If you are looking for diversity, then The Vancouver Folk Musical Festival this weekend was the place to be. In addition to attracting a solid line up of performers from across several musical genres, as always, this year’s event had performers from across Canada and across the world. This mix is one of the things that makes the event special both for local audiences, and those who travel from far and wide to attend the three-day event.
Some of the highlights of this year’s event were the performances from those countries that have a distinctly Latin flavour to their music.
It is almost impossible to see every act on the bill, but I was privileged to be able to catch three performances that fit into this category, all of which were very different from each other, but all of them had the same level of enthusiasm and excitement.
La Mexcalina have been providing their unique fusion of traditional Mexican music with the sounds of punk, rockabilly, country and others since 2012. Hailing from Guadalajara, Mexico, the band have always had musical influences in their lives, but I guess like most kids they also wanted to add their own tastes to the more traditional mix. The result is a vibrant mix that appeals to a broad audience.
Vocalist Jazz Díaz with her distinct blue hair formed the band with percussionist Fernando Briones and Edgardo Díaz on bass, and they were later joined by lead guitarist Raul Cruz. After completing the switch to a four-piece the band went on to record their first album – La Mexcalina. This was follows up in 2017 by El Cardenchero.
Same country, different sound. Los Pachamama y Flor Amargo provided a dynamic performance on the wonderfully shaded Stage 3. Led by the dramatic dancing and vocals of Flor Amargo, Los Pachamama (which means Mother Earth in English) provided a passionate set of traditional Mexican music. The band have been together for more than 30 years, with the addition of Flor giving a presents an opportunity to give a new to their music.
From far across the Gulf of Mexico, and deep into the Caribbean Sea, Pablo Menéndez & Mezcla provided a Cuban flavour to the same stage. Guitarist Pablo Menéndez and Mezcla have been performing for more than 30 years and are a mainstay of the Cuban music scene. Over the years the band have released nine albums, but perhaps their real charm is in the vibrancy of their live performances, with all band members taking centre stage at one point or another.
Menéndez as a long history in the music scene, and according the VFMF this is not the first time he has performed at the festival. He was part of the supporting band when his mother, folk-blues legend Barbara Dane played at the festival way back in 1983