Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sabados En El Parque (Saturdays in The Park)

The outdoor concert season in Presidio/Ojinaga comes to a close this year on October 31st as The Resonators perform at the final "Sabados En El Parque" in downtown OJ. The plan is: 1) Take the kids trick-or-treating, 2) Stay in costume, and 3) Get thyself to Ojinaga and party hearty with Los Resonadores! The crowds at these events are always good, plus they love free entertainment.

For those of you who are really into "Saturday In The Park", guess what? Chicago is in concert in Chihuas (Chihuahua City) on Saturday, October 17th and it's free! I just might have to get myself a room at the San Francisco, seek out a groovy dinner, then go soak up a legendary band. The concert is at El Palomar, which is walking distance from downtown.

Nos vemos!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

An American neither here nor there

One of the most distinct qualities of a Resonators performance set list is that it is ever-changing. Because the group is diverse, and playing in settings ranging from wedding parties, to community celebrations, to high school proms, we never even come close to settling in on a collection of songs that are repeated in a specific order. I sometimes wish we would come up with a set list that doesn't change much, but it would not serve us well at all. There's nothing quite like a gig that includes "Summertime", "500 Novillos", and "Pride and Joy". Or a set list minus any Spanish music at all (Remember that we are on the border!).

Considering this, deciding on what kind of new material to bring aboard is not to be taken lightly. For a white boy raised in the DFW Metroplex in the 70's and 80's, I think I do respectably when it comes to a relative command of musical literature that works for a dance band straddling both sides of the border. If you were wondering what I mean, start with the American side of our repertoire: classic rock, rock-n-roll oldies, soul and R&B, country, and some easy listening for the digestive process. Now let's take a look at the Spanish language side: cumbia, Tejano, nortena, bolero, cha-cha-cha, mambo, and danzon. If you were to ask me three years ago about some of the Spanish music, I wouldn't have been of much help. Fortunately, when the band evolved into a 50/50 mix of ethnicities, the musical floodgates opened up. I think--no, I know--that this revelation of new musical styles has gone both ways in the band.

So now The Resonators have this treasure trove of music from which to select. Pick your decade, starting in about the 1940's and move forward. If the requested song falls within that time frame, it may very well be something we should consider knowing. Other than a few genres that would obviously not work too well for us (speed metal, hard core rap, etc.), we're game for giving most music a try, if that is what the audience is asking for. This very specific aspect of flexibility is what makes The Resonators a sought-after band in west Texas.

Strangely enough, my favorite music that The Resonators perform is Latin. Give me salsa, cumbias, and mambos any day of the week. Of course, this has nothing to do with the fact that the trumpet figures prominently in all three of these genres... Now if I could just retool my vocabulary in order that I could proficiently compose lyrics in Spanish!

Most of us that once-upon-a-time played in the school band, and even fewer who continued on in college pretty much are relegated to playing in the local community band, jazz ensemble, or church orchestra as mature adults. A very elite few made it as a career performing. I feel very fortunate that I get to play like I do. It's not a full-time, lucrative type of performing, but it is a lot of fun. If I weren't playing those cumbias and mambos, I doubt I'd be playing in a group at all. All things considered, living out in the middle of nowhere, I play quite a bit, and I'm pretty sure the demand for our music will just go up.

Here are some tunes making their way through the works and may be heard soon:
  • Lo Que Yo Tengo
  • El Cafetal/Machaca
  • Let's Stay Together
Speaking of, come see us on the following dates:
  • October 10th, Free Street Dance in downtown Presidio
  • October 31, Sabados en el Parque, Ojinaga