Scared in India

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Scary San Anto

In the spirit of Halloween, here is a video to learn more about some creepy places around San Antonio, watch it – if you dare! buahahahaha!

Chicanito Art

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I am not sure if this qualifies as Chicano art, but this is my son’s 3rd grade Social Studies Project (you can click on it for a bigger picture).  It is a model of a “Suburban Community” that he named “Turtwig Cove” (he is a big Pokemon fan, and Turtwig is one of the little characters).  I am very proud of all the work I put, I mean, he put into it! Way to go mijo!

¡Ay Chispas!

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Above is some artwork by our good friend Luis Guerrero, these incredible pieces are located at the Institute of Texan Cultures here in San Antonio TX.  As some of you may know our song ¡Ay Chispas! … (Listen here) …came about when Juan saw the name of Luis’ metal art studio by the same name.  I donated the accordion that you see, it was sold to me by none other than Valerio Longoria!  The bajo was created by Agustin Escobar.  The name of the accordion player? El Padrino.  The name of the Bajo player? Boom Box Juan!  Visit this webpage for more pictures!

Las Coronas

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We recently played for a fundraiser for a young cancer patient.  It was a lot of fun, Los Tovares also performed that night.  I got to meet two of the Tovares’ in the band.  they told us the story behind their band which I found fascinating.  He said that Los Tovares have been around for over 30 years, and it used to be all brothers (now only three of the original members remain in the group).  Now, these guys are not old guys – they are about my age (which is very very very young) but what was interesting is that they started when they were practically in middle school!  Earlier in the day we had the Arciniega family (Vince, (age 7), Samuel and Daniel(both age 11)) perform for the crowd.  I remembered when I was around 12 and I joined a  band called Paul y sus Satelites.  I was just learning how to play guitar (I even have a picture – one day I may be brave enough to show you all!)  Anyways, I thought it was interesting that this love for music began at an early age and has stuck around.  Being so young it is just about the music, unfortunately it is when we are older that we develop all these “mañas” that can get us in trouble.  In fact Frank (from Los Tovares) told us that they mostly played in bars in those days (and still do!) but after seeing how “mensos” some people get with beer, he never got into drinking (until he got married -lol).  It is sad that sometimes la parranda y el chiflason can end a promising career.  Sometimes some musicians never grow up (I am not pointing fingers “there, but for the grace of God, go I”).  I hope those kids that performed with us never experience the destructive side of music and learn to love it and appreciate all the beautiful sides of it.  That is my prayer for them.  By the way,  I found out that Frank Tovar actually reads these blogs! Who woulda thunk! I thought only I read my blogs!  Now I have to be careful what I say (just kidding) I don’t use this blog to talk bad about people (except Michael Salgado).   Frank, if you are reading this,  you should write a blog, the little you told me about your group I found fascinating – you could write a book!  I think Profe said he wanted to join your band!! Thank you all for reading.

Singer Shortage

We played at a festival recently where I saw a Tejano band perform.  As they were setting up, I was like, “whaaat?”, when I saw the lead singer hook up a “harmonizer”.  It is a machine that allows you to sing and harmonize at the same time (that way you don’t need anyone else to sing with you!)  Hmmmm.  I am not sure what to think, I guess it must be difficult to find a musician who also sings well.  I have seen the harmonizer with several conjuntos as well, even Santiago Jimenez, Jr. uses one!  In fact he uses two microphones: one for talking/singing solo, and the other for the harmony to kick in.  Of course it is better to have two singers, and I think most groups do, I just wonder why is it so hard to find someone to sing along.  Is it because it cuts into the profit margin by having to pay an extra person? is it ego?, or maybe they are difficult to come by – but you know, I am a perfect example that you do not need to be a great singer, just sing in key.  In fact, when we first started the band I was hoping to find a drummer who could sing segunda.  The guy I had in mind said he could not join us, so I ended up singing by default.   Thanks to Juan’s encouragement I think we do pretty good.  In any event, I have thought of adding a harmonizer to Los Padrinos,  since I am so prone to allergies.  You know, just in case… but until that time, Juan and I will continue to sing ¡porque la tradición continúa!

A Migrant's Masterpiece

Click to hear “El Corrido de Arzobispo Patricio Flores” (in Spanish) by your trulies Los Padrinos.

I was honored to attend the screening of the documentary about our beloved Archbishop Patrick Flores, directed by Hector Galán. It was a powerful story.  It has a very uplifting message, amid all the challenges the Archbishop faced growing up (racism, discrimination, hardships) he never forgot where he came from. His motto is “I will work, not for myself, but for others” – and he lived it. He is an inspiration to all people of faith, especially Mexican-Americans. Oh and by the way, he is one of the founders of the Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC) here in San Antonio! What a legacy!

It is supposed to appear nationally next year so keep an ear out!