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Dispatches From Mexico City: When A Grammy Winner Calls

Author: Channel E2E blogger and resident musician Ty Trumbull

As a musician, when a Grammy winner calls you to record on an album, you don’t say no.

A few weeks ago, I received a message through Facebook from someone who knew a producer looking to hire a banjo player. Banjo players are rare in Mexico, so this isn’t the first call like this I’ve received. I’ve had the opportunity to record with some well-known Mexican acts (I even laid down some banjo for a Christmas song by famous Mexican singer Emmanuel).

Thankfully, thanks to my utter Canadian-ness, I’ve remained largely oblivious to the star-power of some of the folks I’ve worked with here. It was different when I got the call from Adrián Terrazas who is a member of the Mars Volta, a band that dominated the radio stations I listened to in high school and college.

Adrián is originally from Chihuahua, in the North of Mexico, but now calls Los Angeles home. He’s in Mexico City to play some gigs and produce an EP by an aspiring folk-punk band called Ribendel. But the band’s banjo player wasn’t cutting it and so they needed to call in a professional. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that would be me.

It was a great opportunity, but it also meant a lot of work. I had to learn the songs and perfect playing them before stepping into the studio. That meant a week of intensive listening and practicing.

When I arrived early Saturday afternoon the rest of the band had already been there for hours, setting up, choosing the proper microphones, the right guitars, and getting a decent drum sound. Between the time spent sitting around, the repetitive takes of the same song, and the nerves, recording a record can be an arduous task. But the sessions went smoothly. I returned Sunday to do one more track with the band and I may go back next weekend.

The experience got me thinking about that old cliche: “Success is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.” You never know when inspiration or opportunity will strike, but you need to be ready when it does. It usually doesn’t come more than once.

With that in mind, I hope you’ll excuse me as I need to practice.


Ty Trumbull, from his base in Mexico City, covers the entrepreneur’s journey and business continuity for ChannelE2E. Each Tuesday or so, he offers views about his adopted hometown — his personal Dispatches from Mexico City. Oh, but sometimes he pops up in his home nation of Canada.

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