DANIEL CORDERO

INTERVIEW WITH DANIEL CORDERO: Mexico’s Gold Star Musician

IMG10Many local artists move here to Lake Chapala, but Daniel Cordero is an American musician who grew up here.  This fascinating interview tracks the personal and musical history of an outstanding musician. You can catch Daniel at the Iron Horse (78 Hildalgo)on Sunday afternoons!

 

 

You are the definition of a working musician! I understand that you are performing in 2 different bands, as well as a solo artist. Can you tell us a little about the bands?

IMG4Well, I am lead singer-rhythm guitar/keyboards/harmonica in a 4-piece band called Psychostasia,a classic hard rock group that plays originals and covers. We’ve been called “the best rock band in Mexico” by Leyendas del Rock (Rock Legends) magazine, and have won some prestigious worldwide music contests and songwriting awards. We are currently playing at festivals and events around Mexico. My second project is a trio we call Lot Of Trouble (LoT). Our songs are much mellower, but with a cool groove, such as soft rock. The trio is composed of me on rhythm guitar and drums, my brother David on ING3electric guitar (he is also lead guitarist in Psychostasia), and good friend Renich Bon Ciric on piano. All three of us sing and harmonize. We are currently under contract to an upscale Boutique Hotel in Guadalajara. And, on the lighter side, I’ve been called a one-man- band in my solo gigs, where I sing, play a classic acoustic guitar, drums and harmonica, and include steady footwork with a pedal I invented, which adds bass drum and various other percussion instruments and effects. I’ve also been called a walking jukebox, because I have a repertoire of around 750 songs — Oldies, Rock/Pop Classics, Blues, Reggae, Ballads – in English and Spanish. This means that I frequently know a song requested, or at least another by the same band or artist.

How does performing in the bands differ from your solo performances?

IMG1Regardless of the venue, I love music. Almost any and all music. It is totally in my blood and part of who I am. Performing solo allows me to take liberties with a song, play whatever song I want to, etc. That is nice, and it has allowed me to support my family as a full-time musician doing something I love. The LoT trio and Psychostasia both require teamwork. Psychostasia, in particular, is very demanding physically and vocally. But that’s where having a team helps out, with all of us backing each other up. That teamwork is very gratifying and brings extra fulfillment to the music.

As well as being a musician, you are also a composer. Where do you get your inspiration? And your energy?

IMG2During our years here, my brother and I have composed around 80 songs. Like most musicians, we are inspired by our own experiences, or what we observe and read about. We amplify and pour our feelings and our life into songs. Many of our songs are commentary, expressing our personal opinions of what is going on in the world around us, regardless of culture or country.

What difficulties have you encountered being an American rock musician in Mexico?

IMG5Because I grew up in Mexico and have spent over half my life here, I actually consider myself an American and a Mexican musician. I discovered my love of music here in Mexico. I play both Latin and American songs, sing and compose in both English and Spanish, am bilingual and married to a Mexican woman and we have a Mexican-born child. In other words, this is home. I am fully committed and integrated into the Mexican culture. My brother and I were befriended by the young people in our pueblo when we first moved here, and they have always been loyal and supportive. However, I cannot deny that we have encountered a certain amount of racial IMG7prejudice in others, just as Latinos (unfortunately) find in the U.S. I believe that we are all part of the same race, the human race. And musicians are all part of a very special brotherhood; we should all be encouraging and helping each other. Sadly, not all musicians share that philosophy. A common belief here is that all “gringos” have a lot of money and therefore don’t need a helping hand (totally untrue in our case). And because of prejudice, some Mexicans don’t seem to want the “gringos” to share the same opportunities they enjoy. But this is true of only some, not all. We try to live our philosophy and hope that it makes an impact. Because of very limited resources, it hasn’t been easy to reach out musically to the world from a tiny pueblo in Central Mexico. But we have been inspired by the loyal fans and supporters we have found here, and have persevered out of our genuine love of music.

Listening to your music, your audience would never know that you are hearing impaired. Tell us how this impacts your music? And about your Sound Wave Therapy CD?

IMG6Being hearing impaired is not something I share openly, so very few people know. I read lips and also I’ve been told that I have a gift for “feeling” the vibrations of sound. This gift has helped me learn to play over 8 instruments. It also led me to explore the dynamics of sound frequencies and their effect on the human body, mind and psyche. My research revealed that certain, precise digital tones and frequencies have been found to improve health. In 2004, hoping to help a friend dying from cancer, I produced a sound therapy CD: 60 minutes of extemporaneous classical guitar played over binaural beats and frequencies aimed at relaxation, pain relief and healing. I had no intention of selling the CD when I recorded it for my friend, but I discovered that many others wanted a copy also. So I printed up a thousand CDs, titled it “Tuning in to Soundwave Therapy” and offered it for sale. It sold out really quickly. I am hoping to someday reprint that CD, and also add a second volume designed to enhance mental acuity and vitality.

What brought you Lake Chapala? We would love to hear your story.

I believe destiny brought me here. My family and I came to Mexico to escape the high-stress lifestyle of the U.S., and we fell in love with the Mexican way of “family first” (work to live not live to work).

IMG8

What else would you like our readers to know about you?

I will never stop learning; it’s my passion. I am always hungry for new music, learning, and creativity. It’s what keeps me going. I also have another creative project in the works: a line of rock clothing and accessories.

 

 

 

Your facebook page? website? links to other information about you and your work?

Daniel Cordero Official Website

Daniel Cordero Music Facebook

Psychostasia Official Website

Psychostasia Facebook

Music is the heart and soul of Mexico. Live music and opportunities to learn and create are everywhere! Take advantage of that whenever you can.


