Incanto: ‘The Red Suitcases’ rock and ‘Greater Tuna’ wraps

One of the highlights of the local live music scene in Vallarta is Incanto’s comfortable air-conditioned piano bar, where a seemingly endless stream of visiting and local talent abounds. Nightly live entertainment begins at 5pm Tues. – Sun. and features a diverse variety of options including Latin acoustic guitar, authentic Flamenco, Pop/Rock,  Standards/Show-tunes, Salsa Lessons, and Sing-Alongs around the piano. Open Mic night on Thursdays, hosted by Incanto owner Tracy Parks and entertainer Joby Hernandez, is especially popular. A stage with a sound tech is available for live acts, and a large selection of pre-recorded tracks is also available. Several acts now with their own shows at Incanto got their start this way. One of these is ‘The Red Suitcases’ band. A group of three talented young musicians who wandered in for Open Mic a year ago and never left.

One of the first questions that come up regarding the band is how they chose their unique name. According to one member, it was born more out of necessity than cleverness.

“We named the band after what we hauled our equipment into our first gig together… a red suitcase.”, says Diego Arreola.

Performing with his fellow band members Haiko Hauffen and David Aguila, they have been together for several years in the Nuevo Vallarta/Banderas Bay area where Diego and Haiko hail from originally. David is a seasoned transplant from Ocotlan, Jalisco. Each has developed their musical talents since their early teens and while playing with other bands. Diego takes his musical inspiration from two Latin artists, Alex Ubago and Alejandro Sanz. His smooth vocals and lead guitar compliment the equally impressive talents of Haiko on rhythm guitar and David on Cajon (a box-shaped percussion instrument). Together they play Latin standards and American pop/classic rock covers, featuring artists including Bruno Mars, CCR, and The Eagles, and many Mexican/Latin artists. The future looks bright for this amiable trio as they set their sights on bigger concerts and on writing, producing and recording their first CD. See them Sundays and Wednesdays, 7:30pm.

 ‘Greater Tuna’ has enjoyed a successful extended run since it premiered at Incanto last fall. Directed by Karen Baker and starring ‘Tuna’ veteran Tracy Parks and seasoned theater actor Ron Spencer, it’s the story of fictional small-town Tuna, Texas, featuring twenty-two eccentric characters played by just two actors with forty-two costume changes. Throughout the run, Tracy and Ron have been seen in character as Aunt Pearl and Vera Carp promenading through the streets of old town promoting the show and stopping for adult beverages along the way.

“Working with Ron Spencer has been a dream come true for me.” explained Incanto’s owner, Tracy Parks who plays the iconic ‘Aunt Pearl’ in the show. “His comic timing is absolutely brilliant. Each night, we discovered new things about these characters and just had a ball! Rumor is we may do ‘Tuna Does Vegas’ next season. It’s the fourth play in the series. We’d play Las Vegas showgirls, dueling Elvis Impersonators, and 18 other characters. Stay tuned!” Greater Tuna closes with a final performance on Wednesday, Aug. 8, at 8pm. A wrap party will follow in the piano bar.

Visit Incanto’s website for more information www.IncantoVallarta.com. Incanto offers casual dining and nightly entertainment in their air-conditioned piano bar (no cover), state-of-the-art cabaret theater, and on two riverside terraces. They are located at Insurgentes 109 at the Rio Cuale. Summer hours are 4pm-11:30pm Tues. – Sun. Riverside breakfast service resumes in October. Closed on Mondays. Phone: 322-223-9756.