¡Ánimo, we’re in this together! I’ve heard that word a lot recently, in phrases such as ánimo, you can do it – when learning a new skill; ánimo, keep your spirits up – expressed to a friend whose mother passed during this awkward time; we’re doing this to help with children´s ánimo – from volunteers packing sweets, stuffed animals, or board games in packages to give out on Children’s Day (April 30th), or ánimo elevated through cotton candy and balloons to enliven family food baskets. So many animated meanings to such a simple word – it is encouragement, urging someone to feel better, brightening up someone’s mood, and wanting to raise someone’s spirit. ¡Ánimo!
During this time of Covid-19, helping everyone maintain their ánimo in Puerto Peñasco has mostly taken the form of music, storytelling, and art. Among the helpers in Puerto Peñasco, along with amigos sending their positive vibes and good spirits from afar, there have been weekly salsa concerts by Agua de Coco, techno beats of DJ Scott Kaos on Saturday night as the sun sinks somewhere into the sea, classical music and opera by a local music instructor German Esquer and one of his star pupils, and guitar ballads across Facebook highlighting familiar faces that once upon a time could be found specific days on a local stage overseeing cocktail hours, or possibly brunch. In coming days, Avril y Los Vatos Jazz along with the Levito String Trio, both from Puerto Peñasco, will take part in honoring International Jazz Day, with live streaming of the 2020 Festival de Jazz del Desierto.
The local Casa de la Cultura has broadcast storytelling with librarian Carolina Flores de Gonzalez, while the Municipal Office on Ecology and Sustainable Development held a children’s drawing contest on the theme “How do you see the World from home?”. Speaking of art contests, the FB page entitled “Peñasco Strong” invited children from across the city to share their best costumes and artistic talents to celebrate Children’s Day.
There have been spectacular fundraising moments set to the rich sounds of music, including a “Borracho Sunday” jam from the Colorado confines of Jim Dalton (guitarist of Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers) that, together with a matching donation, raised over $11,000 US for local food distribution efforts of Steps of Love/AIM Penasco! DJ Scott also spun his “Trapped in Paradise” groove one night for Steps of Love, raising over $2000 US – similarly with a matching donation – noting he plans to spread the love to other charitable groups currently helping across the community (May 2nd for Gastro 638), while each Sunday, Pastor Tab’s unmistakable vibrato rings out from the Family of God FB page. Local mariachi group Los Hermanos Duran can also be found sharing ánimo online.
Many musicians who frequent our playas each year have lent to our ánimo, from the desert Americana of Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers to the south-of-the border trop rock of Mark Mulligan, and from the chart breaking rock of The Black Moods to the “Corona caroling” country of Matt Farris, and from online streaming of Rocky Point Rally mainstay Mogollon, to the dance beats of the Fuzzion Music Experience.
As live music streams across our screens, we look forward to when tunes will once again be belted out over the dunes, tossing us up on the shore after this experience like an empty tequila bottle with a hand-scrolled message instructing… ¡Ánimo!