Testimonials

The 360 Xochi Quetzel Personal Residency Program was a perfect place for me to focus on my children’s book. I wanted an authentic Mexico experience where I would be submersed in the culture and language. Chapala was easy to get around and affordable. The Lopez Cotilla casita was cool, breezy and comfortable. It had everything I needed. I woke up in the morning to hummingbirds buzzing around a tree outside my window. Sunsets were beautiful from the outdoor terrace and an occasional dramatic thunderstorm just to let you know who is really in charge around here. Muchas Gracias!!

Kristin Balouch, Writer, Brooklyn NY

We have one word to describe the our experience here at 360 Xochi Quetzal, and that is MAGIC! The casita is very spacious, allowing for lots of room to create. It is very comfortable and clean, and has everything you could possibly need for your personal residency. We especially enjoy spending time on the relaxing balcony. Cobra and Chris are available and very helpful. The Residency Handbook in the casita addresses all of our questions in detail and offers suggestions for things to try around the area. You will often hear live music in the early evening from the Malecon. It feels very safe here, and even more secure having the Red Cross right across the street. It has been a wonderful experience, and Kristen and I  would like to return each year.

Orion Kugel,Photographer

We have one word to describe the our experience here at 360 Xochi Quetzal, and that is MAGIC! The casita is very spacious, allowing for lots of room to create. It is very comfortable and clean, and has everything you could possibly need for your personal residency. We especially enjoy spending time on the relaxing balcony. Cobra and Chris are available and very helpful. The Residency Handbook in the casita addresses all of our questions in detail and offers suggestions for things to try around the area. You will often hear live music in the early evening from the Malecon. It feels very safe here, and even more secure having the Red Cross right across the street. It has been a wonderful experience, and Orion and I would like to return each year.

Kristen Pobatschnig, Painter
“Applying for the free Winter residency of Xochi Quetzal was the start of many positive transformations. The silence I found for myself during the residency, allowed me not only to write the best last chapter I can write at this stage of my evolution, it also granted me a most sought-after introspection moment during which I read my dreams and studied ancient Eastern writings. The serenity of the lake and presence of other artists inspired me to get mentally ready and organized for my future as a novelist. I am particularly fond of spending the holidays abroad with ‘strangers’. It always infuses me with these wild insights and whims. Our group was just lovely, the artists one by one very interesting. Cobra and Christian are warm and graceful hosts who made life easy. All in all, Xochi Quetzal was a weighty meditation, a poetic experience that carried me through the rest of Mexico in newness and will resonate long after.”
Heidi Souffriau, Writer
“I was partly inspired to apply for the Xochi Quetzal residency by The Retro Cocktail Hour — a popular Saturday night radio show on Kansas Public Radio 91.5 that features exotica music (a form of tropical jazz).  My hope was for the palm trees,  lakeside sunrises, and culture of Chapala & Mexico at large to inform my creative process.  These elements did precisely that, and the generous hospitality of Cobra & her partner Christian provided me with a cozy composing environment.”
Note from Staff: Listen to the music created during Andrew’s residency -Winter 2016
Andrew Morgan, Composer, Musician

Chapala is a safe, spiritually charged, beautiful place. Wild horses run through town.  It’s a place where you greet strangers on the street.

I walked along the lake in meditation a great deal. I hiked the looming cerro overlooking town. I biked all over the countryside. I wrote, documented, created composed soundscapes utilizing field recordings, and built small maquette light sculptures based on my experiences. I attended traditional temazcals, and sat alone in cathedrals.

It was pivotal for me in a spiritual sense more than a career advancing experience. I’m very grateful for it, and Deborah Kruger is a wonderful advocate to keep in contact with. I truly recommend the residency.

Justin R. Lytle, Sound Artist & Sculptor

My residency at 360 Xochi Quetzal in summer 2015 was both restorative and productive.  I was inspired by the beautiful studio and the surrounding Chapala  / Jalisco region.  The setting worked well for me in terms of inspiring and completing new work, and learning the history and customs of the area.  The flexible residency requirements allowed an easy engagement with other residents, and encouraged me to participate in Chapala and Guadalajara communities.  There are many contemporary art venues in Guadalajara, which are an easy bus ride from Chapala.

Michael Pribich, Sculptor

“Not only was this residency situated in one of the most beautifully mystical, culturally resonant, and stimulating settings imaginable, it also managed to be both peaceful and galvanizing: the perfect combination for immersing oneself in a creative project without hesitation or distraction. Deborah and Christian’s home was an oasis. One of my fellow residents remarked to me that “this place has amazing energy for getting work done,” and I wholeheartedly agree: the atmosphere seemed to hum with a low-key, generative productivity, one that helped me get closer than I’d been in many months to actually fully realizing and finishing a long story. I wish I was still there among the bougainvillea, the jade vines, the dogs and the pelicans.”

Suzanne K. Rivecca, Author

Chapala has become my home away from home. The Xochi Quetztal residency is run efficiently. Cobra and her team are friendly, accessible, and professional. My stay in Chapala is enhanced by the personal relationships I have developed with several of the team members. The casita I stay in is very well maintained and fully equipped. The studio area is large and ready for me to engage in art as soon as I arrive.  The weather is always fantastic. The lake, the town(s), the life, the restaurants, the view, the very friendly local people all call me back again and again. I love it!

Zahava Sherez, Sculptor

“This was the most work I’ve ever done in a single month in my life. I will never forget what an incredible experience this was and I thank you for honoring me with a residency at 360 Xochi Quetzal. The reference material I gathered throughout the trip to Chapala, Mexico is going to fuel my work for years to come. Thank you for everything! You run an incredible residency program!!!”

Santiago Galeas, Painter