Okanagan goes south of the border

While the weather in the Okanagan may be slow to warm up this year, residents at least have a chance to experience some music from a warmer climate later this month, when El Mariachi comes to Summerland.

Submitted photo “Diego” Smedley-Kohl plays his guitarron with El Mariachi during a competion in Guadalajara

Submitted photo “Diego” Smedley-Kohl plays his guitarron with El Mariachi during a competion in Guadalajara

While the weather in the Okanagan may be slow to warm up this year, residents at least have a chance to experience some music from a warmer climate later this month, when El Mariachi comes to Summerland.

Terence Smedley-Kohl comes by his love of mariachi music naturally. While he is a former Okanagan resident, “Diego” was born and grew up for several years in Ajijic, a 500-year-old fishing village, just south of Guadalajara, Mexico.

“As a kid, I heard all the songs from the little groups in town. They were always playing and everybody seemed to be playing music from their ghetto blaster at all times of day and night,” he said. “There isn’t really any stringent noise bylaws, so there is always someone playing something down there.”

While mariachi is a traditional music style from Mexico, El Mariachi hails from Vancouver. But Diego said they have no trouble finding appreciative audiences way north of the border.

“They connect with the fact that the music is vibrant and lively. Everybody has been down to Mexico so it brings back good memories and you also hear some of the European styles and melodies in the polka style,” he said.

Tickets for the March 22 performance at 8 p.m. in Summerland’s Centre Stage theatre are available at Martin’s Flowers in Summerland and The Dragon’s Den in Penticton.