In an anniversary year, Cinco de Mayo promises a wide range of music
The largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the nation returns again to Denver in its 30th year with promises of being just as entertaining as ever. The Denver Cinco de Mayo “Celebrate Culture” Festival not only puts the spotlight on Denver’s increasingly vibrant Latino population, it also provides a genuine family-friendly atmosphere of arts and entertainment.
As with past events, Newsed is producing this year’s Cinco de Mayo and they have put together a stable of talented musicians and performers to entertain the more than 400,000 expected spectators to make their way through Civic Center Park this weekend.
The two-day event begins Saturday with live entertainment beginning at the Main Stage near 14th Avenue with Moises Cumbia at 10 a.m. For the 30th anniversary, Newsed went all out in bringing in some of the best local and international acts to fill an extensive lineup of eclectic styles and talent.
Voces Del Rancho
The duet of Edgar Rodriguez (Guadalajara) and Mariano Fernandez (Sinaloa) met in the greater Los Angeles area and with the help of Grammy Award winner and younger brother of the late Jenni Rivera, Lupillo Rivera, began recording their first norteño songs. Nearly 17 years later the norteño band has taken off signing to a major record label (Univision) and touring around the world on the strength of their hits “El Lunar” “Donde Están” and “Los Dos Amigos”.
According to the group’s biography on Sony music, “The L.A. audience instantly accepted and loved them, but it wasn’t until the release of the norteño corrido “Se Les Pelo Baltazar” and the support of a local radio station, that their popularity tremendously grew.”
Voces del Rancho will perform at the Main Stage on Saturday at 5 p.m.
Montez de Durango
Headlining the Main Stage on Saturday is the duranguense band based out of Chicago, Grupo Montez de Durango. Going on their 21st year together, Montez de Durango have released 23 studio and live albums while helping define the now well-known “Pasito Duranguense” style of music.
Though some of the original members of the band have fractioned off and form their own bands, Montez de Durango continue to makes waves on the charts. In 2007 the band won a Billboard Award for Album Of the Year with “Borrón Y Cuenta Nueva.” They followed up that success in 2010 with “Con Estilo…Chicago Style,” which debuted at number one on the charts. The band’s biggest hit, however, arguably came on 2012’s MMXII with “Descuide”.
“They are one of the bands that along with Los Horóscopos de Durango kind of define the Pasito Duranguense,” said David Carrillo, a former radio DJ at “Estereo Sol” KSQL in Santa Cruz, Calif. “They have a great following and an excellent trajectory going on 20 years.”
Montez de Durango will take the Main Stage at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Though Cinco de Mayo is a celebration, there will undoubtedly be a shadow on this year’s celebration as Trump’s White House continues to cause a pale over the nation’s Latino population. That sentiment makes Roka Hueka’s presence at Cinco de Mayo all the more poignant. The Denver-based Latin ska band released its debut album “Red” last year and has continued to ride a wave of success on 2-Tone ska, Afro-Cuban jazz and influences from contemporary favorites like Voodoo Glow Skulls and Panteon Rococo.
The band’s message is succinct. Through “Red” they touch on subjects like the struggle of immigrants and workers as well as themes that are relevant to Denver.
Roka Hueka will perform Sunday at 4:30 p.m. on the Main Stage.
Hip-hop artists Kinto Sol broke through in a big way in 2007 with “Los Hijos del Maiz.” The album reached No. 30 on U.S. Billboard’s Top Latin Albums and helped take the careers of the rappers from Milwaukee by way of Guanajuato from regionally successful to international notoriety.
The group continues to produce quality tunes as heard on 2016’s “Lo Ke No Se Olvida” and will perform on the Main Stage Sunday at 5:30 p.m.
For a full list of performing musicians as well as a map of Civic Center Park to navigate through the festivities visit www.cincodemayodenver.com.