‘Nuevo Mariachi’ concert at Bitwise is a weekend highlight.
Groundbreaking artists are impatient. They aren’t content to do things the same old way. They push and pull and stretch. They are never quite satisfied with the status quo.
With his style of “Nuevo Mariachi,” Sanger native Omar Naré gives a makeover to the beloved musical artform of his youth. He isn’t against what he calls “pure mariachi,” but he wants his version — which he describes as a blend of “sophisti-pop and mariachi traditions” — to crackle in modern times. For that, he’s getting attention. A recent public radio story on Naré delved into his fascinating life story and musical innovations. (A mention of and link to that piece, which I recommend you give a listen, even made it into the New York Times.)
Q: Your grandfather was a farmworker. You’ve worked in the fields yourself. What connection does mariachi have to the land?
A: I like to imagine that my grandfather packed clothes, blankets, and a box of Pedro Infante records when he drove from Mexico to California with my abuelita! Mariachi has always been the music of the land. The earliest mariachi musicians would wander from hacienda to hacienda picking fruit and training horses. At night, they would play their violins and guitars. Later, the music became organized, hip and urban — think Mexico City in 1936 — but it has always maintained its folk identity, even till today. It’s always been music of the land.
Options include Dixie Salazar at Fig Tree Gallery, Suzanne Bertz-Rosa at Bitwise, and the new show “Kindred” at Arte Americas
Dixie Salazar turns her attention to a prominent issue in her new show at Fig Tree Gallery: global warming. It’s one of my picks for interesting sounding exhibitions in ArtHop, the monthly open house of galleries and exhibitions in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods.
I checked in with Salazar to get a preview of “Summer 2017: Fire and Water.”
Q: How many works are there in the show? Tell us about your approach.
A: There are four quite large painted collages. They are abstract but with much perceived water imagery and fire also. I also collaged burned paper onto the pieces. I was working on this piece in the summer of 2017 and was affected at some level by all the devastation caused by natural upheavals. I work intuitively, so much of this became apparent to me after I finished the work.
Options include Keyboard Concerts, the Fresno Film Festival and Fall Dances at Fresno City College. Plus: events at Bitwise and Sequoia Symphony
Here’s a roundup of promising arts/culture picks for the weekend:
This highly regarded series has brought some of the world’s most famous, seasoned pianists to Fresno. But the series is also a way to experience some of the most accomplished young talent as well.
That’s the case with Daniel Hsu, who will perform as part of the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts series at Fresno State. Hsu is winner of the bronze medal at the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, which made him an instant star. The 19-year-old Bay Area native on Friday will present a virtuoso program consisting of works by Schubert, Chopin, J.S. Bach/Busoni, Rachmaninoff, and Marc-André Hamelin’s Toccata on “L’homme armé.
Weekend options include metal-meets-mariachi at Arte Americas and a new musical arts series at Bitwise Industries
I’ve already told you about two of this weekend’s big theater events (“Hedda Gabler” and “R&J”). Here are a few more promising (and, for this blog, a little off-the-beaten path) cultural picks for the weekend.
Mariachi meets metal
This concert has such an interesting premise that I can’t resist: METALACHI is the first heavy-metal mariachi band in the world. (I’m not sure if it’s the only heavy-metal mariachi band in the world — that would be a pretty small group, right?) And it’s returning to Arte Américas for a concert on Saturday, Aug. 12, in the outdoor Plaza Paz.
The ensemble uses traditional mariachi instruments to re-interpret songs by Metallica, Guns N Roses, Led Zepplin, Bon Jovi, and more. Add in painted faces, over-the-top costumes, raunchy humor, and raucous theatrics, and this isn’t exactly your grandfather’s mariachi concert.
Cristobal Selamé performs at Bitwise, Bach Children’s Choir offers spring concert, and the Fresno Art Museum opens new exhibitions
On my list for promising cultural weekend options:
Bitwise Industries is transforming the local technology industry, and it’s becoming a player in the cultural scene as well thanks to its 160-seat John W. Dodson Theater. The venue hosts Chilean classical guitar virtuoso Cristobal Selamé in a Sunday concert.
The event, which is sponsored by California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics — Central Valley District, benefits the Helena Kennedy Memorial Scholarship for Fresno State dietetic and nutrition students. Selamé is Helena Kennedy’s nephew.
From the organizers:
The 21-year- old Selamé recently completed studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under legendary Brazilian guitarist and composer Sérgio Assad, a Grammy Award winner who called his pupil an “upcoming new master.” Selamé has won a number of important classical guitar competitions and was recently accepted into the master’s program at the prestigious Academy of Music in Darmstadt, Germany, under the instruction of the world-renowned musician Tilman Hoppstock.
Sounds like a great opportunity for classical guitar fans, and it’s a worthy cause. (And no extra calories.) Details: 2 p.m. Sunday, May 21, Bitwise South Stadium. $15 in advance through Eventbrite and $17 on the day of the event if tickets remain.