A Lifetime of Music – Finale

We pick up from last edition with this final installment of Teena’s interview with Renato Lopez, detailing the latter years of his career at Disney and his move to Playa del Carmen

“I started doing the translations and adaptations of films like Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin. I was also a lyricist in Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, Mulan, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, The Emperor’s New Groove, and Atlantis the Lost Empire.

Every film starts three years before it is going to be released. And so we sign artists like Sting, or Phil Collins, and I start working with them for the three years. Phil recorded for Tarzan, he recorded in four languages: Spanish, French, Italian, and German. Sting did Spanish, and, of course, the English version, and he did French as well. Then I had Vanessa Williams; we recorded in Spanish and Portuguese.”

We can also recognize Renato’s own voice in the Spanish versions of the Lion King I and II, as well as in the movie Pocahontas, where he plays the voice of Kekata. In the movie Toy Story, with the famous song  You’ve got a friend in me, he is part of a duet.

“My retirement time came along, and Disney did something that I did not approve of, but I had no say in the matter. […] So I left. Another Vice President, Javier Ponton and myself, got together and opened a recording studio for dubbing, and a publishing company, in Burbank, five blocks away from Disney, no less. And we did that for three years. And then, while the two of us were doing an independent film in Barcelona, I said I wanted to retire from this. I wanted to open a club – a rock club near Barcelona, a really beautiful place. But, the problem was that it was closed during the winter. We decided to come to Playa del Carmen. I had been to Playa many times before. My business partner Javier loved it, so we opened the club.

We opened the Jam Session Bar and Music Club. It took us a year or two to put it all together, but it was opened in 2005 with two other partners and my girlfriend Moira De Chermont. It became the most popular rock place in Playa. We had it for about six and a half years, until the owner of the plaza sold the building.

While there, I created this band called the Jam Session Combo. We are still playing together up to this day. When we closed the place I really didn’t want to open another venue. So the guys suggested we continue with the band. We started to play at Zenzi. We played there for about a year and half. At some point, when I had the Jam Session place, I invited another musician, Jay Jay, to be my partner. He agreed, but said that if he owned a club it would have to be on the beach. One and half years passed by and Jay Jay and I kept seeing each other and jamming. So, finally, one day Jay Jay calls me and says, ‘hey, come over’. When I arrived, he says, ‘well I’m ready‘. ‘For what?’ I replied. ‘To open a club’ he says. ‘Okay, and how are we going to do this?’ I asked. ‘Well you invited me years ago, and now I am ready’.’ Okay, but where?’ ‘On the beach, he says. ‘Do you have a location?’ ‘No’.

We started looking for a location. The place we ended up finding was called the RUINA. It was like a hostel, but it was abandoned. And, one day, someone gave us a tip of who the administrator of the land was. We decided to meet with this guy. We didn’t know who it was, and when we met him, it turned out he was a friend of mine for 20 years! ‘Are you kidding me? You are the administrator of this place?’ So we made a great deal and leased the land.

Jay Jay and Kim, his wife, and I, and a few other people were the founders. We tore everything down and rebuilt the place which is now the Wah Wah Beach Bar. That was in 2012. We celebrated our fifth anniversary last February in Wah Wah.”

Wah Wah Beach Bar is located at 2nd St between 5th Ave and the beach, in the heart of Playa del Carmen.

Facebook/@ Wah Wah Beach Bar

Teena Clipston has spent more than fifteen years immersed in the Canadian music scene, making headlines in Concert Promotion, Event Production, and Artist Management. She now makes her home in Playa del Carmen, and is the owner and operator of PDCMUSIC.

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