Diego Puerta, better known as Dromedarios Mágicos, is a 20-year-old folk singer from Chihuahua, Mexico. Armed with an acoustic guitar and his wit, Dromedarios is taking Mexico’s indie scene by storm, one bar show at a time. “I got into this for fun,” he tells me at a crowded bar in Chicago during last weekend’s Ruido Fest. “After I was first featured on Radio Ibero in November [2014], I decided to really go for it. I stopped going to school; I was studying to become a dentist. After four months or so, I started booking shows everywhere because I was new. I’m still new. But people started talking about me and coming to shows, and then the out of town gigs started.”

Though dually based in Chihuahua and Mexico City, Dromedarios doesn’t have a bed to regularly call his own. Last year alone, the singer booked more than 80 shows all over Mexico and the U.S. “Since May [2015], after Festival Marvin, that’s where everything exploded. I played a show for about a thousand people, right after Little Jesus. I figured by the time I got on stage people would leave, but most stayed! I played a new track – new back then at least – and it was my second song of the set, and everyone was singing along. I couldn’t believe it!” The last two years have seen Dromedarios Mágicos release two beautiful folk EPs, Bosque de San Marcos and Temporada, and his current Siempre Joven tour has taken him to cities like Pomona, Chicago, Tijuana, Mexicali, El Paso, and Palm Springs.

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As a 20-year-old, full-time touring musician, the name of his current tour feels particularly on the nose. “I always wanted to be a musician, but I didn’t see myself doing it this young. My parents wanted me to at least finish school, but I’d already started playing shows. I’ve never felt super comfortable with my voice. I always feel like people are going to hate it. But my family is very supportive. They have all my flyers and they know all my tour dates.” He also credits much of his inspiration to local cult acts he looks up to, like Tony Gallardo, Little Jesus, and CDMX-based AJ Dávila, whom he refers to as his pseudo godfather.

Standing over six feet tall and with a head full of curls, there’s a warm welcoming energy to Diego that translates to his music and serves to contrast some of the heady subject matter he sings about. When asked about a previous interview where he said most of his songs were about girl trouble, he says, “Yeah, but I try to talk about deeper things now. I have a song named ‘Daphne’ coming out on the next EP and it’s about a girl I know who’s the daughter of a politician. Her parents fight a lot and the song is about her and the fragile mental state she lives in. But I also wrote a song to Luli, the drummer from [Spanish garage band] Los Nastys so… [laughs]”

Dromedarios played Ruido Fest as part of the weekend’s Sunday lineup, but found himself in the crowd for every major performance, singing along to hits by Miranda! and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. Diego Puerta loves music just as much as he loves the opportunity to be a part of it, and that love shines in a live context. At his show, the audience was comprised of press, new friends, Lng/SHT, members of Vaya Futuro and people who came to marvel at the raw energy of the acoustic performance, which our own Marcos Hassan described as “punk cotton candy” last year. “It was very special to look out in the audience and see my friends from the Mexican music scene looking back at me, singing along.”

Dromedarios Magicos _music_Carolina Sanchez

Photo by Carolina Sanchez

During his set, Dromedarios performed a cover of AJ Davila’s “Ya Sé,” which he dedicated to his friends in the crowd. “I don’t usually play the covers live. Sometimes ‘Ultra’ [by María y José] or ‘Ya Sé’ but it’s rare, because they’re hard to play and I’m afraid I’ll break a string on stage. It’s funny, when I’m afraid something will happen, nothing happens, and when I’m not afraid and play carefree, those are my best shows. But ‘Ultra,’ I always loved that song. ‘Ultra’ is a corrido, man! A norteño band could play it. It lends itself to that. So I decided to play it like folk and it came out really natural. When I released it, the first thing Tony told me was, ‘That song sounds way better when you do it.’ And that was cool, and then came the covers of Little Jesus, Javiera Mena, El Mató [Un Policia Motorizado].”

With an upcoming slot at Semana De Las Juventudes in Mexico City, and a new EP in the works, it’s clear Diego Puerta has the confidence, know-how, and work ethic to make a lasting mark in the scene. He is kind and funny, and fellow artists are eager to work with him, if only to have him brighten the room. When asked about where he got the name for Dromedarios Mágicos, a wide grin creeps across his face. “I used to have a Café [Tacuba] cover band. We played songs by Café, Juanes, Reik, and Ricky Martin. [laughs] I played cajón and did choruses. I know it’s funny, but that helped me work through my stage fright,” he offers. “The name comes from flyers I used to make, combining random images I thought were cool. One time I put together a camel and something magical – a Mickey Mouse I think – and I was like, ‘Hmm, Dromedarios Mágicos sounds cool.’ That’s the name I’ve been using for two years now. Me dicen el Drome de cariño [laughs].”