PHOTO ESSAY: Lisa Saunders & Friends Show Off Their ‘Infatuación’

Photos by Douglas Chapin and Bill Hudson

Pagosa Springs vocalist Lisa Saunders knew she would eventually stage a ‘CD Release Party’ for her premiere recording project — a new Latin-fusion album titled ‘Infatuación’— released last year just before she headed off to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for three months of performances in that colorful tourist town.

Lisa does not do anything ‘small.’

Her release party — also titled ‘Infatuación’ — came together last Friday, September 29, featuring 20 guest musicians and 11 dancers, with choreography by Pagosa director Ali Whitman and costumes designed by Adrienne Young. The show not only celebrated Lisa’s two-year journey into Latin music styles; the production also raised about $1,300 for Archuleta Seniors Inc., the non-profit that manages the Senior Center on Hot Springs Boulevard.

Special performances by pole-dancer Sarah Wolfe and silk-aerialist Sariah Ellsmore, and by Tango dancers Tina Marie Valles and Dan Sorensen, added excitement to the evening.

The musicians hailed from Pagosa Springs and Durango — plus drummer Geovan Olachea from Cabo San Lucas — under the direction of Durango trumpeter Jared Wright. The dancers were likewise a mix of Pagosa and Durango artists.

Two of the stars of the show were backup singers Kaitlen Smith and Kaya Knox.

Lisa Saunders:

“Kaitlen and Kaya were amazing. We started vocal rehearsals in July… and they put a ton of time into learning those songs. Especially the Spanish and Portuguese ones — those were really challenging. But they did a great job.”

Lisa has now added Kaitlen and Kaya to her ongoing “Broke with Expensive Taste” music project, which also includes much of the band that performed last Friday.

Some of the numbers encouraged ‘audience participation’ — including some free-form Latin dancing to the pop-jazz-fusion orchestra…

The music/dance event packed the main theatre space at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, which also provided the lighting and sound system for the event.


“We sold all the seats, and then they were selling ‘standing room only’ tickets. Which surprised me. I was so happy. And it looked like people really enjoyed the show.”

Sponsors for the benefit concert included KWUF Radio, OK Nails, Bank of Colorado and Summer Phillips, Goldsmith.

Now with her first CD available on her website, Lisa is looking forward to making her second album — this time with all original songs.

“And I definitely want to do more shows like this. We definitely have talented people in this town, to put something like this together.  It’s amazing the kind of talent we have; I’m just blown away by it.

“But first, I have to get ready for another winter season in Cabo…”

To learn more about Douglas Chapin Photography, visit his website.


Bill Hudson

Bill Hudson founded the Pagosa Daily Post in 2004 in hopes of making a decent living writing about local politics. The hope remains.