The Magic of Music Is in Town
By Jesús Aguado
The Magic Town Music Festival is here to stay, and in its second version, it will feature all kinds of rhythm—for all ages and nationalities—going from rock, pop, and country to funk, soul, jazz, and even gospel. The festival brings new bands, and it will take place at a new venue, offering food, art, crafts, and much more. The profits of this festival will go to Casa de los Ángeles, a nonprofit organization that nurtures children, serving the needs of the less fortunate.
Parallel to the San Miguel Sound Music Festival (where New Zealander Lorde and Mexican bands like Jenni and the Mexicats appeared for the first time in México) emerged the Magic Town Music Festival in 2014. According to its producer Carrie Cameron, this is a festival that from the beginning, was intended to raise money for Casa de los Ángeles.
The festival encountered certain unforeseen obstacles, from the cancellation of its biggest celebrity, Delbert McClinton, to the cancellation of its venue next to Atotonilco. However, those problems did not prevent music lovers from having a great time at two different venues during two days. The festival gathered bands from the United States and Mexico and, with the help of volunteers, succeeded in raising more than US$7,000 for Casa de los Ángeles.
This year, the festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday, March 14 and 15, 1-11pm at Centro Cultural Allende on Ancha de San Antonio 22. The tickets cost US$40 per person for one day, and US$75 per person for two days. There are also VIP tickets that include nonalcoholic beverages, food, and access to the lounge where the band members will be hanging out: the Maylee Thomas Band, Karen Hart, Etta Britt, Stephanie Urbina Jones, and Oh Whitney, among others.
More than 10 bands in two days
Because of the vocal and musical quality of the bands, there is no final lineup yet, so it is almost impossible to know who will open and who will close the event; nevertheless, Cameron assures that all of them are worth hearing, and she commented that this is “world class music.”
On Saturday, March 14, the music will be from Jim Scarborough, The Maylee Thomas Band, Etta and Bob Britt, Red Young, Silvie Rider-Young, Stephanie Urbina Jones, Dave Sebree, Pila Seca, and Zuzu Men.
Inseparable from her guitar, Stephanie Urbina Jones is a fiery Latina who makes the audience tremble. She speaks perfect English and Spanish that combines with the music from her instrument, moving from rock to pop and southern country. Stephanie is not just a singer, but also a composer. For that reason it is not a coincidence that at the end of 2014, one of the participants and the winner of the Voice USA, Craig Wayne Boyd, recorded a Jones song, “My Baby’s Got a Smile on Her Face” and made it a hit on the radio. Jones is full of infectious energy and music.
“Electrifying” defines the Texas Diva show. Maylee Thomas combines gospel, soul, blues, rock, and other rhythms. Her vocal quality has led her to be a guest on popular television shows, such as Good Morning America and Good Day Dallas, while receiving strong support from several north Texas radio stations.
On Sunday, March 15, the performers will be Karen Hart, Rick Shlosser, Ken Basman, Teresa James and Rhythm Tramps, Oh Whitney, Patrick Zimerman,and Johnny Starbuck.
Last summer, sitting on a small chair, wearing a skirt, a hat with an embroidered peacock, colored boots, and strumming a guitar, Karen Hart filled calle Aldama with her voice and her music. People stopped to listen to her and also took photos and video. When I saw her on the street, she commented that she was happy with the approval of the pedestrians. She also knew from that moment that she would participate in this year’s festival with her band, Big Yellow Cab. At the festival she will have a tribute to her hero, Joni Mitchell.
In 2008, Hart won an award from West Coast Song Writer for the best song with the theme, “Haunting Ballad Mirabelle.” During her career, Hart’s voice has been heard in motion pictures as well as dozens of TV and radio spots. Karen is the singing voice of Sigourney Weaver in the Showtime movie Snow White. She wrote all the songs for the Divine Cult. She and her band are ready to perform.
“If you know who Batman is, then you will know who Whitney is,” assured Peter More.
Oh Whitney is an international band, not just from the countries where it has performed but also because of the members from different nationalities. The band has been on the musical scene as Whitney for three years and has played in countries including Brazil, the United States, and Puerto Rico. Their sound, although inclined to rock, has influences from the classics as well as flamenco, thanks to José Payatos (Spain), jazz and classic piano provided by Harlen Hodges (United States), the heavy metal from Adrian Faunce (France), and the Mexican feeling of Diego Noyola.
The musicians have Austin, Texas, as a home base. In San Miguel, they worked on a new album which was released last summer, and some of the themes will be played at the festival. They wrote the lyrics and music over a year and a half and picked San Miguel as the venue to present it because it is a very inspirational city and has well-equipped recording studios to produce a world class album. “Music can do things that you never thought,” said the musicians. The music of this band can be purchased on itunes directly from www.ohwhitney.com.
Casa de los Ángeles
A nonprofit organization founded in 2001 by Donna Quathamer, Casa de los Ángeles is a shelter that daily welcomes 85 children from more than 60 families; it is located at Ejido de Tirado. The children come from families of working mothers in extreme poverty who come from the rural communities to sell their products. At the shelter, children receive food, education, and medical care.
Children’s ages range between one month and five years. They can be there until they start primary school. According to Quathamer, Casa de los Ángeles is currently working on the construction of a house for the volunteers. She proudly announces, “I can say that after all this time, we have had 1,836 volunteers from 40 nationalities”.
Quathamer commented that the organization needs an annual budget of US$170,000 to operate, and that is why they are happy to count on the help from people like Cameron, who helps to provide a better service to Mexican families in need.