“Why don’t you start the Mexican Motown? Not just record artists, nurture their confidence and stage presence too. You can call it Mexmo!” Those words were prophetically uttered by my longtime music buddy Chris Montez on my front porch as he contemplated his dream of retiring to Mexico and working with kids. That was over four years ago. Chris is still on the road delighting audiences worldwide with his many hits. There’s even a documentary of his life in production now, Chris Montez, A Man and His Music. Be sure and watch for it, he’s a musical treasure.
Mexmo became a corporation in Mexico and currently working on our 21st CD. Our goals have always included creating events for local charity groups, and encouraging amateur and professional musicians and singers. Mexmo! Mexmo is located in San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico. Commonly referred to as a “drinking village with a fishing problem,” it’s a little slice of paradise where the desert meets the Sea of Cortez about 250 miles south of Tucson. It’s also home/2nd home/Want to home to a friendly and internationally diverse community of talented artists. Not just music, but visual and technical artists. There’s a lot of love in this little community, and a generous love of art for art’s sake.
Over the years with our live shows the players and band names have changed, it got confusing. Some musicians are only here part of the year, many go on tour. The commonality was always my guitar picking songwriter husband Bobby, me (Leslie Sahlen), and shows/records produced by Mexmo. So it makes more sense our shows will be as the artist Mexmo! Our fans know that “band” includes a wonderful assortment of featured artists who might include Bliss Cochran, Rachel Souza, Peter Pope Jones, Neil Duvall, The Twins, Manuelito, Hans Gundman, and even Trop Rock award winner, Sam Rainwater, pulls out his uke when he can. Bruce Munson and his Trailer Trash Royalty have been known to grace the stage.
What you get is MexiBlues, Baja Bluegrass, Mariachi Fusion, Coconut Country and Twisted Americana.
You can catch Mexmo live in San Carlos, and “live” concert broadcasts on www.StageIt.com
All the Mexmo recorded products under a variety of artist names can be found at
Leslie Sahlen - Producer
In 1977 Music Connection Magazine sent me out to interview the reclusive sixties folk rocker Spanky McFarlane for one of it's very first issues. That interview was the beginning of a long friendship and collaboration that has spanned 31 years. Spanky and Our Gang, then the Mamas and Papas, figure largely in many adventures over the years. Spanky and I co-produced and performed two music festivals in Northern California, and the 1960s Music Festival in my home town of San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico. If anyone would have ever told me I would be one day be engineering and producing spanish language music acts in a beach town in Mexico, I'd say they were crazy. Toxic Titty Disease (truth, silicone makes you sick) made it impossible to continue working at any more "day jobs of the famous and poor" so my songwriter husband and I decided it was time to "retire" to cheaper living south of the border. Being musicians and songwriters ("when it's in ya, it's in ya") we brought down a simple home studio setup to record demos. Word got around, musicians started knocking on the door, and ended up a small recording studio, a Mexican corporation, and 18 CDs released on CDBaby. The company is called MexMo San Carlos S de RL de CV, named by my longtime music buddy Chris Montez. I uploaded videos of Chris and others from the 1960s Music Festival on YouTube.com/tomatah1. He was visiting us last year and suggested we start "the Mexican Motown" to nurture the cool talent we found here. My husband of 20 years, Bobby Sahlen, and I just released a CD of new songs (our first in 16 years), "Life's Much Better In Mexico." It came available for sale yesterday on CDBaby, but we did upload and "deliver" the tracks to Broadjam.com a couple weeks ago. That resulted in Film TV co-publishing contracts for 24 tracks from out catalogue including 8 of the 12 from the "Life's Better ..." CD! Yeah Team!
Chris Montez - Producer
Chris Montez was born in Los Angeles California and grew up in the town of Hawthorne. He was influenced by his Hispanic culture and the rock 'n roll success of Richie Valens. Music was an integral part of his family life and Chris began singing rancheras with his older brothers when he was a kid. They taught him to play the guitar and he sang the high parts. As he gained confidence and his voice matured, he began singing leads. His early days at Hawthorne High were spent emulating the tough "low rider" Latino image, but in his junior year, ignited by the spark of musical ambition, Chris changed his style because he had "goals to make." He formed a band and recorded his own original songs that gained the interest of Monogram Records. "All You Had To Do Was Tell Me" became a local hit. In 1962, Chris' single, "Let's Dance" hit the top 10 and he was on his way. He toured with Clyde McPhatter, Sam Cooke, The Platters and Smokey Robinson. In 1963, while in Liverpool with Tommy Roe, his opening act was a new English group, The Beatles. With 3 years on the road behind him, Chris came home in 1965 to complete his education and join a new label, A & M. Herb Alpert dropped in on one of Chris' first sessions and suggested that he try a soft ballad sound. It was a more conservative style than Chris would have preferred but Alpert's instincts were good and the hits "The More I See You," "There Will Never Be Another You," "Call Me" and "Time After Time" followed in quick succession. While the British and psychedelic rock were invading the U.S., Chris left A & M, signed with CBS International and amassed a string of hits outside the U.S. that has firmly established him as an international recording star. He has recorded songs in English and in Spanish that have become hits in Austria, Germany and Holland. Long before The Doors and The Beach Boys, there was a musical phenomenon occurring in Los Angeles' large Hispanic population that would take 30 years to be recognized. In the early 50's, rhythm and blues performed solely by black musicians took hold with Los Angeles' Chicano (Americans born of Mexican descent) residents years before it gained popularity with the teens who would credit Elvis Presley with their introduction to rock 'n roll. In the barrios of East Los Angeles, The Drifters, Clyde McPhatter, Crows and Big Jay McNeely were the music of choice in the 50's. Those solid musical roots, intermingled with traditional Mexican rancheras gained a new and fresh popularity with groups such as Los Lobos. The success of the film "La Bamba" identified those roots. Chris Montez' well-known hits and his heritage are part of the Richie Valens legacy. "I am very conscious of my culture," says Chris, who performed as Chris Montez and La Raza on tours to Japan, South America and Europe. Judging by record sales and well attended appearances in many European cities, so are they. Today, Chris Montez is just hitting his stride. Born into a bi-cultural city with a rich heritage, he emerges trim and fit, an energetic performer with a history and cultural relevance that is unique.
