A Mexican Affair celebrates the relationship between Mexico and the United States and the beautiful cultural influence between both countries. The fusion of boleros, Latin rhythms and jazz makes the perfect entertainment for an evening of delicious live music, candid stories, and spicy romance. The show features popular tunes written by Mexican composers and by American composers who found inspiration in Mexican themes. The thrilling fusion of rhythms and musical influences adds a delightful spice to the influence of Mexico in The Great American Songbook.
Created and performed by Rafa Reyes, the show features songs by Agustín Lara, María Grever, Pablo Beltrán, Consuelo Velázquez, Frederick Loewe and Alan J. Lerner, Jimmy Kennedy and Michael Carr, Ben Weisman and Sid Wayne, and others. New arrangements are by Musical Director - Latin Grammy winner - Felipe Fournier, featuring Dan Martínez on bass, Hugo Moreno on trumpet, percussionist Jonathan Gómez, and Joel Mateo on drums.
Rafa Reyes (Creator/Frontman) is an awarded Cultural Representative from Veracruz, born and raised in Cordoba, Mexico. His love for musical theater brought him to New York to train at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Regional credits include Joseph (Benjamin), Man of La Mancha (Priest), Once on this Island (Ensemble), Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel (Ensemble), and most recently West Side Story (Bernardo). Dance credits include Calpulli Mexican Dance (Principal), Jazz Roots Dance (Featured), Teatro LATEA's La Llorona (Featured), BABEL (Ensemble), and Ballet Nepantla. He received a special award from the mayor of Cordoba, Mexico in 2011 for his efforts in the promotion of Mexican culture in the United States. He created and developed A Mexican Affair as a producing fellow with Convergences Theatre Collective. In 2015 he premiered “Fiesta” - a musical short film tribute to Ricardo Montalbán and Cyd Charisse. Rafa wants to become a stronger cultural link between Mexico and the United States, and continue to bring a positive impact to the hispanic community through the performing arts, on both sides of the border and beyond.
Felipe Fournier (Musical Director/Arranger/Vibraphone) was born in Costa Rica. He is a vibist/percussionist and composer who graduated from the Puerto Rico Music Conservatory, concentrating in Jazz and Caribbean Music. Felipe is a Latin Grammy winner as the producer of Mariachi Flor de Toloache's "Las Caras Lindas", awarded Best Ranchero Music Album in 2017. He has been nominated previously for a Latin Grammy with Charlie Sepúlveda & The Turnaround; and nominated for a Grammy with Nestor Torres; and Ruben Blades & Cheo Feliciano on his latest album, “Eba Say Aja.” Based in NYC since 2013, Felipe is the MD of "Supermambo! A Vibes Tribute to Tito Puente,” Luba Mason’s MIXTURA, A Mexican Affair, and Ballet Nepantla, among others. He also plays as a sideman with Miguel Zenon’s SUR, Luisito Quintero’s 3rd Element, Guillermo Klein, Jaranta Beat, Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra, Axel Laugart, and Tres del Solar.
Dan Martínez (Bass) was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He started playing music at the age of 12 at Escuela Libre de Música. He later continued his studies at the Conservatory of Music in Puerto Rico, where he also started playing the upright bass, studying with bass legend Eddie Gómez. During his time, he performed in a wide variety of bands of different genres, including jazz, pop/rock, salsa and Latin jazz, and folkloric music. Based in NYC since 2011, he pursued his studies in the Aaron Copland School of Music, receiving a Master's degree in Jazz Performance. He performs regularly with Luba Mason, Jan Kus, Richard Padron, Supermambo! and many others.
Joel Mateo (Drums) is a drummer and percussionist from Puerto Rico. He began his musical studies at an early age at the Escuela Libre de Música Juan Morell Campos in Ponce, PR. He continued his music studies completing a BA in the Interamercian University in PR, and then an MA at the Aaron Copland School of Music in NYC. His musical range has led him to play live and record with international artists such as Papo Vázquez, Miguel Zenón, Manuel Valera, Andy González, Tego Calderón, Elio Villafranca, John Benítez, La Mala Rodríguez, and Paoli Mejias, among others. Joel currently resides in NYC, where he continues to play, record and travel with different artists and groups.
Hugo Moreno (Trumpet) has performed in several Broadway shows, symphony orchestras, Big Bands, salsa bands and Latin jazz groups since moving to New York City. He has also appeared onstage with Paquito d'Rivera, Gustavo Santaolalla, Gloria Estefan, Carlos Santana, and John Legend. Hugo is currently the trumpet player for Grammy and Latin Grammy winner Lila Downs. He is a founding member of New York based groups The Filmharmonic Brass, Jarana Beat, The Gregorio Uribe Big Band, and Le Train Bleu. He is an ongoing participant at the Marlboro Music Festival.
Jonathan Gómez (Percussion) has successfully taken traditional Colombian sounds all around the US. Born in Bogota, Colombia, he started his musical career at the age of five at “Orquesta Sinfonica Juvenil de Colombia” where he first received classical training in violin before he began training in classical percussion. His musical development continued at the “Pontificia Universidad Javeriana” where he reached a better understanding of world music. He was later inspired to move to the Big Apple. It didn’t take long until he was involved with bands from all over the world in NYC, always bringing the Colombian flavor to the mix. He has performed in many festivals such as Globalfest, Music of Colors (Detroit) and SXSW (Austin, TX) Lincoln Center’s Mid Summer Nights Swing (NYC), and Medellin Vive La Musica (Colombia) to name a few. He is a current member of Pablo Mayor’s Folklore Urbano, Gregorio Uribe Big Band, Gregorio Uribe (Trio) and Alejandro Zuleta Vallenato Collective. He performs with artists from all over the U.S and Colombia such as Luisito Carrión, Mariano Civico, David Pabon, Luis Felipe Gonzalez, Paquito Guzman, among others. Jonathan has also been part of numerous theatrical acts such as “La Gloria” and “Romance” at Teatro SEA as well as “La Mas Grande Historia Jamas Cantada”, the first Colombian musical presented at Lincoln Center. Jonathan has an extensive career in the salsa scene beginning in Colombia as part of “La Real Charanga” and recording two productions that took first place in festivals such as “Salsa al Parque” and "Jazz al Parque”. Jonathan currently resides in New York City.
ALTERNATING MUSICIANS AND OTHER ARTISTS
Guillermo Barrón (Percussion), Rubén Coca (Drums), Juan Felipe Mayorga (Drums), Julie Acosta (Trumpet)
Kathi E.B. Elis, Zacil “Sassy Nash”, David Preciado (Dramaturges). Jeremy Williams (Director of Incubation)
Photography by Julieta Cervantes, Lloyd Mulvey, Ben Gabbe, and Convergences Theatre Collective.