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A minstrel’s stroll through San Miguel

By Jessie Andra Smith

Nathan and Jessie

Walking through the streets of San Miguel, singing and playing the accordion, a guitar on his back, long dreadlocks hanging from his hat, you stop and ask yourself “Who is that?” That is Nathan Rivera, a self-made musician from California. Traveling to share the gift of music, he recently made his way to Mexico in search of a new audience while looking for a connection with his family’s past.

Nathan Rivera and Jessie Andra Smith
Fri, Jan 10, 7pm
Shelter Teatro
Vicente Guerrero 4
Colonia San Rafael

“I wanted to be in Mexico for Dia de los Muertos, to experience something new and pay tribute to my grandparents who came to the US from Mexico.” Late October of this year Nathan found himself in Guadalajara with nothing but his instruments and a desire for adventure; this is his second trip to Mexico this year. He slowly made his way toward his destination of San Miguel de Allende, playing accordion near the cathedral in GDL, performing slide guitar in the city of  Guanajuato, singing in the plazas and selling his CD’s in the calles to earn travel money. “La noche del Día de Muertos I was in Guanajuato thinking of my deceased friends and family, playing music for the people in the streets, meeting new friends and enjoying my time.”

Coming from a family of musicians, Nathan began the piano at age six, the bass guitar at age 11, the guitar at 15, and the accordion at age 20. “My dad played the bass in a blues band, my brother played the drums, my mom sang; there was always music in the house as I grew up” says Rivera, now 26. With a versatile voice and a variety of instruments he describes his music as “gypsy blues.” Largely inspired by people he has met on his travels through the US, he draws inspiration from real life experiences without forgetting the importance of imagination when writing songs. “When I was about 16 I started venturing out from the small town I grew up in, hitch hiking, riding freight trains and playing music in the streets for money; it’s what all the people I looked up to were doing.” Nathan now performs original music all over the United States, at cafes, theaters, festivals, and in the streets with the intention of making the world a better place.

Nathan Rivera returns to San Miguel to perform January 10 and 11 at the Shelter Teatro at 7pm accompanied by his partner Jessie Andra Smith. 100 pesos.

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