02 Jul, 2012 | Matthew Grace
La Paz is host to a musical confluence of rhythms spanning the breadth of the country as well as international genres which range from jazz to classical music. While by no means comprehensive, below you’ll find information on where to find live music and what the city has to offer. Pick a wintry night to visit a local boliche and immerse yourself in the sounds.
A visit to Bolivia wouldn’t be complete without sampling the peña scene. One of the best is at Marka Tambo, on Calle Jaén (No. 710), a quaint pedestrian walkway in the old colonial part of town. This peña features traditional Bolivian music with costumed dancers from several different parts of the country. Arrive around 10 pm Thursday through Sunday. Dinner served.
Up Calle Jaén from Marka Tambo is the Mestizo Cultural Café, at the corner of Calle Sucre. In addition to very chill atmosphere, café food and a bar, local musicians play on its small stage. Contact the folks at Mestizo at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 76221110 for a schedule of music events.
Head the other way down Calle Jaén to Calle Indaburo (No. 654) and check out the downstairs bar Boca y Sapo. With regular music on Wednesdays and Saturdays, it’s a great place to hang with locals and have a beer (or something stronger).
The top jazz club in town is Thelonious Jazz Bar in Sopocachi, on Av. 20 de Octubre (No. 2172). It’s an old-school jazz joint, with dark lighting and a good-sized stage that sees many outof- town acts pass through. The bar regularly features local jazz, blues and rock bands, along with impromptu jam sessions.
Around the corner from Thelonious is the French brasserie La Guinguette, in the Alianza Francesa building on the corner of 20 de Octubre and Guachalla. Come for the food (and booze) and stay for the monthly flamenco music shows of Manfariel Gitano.
Those looking for polished shows and big names in the local scene should stay tuned with the calendar of the Teatro Municipal Alberto Saavedra Pérez on the corner of Indaburo and Sanjines. This majestic theatre is host to numerous national and international acts ranging from classical music to Andean folklore.
And don’t forget Zona Sur, far to south of central La Paz. Among other clubs is El Boulevard Club de Blues, on Calle Ignacio Cordero (No. 8421) in the heart of Calacoto. It’s a downscale joint in an upscale neighborhood, where any Chicago bluesman would feel at home.