Last Saturday the Kevin Pakulis Band performed at Monterey Court, a venue we had not played for quite some time. It was an almost full house and we had a ball!
But the surprise of the evening for me was an appearance by a friend and musical cohort, Jesús García, who I had not seen in fifteen years or so (at least in person). He did not know I was in the band–he was there with another friend by coincidence–so on the break we had some catching up to do.
Just for grins, here is the band we were in for a short time in 2004 called Conjunto Nopal. That’s Jesús standing next to me playing the bajo sexto.
He’s been involved in a Peruvian band called Tradiciones for a few years which mixes in traditional music from Paraguay, Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico that has been influenced by Andean styles and instrumentation. Along with Jesús the group includes Jacobo Ramirez from Mexico, Miguel Molina and Oscar and Andrés Infante from Peru, and Dena Cowan and Elena Martinez from Tucson. Here they are performing in front of the incredible mural on 6th St one block east of Stone.
Jesús can also be seen on several episodes of the Desert Speaks with David Yetman but his main gig is as an ecologist and ethnobotanist working at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, teaching natural history & cultural programs in southern Arizona and northern Sonora, Mexico. He also has been the director of the Kino Heritage Fruit Trees Project. The goal of this project is to locate, propagate and replant historically and horticulturally appropriate varieties of fruit trees brought to the Pimería Alta region,(Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora, Mexico) by the first Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries starting in the late 1600s.
Here he is giving a TEDxTucsonSalon talk in 2019, right before the pandemic hit.
I’m quite delighted about our serendipitous experience on Saturday and in my book we need more Jesús García’s in the world.