Costa Rican artist Luis Muñoz returns to the Central Coast this week for two shows | Credit: Courtesy

“I decided to leave my country for perhaps the two most important reasons in my life, love and music,” states Luis Muñoz, the revered Costa Rican jazz musician, who will be performing two shows as a part of his Spring 2023 Tour at the Soho Restaurant and Music Club on May 4  and at The Underground Exchange in Ojai on May 6.

Muñoz continues, “I had met an American girl who had been my girlfriend for a few years but was coming back to the United States. I left it all behind, family, friends, culture, and that infinite and beautiful green world which is Costa Rica, for that girl and for jazz. Eventually we got married and I’m still together with her; Holly is her name. I also had the opportunity to study jazz firsthand — that trip is something I will never regret!”

Luis Muñoz and Lois Mahalia | Credit: Courtesy

From starting his career in music as a self-proclaimed “boy-band teenage star playing rock” to hitting number one on the charts in his home country of Costa Rica in 1968, Luis Muñoz’s life has consistently been filled with some form of musical endeavor, sourced from his deep appreciation for the lush natural world in Costa Rica, his time growing up, and studying at Santa Barbara’s own UCSB and SBCC, to going on to become an award-winning and revered composer, musician, and multi-instrumentalist. “However,” Muñoz notes, when describing his “no limits” approach to writing music, “jazz is at the center of it all.”

Muñoz’s cosmic “all star band” of musicians will accompany him on tour, including his long-time colleagues and friends Lois Mahalia, Randy Tico, and Dan Zimmerman, about whom Muñoz says, “Dan has been my musical partner for the last 11 years. I’ve been enjoying Lois’s voice since she was a young teenager. The first time I played with Randy in Costa Rica was in 1980 at the National Theater!” In concert, the group will perform material from three new CD’s and an array of recently written compositions.

Throughout this tour, there’s a deep sense of returning home. Muñoz says, “I spent 49 beautiful years in California. I feel I am a very lucky man in that I have two homes, California and Costa Rica.” He continues, “I find myself in a constant search for beauty. There is beauty all around us, especially in nature… The simple things of the human experience are my inspiration. Standing in silence in the middle of a rainforest, for example, is an experience that transforms you. It is so easy to feel like a stranger in that world, after perhaps spending decades without visiting it, until you find yourself there, soon realizing that you belong to it, that it is at the core of your existence, and that the foreign world is not that infinite green realm but the other one, the concrete jungle. Costa Rica reminds me of my roots, of a simpler, slower life; it is a very distant and beautiful past, but still very much present in my heart.”

Be sure to look out for Muñoz’s beautiful reflection of his life, travels, and grounded wisdom at his upcoming concerts. Tickets for May 4th can be purchased here, and tickets for May 6th can be purchased here.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.