, Rafael mixes Mexican classics with American, providing an opportunity to dance under the palms. After a little CCR, some Elton John, a Jimmy Buffet or two, we are ready to sip our drinks to the beat of Piel Canela, Sabor a Mi, and Malaguena Salerosa. We hear Rafael’s own compositions, melodies that are so perfectly suited to the lyrics they somehow feel familiar and we know to request them again and again.
We are disappointed to hear the first few bars of Take 5 but Rafael needs a break. This becomes an opportunity to chat with Rafael, and he is as generous with his time as he is with his music. Request a favorite song and chances are he will sing it for you; his repertoire is enormous. And when you return the next evening, he will welcome you with a smile as he plays your favorite tune.
Rafael has become synonymous with Mazatlan. We could not possibly enjoy one without the other. Check his schedule under the Calendar, join him for a few evenings, and you will soon be one of his enthusiastic and dedicated fans. www.rafael-rodriguez-trovador.com
Take a listen
Rubye Hinton, poetry in motion
By Sheila Madsen
Rubye moved to Mazatlan in 2006 to lead a tranquil life. “I am a writer, I’m a quiet reserved person; I just wanted to write poetry, prose and commentaries.” But Rubye was ‘discovered’ at Canucks while on the job helping out Patty and Jim Neal. Jim loved Canucks and Rubye used to accompany him. On a Monday night she got up on stage and belted out a song with Rob Lamonica on the keyboard. Then it was karaoke with Mr. Ed., more gigs with Rob and George Rankins, and in the winter it’s karaoke with Robert and Diane Howes in the Golden Zone.
From Yonkers to LA, Rubye sang her way across America; solo and often with her father. She never imagined singing in Mazatlan; she was going to concentrate on poetry and her other passion, caring for the babies in the Mazatlan Girls Orphanage. “I have a degree in early childhood development, but I don’t speak Spanish. Somehow the babies respond to me; they sleep, they eat, they calm down in my arms.” Rubye has tons of hand on experience – with 12 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren, the orphanage has landed the queen of mother love, three days a week. So she’s doing it all; singing, writing, and volunteering with ‘her babies’.
Let’s listen to Rubye.
Contemporary dance lights up our stages
By Sheila Madsen
Claudia Lavista and Victor Manuel Ruiz ignited the creative torch in 1992 by forming Delfos danza contemporanea. Based in Mexico City, the dance troupe quickly became internationally famous. A smart and very sensitive person with vision in Mazatlan’s, Cultura office, Mr. Ricardo Urquijo, wooed Delfos to Mazatlan in 1998. At the same time as Delfos was receiving rave reviews, the government encouraged Lavista and Ruiz to design a four year BA program for dance, known as EPDM – Escuela Professional de Danza de Mazatlan, The Professional School of Dance of Mazatlan. This is where the torch of eternal flame gets passed between Delfos and the school. If you are chosen to be part of the EPDM family, only 22 students each year, then you also get to share in the Delfos’ massive creative injection of international proportions. Just look at what they are doing and the interesting workshops being invited here to enhance their education.
Delfos and the school collaborated for the “Let it Be”, an extravaganza at the baseball stadium- a tribute to the Beatles and Queen. I was there and was in awe of this complex, talented, joyous performance. I particularly enjoyed watching Maestro Enrique Patron de Rueda doing some serious multi-tasking. He’s a famous opera orchestra conductor and had no problem directing “Freddie Mercury”, the “Beatles Band”, the Angela Peralta and the Guillermo Sarabia Chorus, the Britania Quintet and high flying dancers. Imagine. Imagine being a dance student on that stage with 8000 people in the audience clapping and cheering. Between the fireworks, dry ice, music, the constant, yet ever changing videos and Patron’s baton, how much more exciting does it get for a twenty year old?
Even when they are off stage, the lights are on and plenty of people are home to further their dance education. Lyn Wiltshire, is a professor of dance in the Department of Theatre and Dance at The University of Texas, Austin. She recently met with the Mazatlan Institute of Culture and Arts Director, Mr. Raúl Rico, to establish an exchange program. Students from Austin and Mazatlan can now obtain academic credits while studying and gaining new cultural and artistic experiences. Laura Faure, Director of the Bates Dance Festival in the U.S., gave two conferences on contemporary dance in the U.S. and the upcoming Bates dance festival. The festival, according to Claudia Lavista, “is a fantastic space for contemporary dance, which every year turns out to be a paradise for the dancers that have the opportunity to live the experience. This festival integrates a magnificent group of choreographers, teachers, musicians, dancers, students and lovers of dance.” Students soak up these lectures like solar panels.
