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Los Alacranes CD release party

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  • Calaca Rifa
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    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 15 12:06 PM
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      >POP SCENE
      >Mixing it up in good company
      >Teaming up Quino to Los Alacranes: Baby, I love your way
      >
      >By George Varga
      >POP MUSIC CRITIC
      >
      >April 13, 2003
      >
      >
      >Dreadlocks and Rastaman vibrations are a world apart from Los Alacranes,
      >San Diego's tireless quartet of Mexicano/Chicano musicians and social
      >activists.
      >
      >Or are they?
      >
      >With its fourth and newest album, the stirring "In Good Company," the group
      >has teamed with Joaquin "Quino" McWhinney, the leader of San Diego reggae
      >mainstays Big Mountain.
      >
      >Quino, as he is widely known to fans, produced the album with Los Alacranes
      >and released it on his 4-year-old independent label, Rebel Ink. He sings
      >lead vocals on "Linda Chicana," which Quino also wrote, and shares vocals
      >with Los Alacranes leader Ramon "Chunky" Sanchez on the album-closing
      >"Tierra Indigena" ("Indigenous Land").
      >
      >Written by Quino, "Tierra Indigena" features all the members of both Los
      >Alacranes and Big Mountain. It also appears on Big Mountain's latest album,
      >"New Day," which was released in February on Rebel Ink.
      >
      >The result is a solid collaboration that should help gain a new audience
      >for Los Alacranes, which this year celebrates its 28th anniversary and
      >counts the members of Los Lobos among its fans.
      >
      >Los Alacranes performs at a free album-release party Friday at 6:30 p.m. at
      >Chuey's restaurant, 1894 Main St., Logan Heights. The group also plays
      >Saturday at 11:45 a.m. on the Kiosko Stage as part of the 33rd annual
      >Chicano Park anniversary celebration. Quino hopes to sit in for a song or
      >two at both events.
      >
      >"We never looked at it as signing with a reggae record label, but rather as
      >a collaboration with a friend," said Chunky of the Los Alacranes/Rebel Ink
      >partnership. "We're learning some things from Quino and he's picking things
      >up from us, and that's the important thing we're sharing. We're honored
      >to work with him. It's camaraderie."
      >
      >Quino, who scored an international hit in the mid-'90's with Big Mountain's
      >version of "Baby, I Love Your Way," credits Los Alacranes for helping him
      >explore his cultural roots.
      >
      >"I consider it my duty to help these guys put albums together," he said
      >from Hilo, Hawaii, where he was visiting his younger brother, Big Mountain
      >percussionist-singer James McWhinney.
      >
      >"Coming from reggae, we've dealt with a niche market all our lives," Quino
      >continued. "So we understand the political sensitivity you have to have
      >when you release an album by a group like Los Alacranes. We want to let
      >people know their history, the sacrifices they made, the choices they made
      >not to go the commercial route, and the fact they have not changed in 30
      >years. They are for real."
      >
      >The son of a Mexican-American mother and Irish-American father, Quino says
      >he first learned about Los Alacranes from a 1998 Union-Tribune story. A
      >week later, a mutual friend took him to hear the group, which also features
      >Chunky's brother, Ricardo Sanchez, on backing vocals, guitar, accordion,
      >jarana and requinto; Don "Guero" Knapp on backing vocals, guitar and
      >guitarron; and Miguel Lopez on Paraguayan folk harp.
      >
      >"They were playing at a Christmas party and they just captivated me,"
      >Quino, 36, recalled. "I realized there was something real special about
      >Chunky and the group. The more I talked to him, the more I learned about
      >the history of the Chicano movement, the farm workers' movement and Los
      >Alacranes' involvement with both. When I found out they hadn't recorded for
      >a few years, I said: 'I want you guys to record your next album in my
      >studio in North Park.'�"
      >
      >Quino soon began sitting in at gigs with Los Alacranes, which Chunky and
      >Ricardo formed in 1975. The liner notes to "In Good Company" include a
      >brief essay in which Quino explains why he is so moved by the uplifting,
      >community-minded music of Los Alacranes.
      >
      >The album, the fourth in as many decades by the band, features songs in
      >Spanish and English. Highlights include splendid versions of
      >"Mexicano-Americano" by Rummel Fuentes and "Hasta Siempre" by Cuba's Carlos
      >Puebla, and two originals by Chunky, "Corrido del Fil" and "Bandoleros."
      >
      >The former deals with Chunky's youth as a farm worker in Blythe, prior to
      >his 1972 enrollment as a Mexican-American Studies major at SDSU. The latter
      >song chronicles his great grandfather, Santos Encinas, who in the mid-1800s
      >rode with Joaquin Murieta, a renowned California bandit.
      >
      >Then there's Chunky's half-spoken, half-sung "Pocho." Set to a lilting
      >waltz, it offers a personal look at growing up caught between two cultures.
      >
      >"The album is about seeking identity and roots," Chunky said. "We want to
      >create positive things and leave positive images for people to expand on
      >and expound on."
      >
      >Los Alacranes' long devotion to precisely such goals is why the group this
      >month was given the Radio Aztlan Lifetime Achievement Award "in recognition
      >of their dedication and commitment to Chicano music and activism" by the
      >University of California, Riverside. The group will perform at UCLA's
      >Pauley Pavilion on Father's Day as part of the Raza Graduation, an event
      >for Mexican-American graduates.
      >
      >It is just such an audience Quino hopes will embrace "In Good Company,"
      >which is available from www.losalacranes.com and
      >www.bigmountainonelove.com.
      >
      >"I want to work with MEChA and the intellectual Chicano community," Quino
      >said. "With that foundation, it will be easier to take Los Alacranes to the
      >next level. I'd like to get them to do an album every year."
      >
      >
      >
      >George Varga: (619) 293-2253; george.varga@...
      >
      >Copyright 2003 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
      >
      >
      >
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      >========================================
      >33rd Anniversary Celebration of
      >CHICANO PARK DAY
      >"Our Youth of Today, Warriors of Tomorrow"
      >Saturday, April 19, 10am-5pm
      >Barrio Logan, San Diego, Califas
      >Music - Speakers - Danza Azteca - Ballet Folklorico
      >Lowriders - Food - Children's Activities y m�s!
      >========================================
      >Now Available from Calaca:
      >For the Hard Ones/Para las Duras by tatiana de la tierra
      > ISBN 0-9717035-2-3 / $14 / 160 pgs / bilingual / perfectbound
      >Apocalypse Ma�ana by Guillermo G�mez-Pe�a y Guillermo Galindo
      > ISBN 0-9717035-1-5 / $15 / Audio CD
      >Razor Edges of My Tongue by Leticia Hern�ndez-Linares
      > ISBN 0-9717035-0-7 / $7 / 44 pgs / saddlestitched
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