Damo Suzuki with Jay de la Cueva (Bass), Carlos Icaza (Drums), Julian Lede (Guitar), Carlos Navarrete (Keyboards), Alexis Ruiz (Drums) and Martin Thulin (Keyboards)
A couple of months before when I got this invitation, I was really curious and found I have not that much knowledge about Mexico. Tequila, Maya culture, Pyramid, Tacos…Yes, I know Mexican music. early sixties. Trio Los Ponchos was quite often in Japan.
Last year I performed in San Diego and found many Mexicans in audience. Now I know quit bit more of this country and I have to shout … What a country!! What a fun!!! You can drink best tequila here for sure, is origin country. Mexico City : Population 25 million. the biggest city on this planet. 10 million cars and half million taxis make part of sound and smog of the city. 2000 meter high from sea level….
Carlos and Julian picked me up from airport which seems to be quite middle of the city. This was First Impression, Airplane from Amsterdam landed here. Both guys seemed to be too much respect on me or if a monster is arriving . They didn’t know what to expect. Then they saw this tinny shaman..Grey long haired hippy museum man, then their last on shoulder fades away.
They brought me to Hotel in the middle of city, area called Historical Centrum. Hotel is my thought typical Mexican style, around the garden is rooms in several flats high. Mexico city don’t have much high building, so surface of the city is huge ..endless.. even from airplane. Later joined by Ricardo who had been in Japan and able to eat Natto…sticky, stinky soy bean topping for rice. I know many foreigners in Japan, they live here for more than 10 years and so, they loves Japanese food but, they cannot eat Natto… But, Ricardo is only first time there he said and he really loves this. Anyway Carlos is an artist, run label, Julian is a musician has solo project he said it sound like kind of living theater but one man project and Richard run very beautiful venue I’ll perform in two days.
We went to opera, because I wanted buy some postcards, there is book shop in opera theater which is very gorgeous. Front of it is square; many people are hanging around in hot loud air. Carlos was buying something there, later he presented me is book about art and culture of Mexico in English. It was nice gift I like books and I like to have books. (At the moment I am reading about Japanese history, I am getting old and find myself missing something…..last time in Japan I found that actually I don’t know many thing about my native country. So, I begin to read.)
Richard stayed there for Opera, Rest three of us went to old pub/restaurant, then I had opportunity to try „real tequila for first time. Tequila Classico!!! Tequila has been my love for sometimes. Normally in Europe you drink tequila with salt and lemon. Here is a bit different, beside glass of tequila serve peppered tomato juice in same sized glass like tequila. You put bit salt on between fat thumb and point finger, lick it then tequila into your thirsty throat then bite lemon then drink peppered tomato juice. This is the culture. I love this ceremony and its healthy way to drink alcohol for sure. You are losing Vitamin C (Hum. there was song like this in last century, humm…) when you drink alcohol. So, this is practical you bite vitamin to support. Then this peppered tomato with much substance…..I LOVE IT!!!! 🙂
Everywhere I go I am curious about domestic foods (already you realized), This is one of enjoyable reason for travel, isn’t this? ….so I wanted to order something special. Julian helped me to order meat in chocolate souse, he said it’s specialty here….Sometimes I use chocolate to prepare souse when I have stake….I use a small block of bitter chocolate. But, this souse here I saw front of my eyes is used sweet chocolate and much of it….sorry, it’s Not my taste really. ( A couple of days later I tasted same souse in Oaxaca, it was far better taste, anyway I tell you later this local city has better tasted than this crazy monster city.) As usual I had jet lag, but tequila was soooooo Gooood!!! So, I had to order more and more…when time pass by more fun….its makes you surely drunken, but different…so refreshed and next day you never have hangover even you’re much fit…my body said keep on going. Command center in my brain is captured by this small attractive liquid.
Later Ricard showed up with some people and took place at beside our table. Then, Alex. Who was helping for advertisement form first ever performance in the monster city, came with gift. First day in first time visit in Mexico was really amazing, nice company of these nice Mexicans (Julian is born in Argentine) and kind of culture shock with better moods. Next day was an interview day, I, Carlos, Julian and Alex went to modern part of Mexico city (drive took quite long in middle of traffic jungle) with very interesting modern architecture…this is DNA which make me curious about buildings …my father was an architect.
Three radio interviews found the place in modern private university. Afternoon other three interviews at cafe near to my Hotel. Between morning and afternoon interviews, Mexican sound carriers came together and played some music at one of their rehearsal room ..but, played together with mainly sound carriers who don’t perform tomorrow. There was positive energy and recorded as option to one of morning radio interviews. All went to for lunch and it was fantastic restaurant, looked so traditional ambient…I ordered fried fish…appetizer was nice too. I felt I am getting into this nice country and at this stage I’m really sure what will be tomorrow at the performance…..MUST BE only positive things happen.
It is naturally with surrounded by such fantastic people nothing goes wrong. Here tequila, there tequila. many told me I have to try Mescal when I go to Oaxaca….Sure, I will do. I am already curious about this magical word, it stamped on my brain already. And they explained me Oaxaca is just opposite to Mexico city, quiet and small and heard about Pyramids on Mt.Alban. But, already Mexico get me…deeply. Axel told me, tomorrow is only one interview, but what kind of….. Third day I wake up and not hang over, I drinking quite a lot tequila after tequila since I entered his country. (Even this E-report smells like tequila!!!) With Interview guys, interview guy and cameraman, who is writing for cultural forum for financial paper. we spend afternoon together sitting at street cafe comfortable, watching people go under dull sunshine, having an another party. Interview man told me that this financial paper has good cultural part…In Germany too there is financial paper called Frankfurter Allgemeine, they bring also very best cultural pages.
Later joined by two middle aged musicians, One of them was singer handed me a CD saying “Please listen to this…Also, there come another interview man. Later I invited them to my hotel room for continue relaxing different way.
Time for sound check comes, party is good but, I have to be clear main reason I came to Mexico is performing. I went the venue, strong looking historical building. Already sound check with all these Mexican sound carriers were remarkable, so just looking forward to the performance. After sound check went to eat Mexican food in old ambient with round table for 8 people. After yummys with stomach satisfaction…DJ music as support…the DJ from Spain who lives in NYC, I met once in Palma de Mallorca, he introduced me at the restaurant.
In Venue is already good filled up with young people. At entrance some young people clapped their hands when they saw me. Nice welcome gesture…but, I am quite shy fort his kind……Quick steps to backstage. Performance itself I don’t have to explain how it was….it was just like what I experienced last three days here…..just positive.
Great reaction in audience, after show everybody has smiles on their faces, many photos here and there.