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A Night of Chicano Music on Broadway

Trini Lopez, PBS, and the pride of Aztlan team up for a Latin Legends Concert in the heart of the Land of 1000 Dances

By Frankie Firme ~ Contributing Editor
Published on LatinoLA: November 13, 2008


A Night of Chicano Music on Broadway


We all wish we could go back in time, even if just for a moment, to relive a memory, remember that special someone, or just to think and feel young again.

In these tough times, we could all use a little break from our current reality.

It seems that only music can bring on that kind of thought process, and as I've always said, music is an art that can be compared to the mythical fountain of youth. The deeper you drink, the better you feel, as you remember the fun of youth, and simpler, less stressful times.

With that thought in mind, music legend Trini Lopez (pictured) and PBS recently hosted a taping of the Latin Legends Concert at the historic Orpheum Theater on Broadway, in downtown Los Angeles that brought out some of the best in classic Chicano music, and a large, grateful Chicano audience that were treated to a free concert in the heart of the Land of 1000 Dances, courtesy of the Public Broadcasting System.

A Latino music legend from Dallas, Texas, Trini Lopez was discovered in the early 1960's by the legendary Frank Sinatra. Trini Lopez was probably the first international Mexican-American singer/actor to garner international fame, starting with his multi-platinum song "If I Had A Hammer", then appearing on TV and in movies. He was a perfect candidate to host this monumental event, which will be broadcast on PBS early next year, and was more than welcomed by the L.A. audience .

Opening up the show were Lil' Willie "G" and Thee Midniters, performing some of their classic tunes that have made them an East L.A. music legend since the 1960's.

Next, El Chicano took the stage, performing time honored tunes that included blistering organ solos by Bobby Espinosa and fantastic guitar solos by Micky Lespron, both original members that haven't lost a beat in over 30 years. El Chicano was also awarded a gold record commemoration for selling over 1 million copies of "Viva Tirado" world wide.

Coming up next, East L.A.'s reigning Chicano R & B music group, TIERRA, took the stage much to the crowd's delight, performing their classic tunes featuring vocal solos by both Rudy and Steve Salas, and Billy Mondragon, for which they received a standing ovation, as the crowd danced in the aisles, and love was in the air.

A surpise guest was East L.A. Chicano rocker Mark Guerrero, who was joined by TIERRA as he performed a tribute song "Los Chucos Suave" to his late father, Lalo Guerrero, the father of Chicano Music himself. The audience was touched as Mark performed one of Lalo's trademark songs that he performed in this historic L.A. neighborhood over 60 years ago.

Then, coming on stage to a thundering ovation, Trini Lopez and his band took the stage for a well-anticipated performance, as he performed his classic songs such as "Lemon Tree" and "If I Had a Hammer" that had the crowd loudly singing along. Trini was the epitome of youth and early Chicano Rock & Roll, which he reclaimed during the moments he was onstage

Closing off the show was the Greg Rolie Band, who wowed everybody with a SANTANA tribute performance, playing such classics as "Black Magic Woman" and "Soul Sacrifice" that really put the icing on the cake for the evening, making it enjoyable and memorable.

The grand backdrop of Los Angeles's Orpheum Theater, first opened in 1926 on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, provided the perfect classic, surreal atmosphere for a most enchanting evening, as a virtual "who's who" of the Los Angeles Chicano music scene were on hand to enjoy the show, rub shoulders, mingle, and share laughter, smiles, memories, and a good time

and we all drank deeply from the fountain of youth on this night!

Note: For more info on the PBS Latin Legends Documentary to be aired in early 2009, go to www.pbs.org

About Frankie Firme ~ Contributing Editor:
Frankie Firme is the "Al Capone of the Microphone and the Hitman of West Coast Chicano Soul"
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