Whose House? The Mariachi Ghost’s House

All photos by Serge Gumenyuk

If you’re looking for any of the members of the Mariachi Ghost on a Tuesday night, chances are you’ll find them jamming together in a basement.

Drummer Ian Mikita’s rented house in River Heights has turned into a practice space for the local band. The Mariachi Ghost is known for its dramatic performance and blend of progressive rock with traditional Mexican music.

“We’re firm believers of winter refuge in the basement and this is really where we do our best writing work,” lead vocalist/guitarist Jorge Requena says.

Right now the band is busy practicing for Festival du Voyageur, where it will be playing its own versions of traditional Francophone songs.

The group is also excited to be opening for a Spanish band called Jarabe De Palo that headlines arenas in Latin America and plays the Park Theatre on March 20.

“They literally called us on the phone and I thought it was my friends from Mexico calling me and making a joke. Even my mom knows who they are and is excited for the show,” Requena says.

1) Piñatas

“These are piñatas from our most recent Mexico Independence Day show. We also have a big skull that was made for us for our CD release, our Western Canadian Music Award and tons more. All things related to Mariachi Ghost end up finding its way down here,” jarana player Gabriel Fields says.

2) Sauna

“I bought this at Costco and it was really hard to get down here. I had to cut the front panel in half and chip out some of the door frame, but I made it happen and it’s lovely. Three of us had a band sauna together a couple of weeks ago,” Mikita says.

3) Quijada

“This is one of the many instruments Tim Friesen plays in the band. It’s a traditional instrument from Peru that’s a donkey jaw and sounds like a rattle. We’ve broken quite a couple of them during the course of the band,” Requena says.

4) Chopping Block

“One morning I was coming home hung over from our old practice space and I saw this at a garage sale. This chopping block is my favourite piece of furniture and I’m really proud of it,” Mikita says.

5) Progress Board

“We’re working on new material and this is how we keep track of it all. We’re writing an album about a book called Pedro Páramo and we’re writing songs for the different characters right now,” Requena says.

Published in Volume 69, Number 20 of The Uniter (February 11, 2015)

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