This week music is the word

By Don Bain


It’s that time again. El Centro Su Teatro is hosting their annual music fest and fundraiser Aug. 7 to 10, followed by an appearance by a Latino punk rock reggae band from Brooklyn on Aug. 12 and the new pop hip-hop duo Prima J at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House the very next night. Whatever your taste in music, get out your dancing shoes ’cause the weather’s cooling off and the nights are heating up.

The 12th Annual Chicano Music Festival and Auction kicks off Aug. 7 with a Noche Tradicional featuring the acoustic stylings and lightly layered harmonies of Tony Silva and Trio Xochitl.

Noche Alternativa Aug. 8 will spotlight California’s Fuga and Denver’s own Izcalli. Fuga purveys one of the freshest variations on la musica de Mexico you’ll find anywhere. The band utilizes spirited keyboards and accordion, well-cultured guitar and haunting vocals, both verbal and non, to produce music most moving. Their song Son de la Frontera is beautiful combination of slow bass, thoughtful accordion and ethereal wordless vocals. It paints a picture of a windswept desert, bleached by the sun and blanketed with a pervasive sadness. You can hear their music and see a video of that song at

Izcalli is a nahuatl word which means “house between the trees,” according to Wikipedia. It is also the name of a San Diego activist organization – they use it to mean a “house of re-awakening.” To the brilliant young muscians who play rock en Español under that name locally, it probably means “home.” Cuautitlán Izcalli is a city of half a million in the state of Jalisco. As far as original Spanish rock in the Denver area goes, these guys are among the best.

Saturday it’s time for the Summer Pachanga featuring the New Mexico-style Tejano music of Larry Labato and Nueva Sangre followed by Fuga, a live auction and Boulder’s Zydematics. Fuga will wrap up the evening and their Denver appearance with a encore performance at 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 9.

Mariachi Tardeada, on Aug 10 from 5 to 10 p.m., will showcase Denver favorites Mariachi Vasquez, Mariachi San Juan de Colorado and Mariachi Real de Oro con Lazaro while live and silent auctions run daily and throughout the festivities.

Every year Su Teatro provides the community the opportunity to get great deals on hotel getaways, sports tickets, spa treatments and some of the best contemporary art from the Southwest and support the theater in the process.

Brooklyn’s The Cool and Deadly will perform at Owlsley’s Golden Road, 2151 Lawrence St., Aug. 12 in a 21 and over show starting at 9 p.m. The quartet is comprised of Columbian lead guitarist Harvey Valdes, rhythm player/vocalist Danny Baptista, descended from the former Portuguese colony now known as La República de Cabo Verde, Cubano bassist Danny Dovo and the group’s only gringo, drummer Billy Szeflinski.

The band formed in New York when Baptista met Valdes and Szeflinski and started playing reggae gigs around the city. They were regulars at a few spots and back then Danny sang in Krioulo, his first language. It is the oldest creole language mixing West African and Mandinka words with elements of Portuguese and Spanish. “Through the years, we just kept playing music and here we are now ready to tear up the U.S.,” Baptista said. The Cool and Deadly have been performing under that name since 2003.

“After only playing straight reggae we all decided it was time to include all our interests, influences and not stick to one vibe. So we opened up the flood gates and whoa – here it comes! We were writing heavy reggae vibes, punk rock, metal stoner riffs, dancehall, cumbia-infused reggae and the list goes on. It was the best decision we ever made. When we rock, we rock with the hardest and when we dub, we do it tuff. We definitely don’t play sunshine reggae or resort reggae. I like to say our sound is more like a reggae switchblade than a day in the sunshine.”

We asked what they were looking forward to on the tour and Danny replied, “We are looking forward to playing great shows and meeting new people, fans and so on – that’s the best part really – meeting people at shows that love what you do. It makes it all worth it in the end. You see how the music affects people when they get in the zone and it puts everything in place. It’s a great feeling.”

If you’ve seen the latest cover of Latina Style magazine you’ve noticed Prima J on the cover. That should give you a clue how hot these two young Latinas have become on the national music scene. Cousins Jessica and Janelle Martinez are riding a hip-hop R&B pulse thumping to the beat of their self-titled debut album and their smash hit single Corazon (You’re Not Alone) – check it out on The talented duo will perform in the Elle Caulkins Opera House Aug. 13.

So whether your taste is traditional, New Mexico influenced, island flavored or you like the latest vibe on the urban scene, there’s something for you to appreciate about town during the coming week. Another summer is slowly slipping away so now’s the time to get out and make some memories that will add to the soundtrack of your life.

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