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Visiting Santa Fe

2014, February Tune In to Santa Fe

Santa Fe is many things; the second oldest city in the U.S., an internationally recognized center for the arts, a food lover's town, a place for Rocky Mountain adventure and a vibrant center for live music. Maybe that last is unexpected but with its highly creative population, numerous and eclectic venues and widespread support of the arts, Santa Fe's thriving music scene means any day is a good one for live music.

The Southwest's "Roots" music includes a number of genres including the spiritual tunes of Native America, the fiery flamenco of our Spanish ancestors and the folk traditions and cowboy songs inspired by the Old West. All of this music endures in Santa Fe and can be heard on any given night in town.

The local music scene is also fueled by dozens of Santa Fe based bands and performers, some of whom are legendary in their status and many others who are playing original music and producing their own albums. In the last year more than 450 different recordings were made by the musicians of Santa Fe, from the stomping alternative country of Anthony Leon & The Chain to the bluesy ragtime of Country Blues Review to the rocking Americana of Drastic Andrew and many more.

From rock to jazz to country & western to most any sort of alternative style and everything in between there is no lack of choice. Salsa nights, blues nights, bluegrass, nationally touring acts and home-grown heroes all find a welcoming audience and place to play in town. No matter your preference in music or setting, it's somewhere in Santa Fe. From the quiet evenings of winter through the roaring times of summer when the variety seems endless, Santa Fe is always alive with music.

One of the greatest mixed-music series is the summer's Santa Fe Bandstand program that brings free, live music of every type to the heart of the city, the Santa Fe Plaza, four nights a week, plus noontime shows, for six weeks. With the whole Plaza filled by folks swaying to ballads, swing dancing to popular country or yipping along with Mariachi music the Bandstand program is a musical summer highlight.

Then there is timeless classical music, the best the world produced over the past centuries. The Santa Fe Opera is recognized as having one of the finest opera seasons anywhere. The opera's acoustically and esthetically outstanding amphitheater is an ideal setting for staging each summer’s five different operas, one of which is always an American or world premier. Bring a dinner, from simple to elegant, and join in the fine Santa Fe tradition of tailgating before an opera performance in the theater parking lot. Mixing with the erudite crowd and taking in the close up views of the Southern Rockies and the sunset over the Jemez mountains makes the setting surprisingly sublime.

For a night out the place to be is the Lensic Performing Arts Center in historic downtown. The theater dates back to 1931 when it was built as a Vaudeville House but today it's a technically sophisticated performance venue that is a national model for sustainable arts centers. The cozy, art deco theater presents more than 200 eclectic performances a year featuring outstanding local, national and international talent. It is a home to the Santa Fe Symphony, Santa Fe Pro Musica, Santa Fe Community Orchestra, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.

The city's many music-loving bars, restaurants and hotels are the heart of Santa Fe's music scene where the nightly music happens throughout the year. Other venues in town include the jewel-like Loretto Chapel, an only in Santa Fe experience, the history filled St. Francis Auditorium in the Palace of the Governors-the oldest public building in the country-the intimate James A. Little Theater, the stage at the Center for Contemporary Arts, the Cristo Rey Church, Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis and the teen-centric Warehouse 21.

For up to date listings of what’s happening on Santa Fe’s music scene, and everything else going on in town, visit

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