Tucson, AZ -- Celebration of the Agave in Tucson, The City of Century Plants (as proclaimed by Mayor & Council in 2022 for its proliferation of over 120 different agave species, and centuries old use of agave for food, fiber, and beverage) just took on a new dimension, thanks to the exceptional talents of the Borderlands Ensemble. Formed in Tucson in 2017, their unique and impactful performances reflect the culture of the borderlands, featuring music by Mexican and American composers. Their latest concert, inspired by the history of mezcal, the Sonoran Desert and Mexico, is “Agave through Sight and Sound” and will be performed at the Century Room at Hotel Congress on Sunday, August 21 beginning at 5pm.  


Planned to coincide with the final summer mezcal tasting events at the Century Room, the concert will feature new music by Nubia Jaime Donjuan (Hermosillo, Mexico) and Michael Leibowitz (Philadelphia, PA), plus music, images, and narration from the golden age of Mexican cinema, with a special narration presented by Dr. Luis Coronado Guel (Director, UA SBS Mexico Initiatives).  


Borderlands Ensemble founding member Johanna Lundy and Dr. Guel are thrilled to collaborate with Hotel Congress, home of the annual Agave Heritage Festival, for this special performance. Shares Guel, “For millennia, agaves and cacti have been associated with Mexico and the U.S. Southwest. The agave plant itself has embodied not only landscapes, but culture and character represented in art, cuisine, architecture, stories, and music. The Borderlands Ensemble is delighted to share our interpretation of the agave through a musical and narrative journey at the Century Room”.  The Borderlands Ensemble players are Ellen Chamberlain, Joseph Rousos- Hammond, and violins; Emily Chao, violins and viola; Ann Weaver, viola; Robert Chamberlain, cello; José Luis Puerta, guitar; Johanna Lundy, horn.


“To say that the Agave Heritage Festival and the Century room inside Hotel Congress are honored to host this event would be the understatement of the millennia.  We are truly honored and humbled to partner with such talented musicians around the visceral connection of Mezcal which literally means “cooked agave” much like this venture, a beautiful blend of art and culture.  There are few elements of human engagement as special as music and Mezcal at the Century Room – a borderlands jazz club and mezcal lounge. This union represents the very best of Downtown Tucson, surrounding areas and Southern Arizona” said Todd Hanley, founder of The Agave Heritage Festival and CEO of Hotel congress.


Cost to attend the concert is $25 per person, while the Mezcal tasting event at 7pm is $35 per person, or purchase both events for $55. Agave distillates included in this tasting are Rancho Tepua Lechugilla, LaMata De Castillo, Mazot Palmilla and Batuq Bacanora. Tickets can be purchased at https://hotelcongress.com/family/century-room/ .