While some of my friends were getting some all-new Dem training this weekend, I was proud to be among thousands at the Humble Civic Arena for the first Tejano MusicFest–around 5,000 or so. Thousands attended to be entertained by musical greats, such as Fito Olivares, Jay Perez, Emilio Navaira, and home-town heroes La Mafia. Frankly, I needed some culture in my life and the MusicFest was the shot in the arm I needed.
I arrived right before Olivares took the stage. “El Rey de la Cumbia,” as he is called, flew threw a 50 minute set which included classics, such as Juana La Cubana, El Colesterol, El Chicle, and La Gallinita. Although I haven’t been a huge fan of theirs, I must say their set was flawless and the crowd was jumpin’ with every tune.
The Voice, Jay Perez and his band, also provided a pretty good set, although I was disappointed that he did not include any of his newer tunes, especially from his newest CD, New Horizons. What he did give us were some of his classics, like Ella Es, Lo Que Yo Tengo, and Son Tus Miradas. One complaint is that the sound system was loud during this set and Jay’s voice sorta blew my ear out. The band and Jay, though, were pretty damn good.
El Rey Del Rodeo (as you can see, Tejano and Cumbia performers have well-earned nicknames), Emilio Navaira and Grupo Rio, were stronger than ever in their one-hour set. Reminded of his “comeback” after an awful accident a few years ago, the fans grew more and more responsive with every hit, including, Naciste Para Mi, Eclipse, Ya No Me Pones Atencion, Donde Andara, and the tried and true, Juntos.
And then there was The Pride of the Northside, La Mafia. Ever since I caught their show at the Crystal Ballroom in Crystal City, TX in 1984 (a 12-year old Selena was the opener), I’ve been a fan of these guys. And on Saturday night, they did not disappoint. The band regaled the crowd with classic medleys, which included hits like Mi Loca Pasion, Devolucion, and others. One poignant moment was when lead vocalist Oscar de la Rosa took a minute to remember his recently departed brother, Henry, who managed the band during their early days. He gave his brother credit for selecting their first hit, Regresa a Mi and dedicated the concert to him. The crowd was not disappointed throughout the evening, singing along with every tune, including early classics like Oh Girl and Try Me. It was a very special performance, indeed.
Of course, I inject politics into everything, so here goes. A buddy of mine commented if I had registered any voters. Bottom line: This crowd was mostly Mexican Americans, but more than likely, they’re not the most targeted voters. I’m sure registration rates in the building weren’t too shabby, but I’m sure there was plenty of opportunity to engage folks, although folks were there for a reason–to enjoy a music festival. That said, I did see one candidate for Humble ISD Position 2 there, but the crowd was mostly from Houston. Still “A” for effort.
According to event coordinators, this will not be the last one; if anything, a fall festival is in the works. And for Tejano lovers and politicos alike, there are at least two other music fests in the fall, too.
All in all, it was a great Tejano MusicFest!Kudos to the organizers.