Christie Forester - Artist
Christie Forester was born in Ambon, Indonesia where her parents, RB and Avelone Caveness were missionaries. At twelve, she was her father's church pianist and although musically trained, seized every opportunity to create her own music ... much to her piano teachers' chagrin. After living in Singapore for many years, Christie returned to the United States where she married Walter Forester and completed her Ph.D. in Learning Disabilities. Christie currently lives in San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico where she met her producer, Leslie Sahlen. REVIEW of Christie's Christmas CD! "Forester's arrangements are delicate and delightful; the melodies meander down lyrical paths, but the essence of each well-known carol never disappears. Her keyboard seems to be producing the percussive sounds of a vibraphone or similar instrument; the results shimmer with warmth. This release is consistently solid, and my favorite tracks are "Silent Night" and "Silent Night Reprise," which bookend the album and combine for over ten minutes of intensely lovely music." For the complete review go to http://www.christmasreviews.com/wchristieforester.shtml Christmas classics like you've never heard them before. Christie Forester is a unique composing and performing talent. She uses familiar melodies and weaves her own magic creating ethereal compositions that are perfect for your holiday events or just relaxing by a warm fire.
1960s Music Festival - Artists
Never before had this group of 60s icons played together, and many their first performance in Mexico. The result was a magical muscial moment that will be fondly remembered by all. Unfortunately after months of work and planning when the concert dates arrived I was sick as a dog! The local doc wanted me to go to hospital, but I told him the show must go on! Johnny Kito arrived with a nasty flu too, but mega professional that he is the music came through beautifully. I mention this because on this disc is my first released cover of a Randy Newman song (I'm a serious fan)and my voice was croaky, but has heart. Hope you like it Randy. - Leslie Sahlen, Producer Rare Performances By 1960s Music Legends for Hurricane Heroes in Mexico! SAN CARLOS, SONORA, MEXICO - More than a dozen of the top singers and musicians of the 1960s music era gathered for an unprecedented event at the Paradiso Hotel Resort, to benefit San Carlos' non profit emergency medical service, RESCATE, and CASA de la CULTURA of Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico. The well known musical stars donated their talents for two Main Stage Concerts, Sunday Dec. 7 and Monday Dec. 8, 2003. On Monday, September 22, 2003, at 7:00pm, San Carlos and Guaymas was hit by the full force of Hurricane Marty causing widespread destruction of homes and businesses. The RESCATE ambulance rescue were heroes many times over. Funds from the Festival in December will replenish the emergency medical supplies seriously depleted during the hurricane.. On Saturday Dec. 6 during the festival , the PERFORMING ARTS COUNCIL of SAN CARLOS hosted "Para Los Ninos." Gifted music students at Casa de la Cultura, a non profit providing free after school music education to the children of Guaymas, enjoyed a Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar master class with featured guitarist Peter Childs (Knob Lick Upper 10,000) and a concert from Chris Montez and Eddie Ponder (Spanky and Our Gang, Flying Burrito Brothers). Students also received donated musical instruments including FIVE new guitars generously provided by Guitar Center of Tucson, Arizona. Opening the festival, Dec 5 was "Songs After Sunset," an old fashioned hoot night! Folks dusted off old guitars to join us on the beach. Bobby Sahlen held down the stage until the bus arrived from the airport with the featured performers. About 70 people stayed to enjoy spontaneous jams with Chris Montez, Ethan Edward and Peter Childs. Performing individually and in groups for the two Main Stage Concerts were: Chris Montez (Mexican American singer & songwriter) Hits include "Let's Dance," "Call Me," "The More I See You" Spanky McFarlane (Spanky and Our Gang and The Mamas and The Papas) Hits include "Lazy Day'" "Sunday Will Never Be The Same," "Like To Get To Know You" John Kito (Musical Director The Mamas and The Papas) Hits include "California Dreaming," "Dream A Little Dream of Me," "Monday Monday" Kenny Hodges (Spanky and Our Gang) Wrote Hit song "And She's Mine" Eddie Ponder (Spanky and Our Gang, Flying Burrito Bros.) Carlos Bernal (Spanky & Our Gang, Turtles, Byrds) "Turn Turn Turn," "Mr. Tambourine Man" Ethan "George Edwards" Kenning (HP Lovecraft, Manhattan Transfer) "White Ship