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Renowned Latin Grammy winner Jaramar slips into Ajijic for a private house concert

Most Mexicans know the singer Jaramar, and certainly, all Mexican music lovers do.  A renowned World Music and classical singer who has been releasing hit songs and albums since 1992, Jaramar won the 2016 Latin Grammy for Best Classical Album for El hilo invisible – The Invisible Thread. She fills major theaters, festivals and venues in Mexico, Europe, and the United States and her songs reach hundreds of thousands on streaming platforms worldwide.

So, it was a surprise – and a happy one — when she slipped into Ajijic last Friday night for 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, Jaramar treated the 30 or so people in Saavedra’s living room to 15 stunning songs, most from her many albums. Standing behind a single microphone, Jaramar swayed, sang, smiled and mesmerized the people on folding chairs only feet away from her with a voice that everyone in Mexico knows and loves. From the mischievous “Maquina” to the soulful “Eschar el Ankla” Jaramar filled the house with music usually heard in grand theaters in Guadalajara, Mexico City, and Los Angeles.  In between songs she told stories of the songs, her life, and art.

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Standing only a foot from the front row seats, Jaramar was at home in a place where she could talk to and touch everyone in the room.  Before the concert, she sat with people at a table on the lawn and talked and once the performance began, she called out to people in the audience as she talked between songs, joking with the mothers containing their children. Saavedra’s puppy scooted around the band while Jaramar sang, a faint smile coming to her lips as the dog stopped and looked up at her quizzically before moving on. 

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During the break, we got to socialize with her, take some selfies, and ask about her music and her career.  She spent many years in the textile industry designing textiles and clothes after training in textile and apparel design in London.  Along the way she also studied dance at the Mexican Academy of Dance and the Academy of Coyoacán.  As a result, her major public performances often incorporate costume and dance, although Friday night she wore a simple black dress and a smile.

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Jaramar is beloved for her art and her story as well as her music. Born in Mexico City but now based in Guadalajara, Jaramar is a singer, dancer, composer, designer, and visual artist who has recorded 15 solo albums – quite a combination of talents and skills. Her visit to Ajijic was the result of her friendship with Saavedra and her continuing desire to develop new projects and touch new audiences.  The invitation-only house concert produced by Yanin Saavedra and her partner, bassist Gilberto Rios, was a great way to expose Jaramar to a new, influential, mostly gringo audience, as was Jaramar’s earlier appearance on the Ajijic-based radio program Music Sin Fronteras.  She can come to my house anytime.

Patrick O’Heffernan

Patrick O’Heffernan, PhD., is a music journalist and radio broadcaster based in Los Angeles, California, with a global following. His two weekly radio programs, MusicFridayLive! and MusicaFusionLA are heard nationwide and in the UK. He focuses on two music specialties: emerging bands in all genres, and the growing LA-based ALM genre (American Latino Music) that combines rock and rap, blues and jazz and pop with music from Latin America like cumbia, banda, jarocho and mariachi. He also likes to watch his friend drag race.

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