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HomeTopicsArts and CultureCosta Rican Rock Legend Mario Maisonnave: A Reflection on His Career

Costa Rican Rock Legend Mario Maisonnave: A Reflection on His Career

Costa Rica is blessed with great biodiversity and is also blessed by the talent its citizens possess in the arts including in the rock music scene. One of the greatest and most prolific contributors to Costa Rican rock music is Mario Maisonnave, who recently played Jesus Christ in the Costa Rican production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

He is best known as the founder and lead vocalist of the band Modelo Para Armar. Previous to that he was in Distorsion, which was the first rock act to be signed by Sony Music Central America.  Maisonnave has topped the Central American charts six times. The album  Mario Maisonnave / Modelo Para Armar  was released in 1989 and stayed at number one for 4 weeks in Central America, achieving Gold status.

I was able to converse with Mario after he had settled back in his home in Los Angeles after his triumphant performance in Jesus Christ Superstar.

Please tell us a bit about your youth and why you came to Costa Rica from Argentina.

I was born in Buenos Aires from an Argentinian mother and a Costa Rican father. At 22 I decided to come to Costa Rica looking for new music opportunities.

Your band Modelo Para Amar was very influential in the international Spanish rock scene. Who were your main musical influences?

The Beatles, always

What was your main contribution to the band? 

MPA was originally designed as my solo project. I was the founder, leader, composer and frontman

Who have been some of the favorite people you collaborated with?

I have worked with many great artists. Among them Johnette Napolitano, John Sykes, Baglietto, Steve Dorff, Joanna McMeikan.

Please tell us about your current band

BEBEPERRO is my current band. Consists of a great group of guys, Emma Sotela, Milo Ramirez, Andres Contreras and Pablo Leon. I really enjoy playing with them. Our show is a summary of my career, from my first hit with Distortion in 1985 to my latest songs.

How long have you been residing in LA  and working as a producer? What kinds of projects have you been involved in recently?

I have been in LA off and on since 1997. I have worked on many different projects from string quartets to alternative rock. Since the pandemic I’ve been doing a lot of remote mixing; artists send me their sessions from different countries and I mix them in my studio.

What do you like most about producing?

I love the process of understanding the artist’s essence and the direction in which they want to take their project so I can be the vehicle by which their vision becomes a tangible record.

Your performance as Jesus Christ in the recent Costa Rican production of Jesus Christ Superstar has been widely applauded. Can you please tell us how this experience has been?

It has been a fantastic experience. Personifying the most famous character in the western hemisphere comes with a heavy load. But through all the challenges, both physical and mental, it’s been very rewarding.

You can reach Mario on Instagram: @mario_maisonnave

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