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Mazatlan: the music mecca of Mexico

Mazatlan is the music mecca of Mexico, or at least that’s the word around town. You can see signs of it everywhere, from banda, Mexican ballads, mariachis, and the sweet sound of Jazz and blues, rock, folk, country and classical music.

The obvious attraction of miles and miles of beautiful sunny beaches and the ever enticing gastronomy of Mazatlan would be reason enough to love this amazing city on the ocean, but add many more layers of melodious intrigue, and it makes it almost impossible to resist.

Mazatlan’s International Carnaval 2016 runs February 4 to 9 and includes five nights of amazing shows and stars booked to please the hundreds of thousands who flock to Mexico’s largest Mardi Gras-style fiesta. 

A good bet for music fans would be the Friday Night Fever concert, February 5, 8:30 p.m. at the Venados Baseball Stadium. This show for the crowning of the Queen of the Juegos Florales (floral games), is a tribute to the Disco Era of the 1970s, with music from Earth Wind and Fire, the Bee Gees and Chicago, among others. The full schedule and tickets (100 to 700 pesos) are available online at www.culturamazatlan.com.

Two nights of fabulous banda on Olas Altas beach follow on Monday and Tuesday nights, (February 8 and 9) with big names such as Banda MS and Julio Preciado.

Don’t miss the parades held Sunday and Tuesday (Feb. 7 and 9). The exhilarating Carnaval parades consume the miles-long Malecon and the crowds along the seashore enjoy a sensory overload of color, sound, and flavors that only Carnaval International Mazatlan can bring.

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Other musical options at Carnaval include the crowning of the Carnaval Queen on Saturday, February 6 at the Baseball Stadium with Mexican pop groups QB7 and Kabah as the headliners; the coronation of the Child Queen on Monday, February 8 with a performance from HA’ASH, the Mexican-based popular duo from Lake Charles, Louisiana, singing Latin pop, country rhythms and their own tunes.

And for those who like to dress up, a fun evening can be had at the Masquerade Ball. See the full schedule on the culturamazatlan webpage or facebook page.

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In the last few years a new type of musical entertainment has emerged here — a Las Vegas-style show, which includes the performance, a meal (usually buffet), and all you can drink for the same price at all three venues: only 500 pesos. The Playa Mazatlan, which originated the idea, now has a monthly Mazatlan Comedy Club show in English, bringing two top comedians each month from north-of-the-border and also a monthly tribute to Mexican Rock called the Playa Palooza. The comedy show plays through March. 

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El Cid Resorts puts on a country music extravaganza with Brenster and Carrum. Delirium, a restaurant in the Centro Historico, has a show on a much smaller scale in numbers but huge in appeal, with a trio performing a range of tunes from the history of Mexican music. All can be found online and/or on Facebook. 

Gordon Campbell, who previously led both the Auguascalientes and Sinaloa Symphonic Orchestras, directs the Camerata Sinaloa (chamber orchestra) and invited guests at six concerts, all on Sundays at noon, at the amazing 19th-century Angela Peralta Theater, from January 17 to February 28 (on January 31, the concert will be at Casa Haas, a smaller venue just a block away, with two presentations). Maestro Campbell brings a lot of personality to the classical music scene here.

If you get the chance to see The Falsa Orquesta Cubana (False Cuban Orchestra) from Culiacan, (which usually only play private gigs), GO! Their Cuban Salsa and Jazz sound are unequalled.

Tuesday nights at La Bohemia in Plaza Machado is Jazz Jam night, beginning at 7 p.m. This quirky space in the back of an old building has a Banyon tree growing in the middle of it, an open wood beam ceiling lets the moon shine in and the musicians are hot and innovative, with an occasional standard thrown in. Make reservations for the Jazz Jam at cel. 669-136-0866.

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Not convinced yet? Then take into account that there are live music venues all over the city, every night of the week during the high season, and into the summer. The music scene in Mazatlán is impressive, amazing Mexican musicians mingling with their foreign counterparts to make sweet sounds that will keep you coming back for more.

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