LINDA RONSTADT

AND

LOS CENZONTLES

Los Cenzontles.jpg

By: Iride Aparicio

Photos Courtesy: Los Cenzontles

SILICON VALLEY, CA--  Located in Richmond,  California,  Los Cenzontles Cultural Art Center was founded in l994  by  EUGENE RODRIGUEZ,  (pictured below) a  Grammy-nominated records producer,  US Artist Fellow, multi-instrumentalist, performer, music, teacher, and third generation Mexican-American.   EUGENE RODRIGEZ.jpg
As a child, EUGENE RODRIGUEZ listened to the "Old Mexican music" that was played at home by his parents.  At a very young age, his father taught him to play the guitar. He grew up observing Mexican dances: El Jarabe Tapatío, Los sones Huastecos  y Jarochos,   La Bamba Veracruzana. In the radio, he listened to the stories of the Corridos, and he may be moved by the despair expressed in the lyrics of the Rancheras' . And he enjoyed the Mariachis in his family's parties. And because he was surrounded by music. the music started running in his blood and nestled in his heart.

So, when he attended college, he major in music at the University of California in Santa Cruz, and graduated a few years later with a Master Degree in Music. And even when he had learned to play different instruments in school, " his instrument" was the Classical guitar.

When Maestro RODRIGUEZ started teaching music, he also continued learning more about music.  For years, in cultural exchanges, he  began traveling, with a group of his students, to different regions in  México with the purpose to listen to its folkloric music,  He also brought Mexican  musicians and Maestros to California to talk with his students about the Mexican music.  And in l994, convinced that only he could teach what he wanted teach to his students in a class, he started Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Center, his own academy,  and began teaching children and adults, in a class format, aspects of the culture of  Mexico: How to play different instruments'  how to execute its different dances, how to create its icons in ceramics and  how to express its art in colorful paintings. 

As its Director, Maestro RODRIGUEZ  also continue performing with Los Cenzontles (an instrumentalists, singing/dancing group) and traveling with them to  different States and regions of  Mexico to perform. To date, the group had also performed in concerts with different well established singers and Symphonic Orchestras, one of them The San Francisco Symphony.

And as a producer, el Maestro RODRIGUEZ has produced more than thirty musical albums with different singers, among them LINDA RONSTADT. In February, 2019, with 22 members of Los Cenzontles ages 8 to Adult, traveled to Sonora River Valley with LINDA RONSTADT, to the hometown of her grandfather. In the plazas of Banamichi and Arizpe, the group performed a variety of Mexican regional styles. The trip was featured in the documentary LINDA and the Mockingbirds (The English name for Cenzontles) now streaming on HBO.

For the next seven weeks Cultural World Bilingual will be sharing with you songs from the Sonora River Valley's performance.

You can now see "LINDA and The MOCKINBIRDS" on HBO MAX at https://www.hbomax.com/feature/urn:hbo:feature:GX3ZBPwxhJ8LCSgEAAAWg

The Video begins with the song Abjeño from the repertory of the mariachi traditional, that the group learned from maestro Julian Gonzalez Saldaña.
The Músicos are:
Eugene Rodríguez, vihuela,
Gaizka Velazquez, guitarra de golpe,
Emiliano Rodriguez, Bass,
Verenice Velazquez violin (and in the dance)
Nesta Velazquez violin (and in the dance)
Lucina Rodriguez, vocals,
Fabiola Trujillo, vocals
Dancers (in order of appearance)
Joeceline García and Andrés Velazquez
Natalie Caldera and Oswaldo Velazquez
COSTUMES by Marie-Astrid de Rodriguez

The Cenzontles  next virtual performance "Songs of Gratitude" will be on Saturday Dec. 5th at 6PM (PST). Information and registration for the event can found here at https://festivalnapavalley.org/programs/virtual-performances/songs-of-gratitude/

Because The Cenzontles rely in your support and your support has never be more urgent, if you value their performance, you can send your checks to: Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy, 13108 San Pablo Avenue, Richmond CA 94805.