The light gets brighter with Shamou’s visit to the dance school. He’s a fantastic percussionist from Iran. He plays live music during his workshops providing an enriching experience for students and teachers. April brings Argentinean choreographer Leandro Kees and the Colombian dancer Marcela Ruiz for a five week workshop. They will collaborate with the Delfos dancers to create two new choreographic pieces. On July 2 you’ll see those results when Delfos and the graduating class present a Gen.X performance. However, on May 9, Leandro Kees will be presenting his own show; Antropomorfia, at the Angela Peralta Theatre. This project has many Mexican financial contributors and is bound to stretch all creative boundaries.
Last weekend I thought I was in a funky New York gallery. But no, it was our local Recrea, which had provided space to 4th year students. I really can’t describe this surprise and delight art installation. It was constructed from hundreds of cardboard boxes complete with peep holes for live dancers, videos, candle lights, and various models doing weird and wonderful things. Everything they do is leading edge, arty, fun, and professional, proving again the creative flame burns brightly throughout Mazatlan, no matter the stage. These dancers break all the rules, because are no rules, and that’s exactly what you should expect this spring in the theatre – the unexpected.
(The Delfos Dance Company and the school, EPDM, are both located right beside the Angela Peralta Theatre, in the Municipal Centre for Arts. It’s easy to spot the dancers gliding through the Plazuela Machado: look at their posture, their hair, their make-up, their clothes and the sparks of energy emitting from their long limbs.)
Born to paint – Lucila Santiago
Born in Mexico City in 1952, Lucila followed her mother to Mazatlan 20 years ago. She has been drawing as soon as she could grasp a crayon: “since I was three years old all I wanted to was draw and paint; no dolls for me.” Her father always kept her supplied with art books. There were no family discussion, no debates; Lucila was to become an artist. Her parents even built her a private art studio in their backyard so she could experiment with all forms of art, including sculpture. No tree house for this girl.
As a teenager she was inspired by Vincent van Gough, and then at 16, “I skipped school and visited the house of Frida Kahlo in Coyacan and Diego Rivera.” Besides these great artists I asked who else inspired her: “all my teachers; I studied visual arts, which includes video, installation, multi media photography, copper and enamel, I loved it all.” Just look at her mystical, fuzzy impressionistic paintings and you can see her influences. In a follow up e-mail: “you asked about my favourite painters and I told you about a German group back in the 80’s called Jóvenes Salvajes, among them, my favourite is Anselm Kiefer, but I have many favourite painters, also of all times, like Velázquez, Tápies, Orozco, Toledo, and Tuymans.”
Santiago is the size of a crayon, very shy, and whispers that she currently teaches in the Municipal Arts Centre. I believe the school has been re named – The Ricardo Urquijo Betran Art School- in honour of this great man who did so much for the arts of Mazatlan. Ricardo and Lucila would often travel to the small country towns on Sundays and give art classes. She misses this kind, wonderful man and mourns his death. “Who will go to these pueblos now and teach the children about art, flowers and birds” she wonders.
Lucila’s paintings are hanging around the word: Mexico City, Spain, Athens, Brazil, New Zealand and Canada. She admits she works quickly and she can finish two canvases a month. Often she has a photo, but most times the idea is already formed in her mind and the acrylic tubes get squeezed and the brush dances over the canvas. She listens to jazz, Brazilian and classical music while she paints. She is part of the Glen Rogers’s printmaking exchange group and was recently in Bluseed, Sarnac, New York State. “I felt blessed to be in another environment, another country to be sharing and painting.”
As she was sipping her ginger ale her body language indicated she was terribly uncomfortable talking about herself. She would be much happier at home painting in her living room. I cut the interview short, because after all, her paintings are worth way more than any of my words.
(you can see Lucila’s paintings at Luna Gallery. They can arrange an appointment for you to view her portfolio.