The 27th Annual New Mexico Hispano Music Association Awards went off without a hitch at the Ohkay Casino Conference Center with Severo Y Grupo Fuego winning Band of the Year and Divino’s latest “Viva La Vida” taking home a slew of awards.
According to Mathew Martinez, Secretary Treasurer of the New Mexico Hispano Music Association, one of the most memorable groups didn’t take home an award but left an impression on stage with their energy and unique sound.
“Diabolyk is the group that came out from California with a little different sound that was unique to our show this year,” Martinez said of the quartet with New Mexican roots. “It was their first time showcasing their talent at the awards show. They play rock music in the California scene. They have two singles that they released that are New Mexico music, but they still have that feel and you can hear the influence of the rock that they play, it’s very unique.”
One of the New Mexican-style singles “Manito Medley” features the rhythm of traditional New Mexican music while accentuating vocalist Edelmira’s scratchy vocals - much in the vein of Alejandra Guzman.
The biggest winner from the event, however, was Divino. The quarter comprised of Fernando Romero, Anthony Lucero, Andrea Lucero and Anthony Trujillo took home a bevy of awards thanks to their latest release “Viva La Vida.”
“They have been part of the association for many years and have one in previous years,” Martinez said of Divino. “This year with their new material they won several awards as well.”
Among the awards they took home were Bilingual Song of the Year (Blue Bayou), Corrido Song of the Year (Corrido De Mi Tierra), Producer of the Year (Anthony Lucero and Romero) and CD of the Year (Viva La Vida). Andrea Lucero also won Female Vocalist of the Year for her work on “Blue Bayou.”
The awards show itself was something that both traditional fans of New Mexican music as well as newcomers to the scene were able to enjoy, Martinez added.
“It keeps growing,” he said. “The caliber of musicians continues to grow with newer musicians coming in. It’s great to see. In addition to honoring New Mexico musicians for their work in the various categories, those that attend the awards show are treated to the sounds of New Mexico music from some of your greats like Los Blue Ventures, Darren Cordova, the Sanchez Family, among many others. It’s a mix of honoring the musicians in each category and also being entertained by the various groups that perform at the awards show.”
Another memorable aspect of the 27th Annual NMHMA Awards was a moving tribute given to the Godfather of New Mexico music, Al Hurricane.
“Of course the presentation by Al Hurricane, Jr., and Jerry Dean along with Christian Sanchez was moving,” Martinez said. “We recently lost Al Hurricane - the Godfather of New Mexico music - so we had a video tribute to him right before the presentation. That was a very touching moment.”
Youth Awards were well represented. Gabriella Salazar from Taos, New Mex. at age 12 won the NMHMA cross-over Song of the Year, “Have you Ever Seen the Rain.”
As for the process of selecting the award winners, Martinez - who was once a judge before moving to the board of directors - said all judged material for the 2017 show must have been released between October 2016 and November 2017.
“The judging usually takes place in December,” he said. “We get a panel of five judges from various areas and during the weekend they are kept in a room and listen to all of the submissions jointly and they rate them based on our rating system.”
A full list of this year’s awards winners can be found at nmhma.org.