For those of you that have never experienced the unique sound of New Mexico music--it can be a blend of Mexican, country, rock n roll all rolled into one. It says “I was born and raised in New Mexico and I love the music that identifies me.” Often recorded in Spanish, but sometimes in bilingual format, it says, I love my culture, the Spanish language, but I also love being an American.
Last Saturday, we traveled to Albuquerque to Los 15 Grandes Awards held at the historic Route 66 Casino, reminiscent of the historic Route 66. The night’s lineup included the top 15 New Mexico artists, all receiving an award for their specific performance, which graced the airwaves in top ten format leading up to the event. (For those of you old enough to remember, Route 66 was also a black and white television series starring, Roger Milner and George Maharis, two young men who traveled Route 66 experiencing new drama each week). Much like black and white television, I recall the heartwarming sound of New Mexico music, written and recorded by the Sanchez Family dating back several decades. Memories of a young girl growing up in northern New Mexico filled the night.
As I listened and watched the new sounds and performances of New Mexico music, artist after artist warmed our hearts and made our home state audience proud. From Costilla’s Chris Arellano with his father’s soulful recording of Cuentas que te Vas, to Chimayo’s sensation duo, Severo Martinez y Grupo Fuego who danced and sang up a storm on that stage, to A.J. Martinez’ and Aaron Trujillo’s hearty polka performance, to Mr. Cool, the powerful salsa sound of Mickey Cruz, followed by the heartfelt performances of Padre Querido by Brenda Ortega and more (see related photos on page 15). New Mexico’s first family of New Mexican music, included Al Hurricane, Jr., the talented foursome, Sparx, and their heart throb brother, Lorenzo Antonio, (all offspring of the teen idol, Tiny Morrie) to the Godfather of New Mexico music, Al Hurricane, now a young 80.
As the evening’s music stirred our hearts, influenced our dance moves, summoned our hips, awakened our youth, and brought a tear to our eyes, the Sanchez brothers, Tiny Morrie, Baby Gaby, and Al Hurricane played their hits to an elated and nostalgic crowd.
Somewhere early in the evening, a forty something man had escorted his 9-year old daughter to dinner before the once in a lifetime event. Dressed in patent leather shoes, a red party dress and a special hair band, as the evening progressed they made their way to front stage. Her adoring looks said it was obvious this young girl would not soon forget her favorite New Mexican band, an evening of New Mexico’s best music, and her lifetime hero, her dad.
¡Que viva las musica de Nuevo Mexico! See you next year!