Each year the New Mexico Hispano Music Association (NMHMA) honors what it considers are the brightest, most talented musicians in the state. This year, Taos was well represented at the awards ceremonies conducted Jan. 21 at the Ohkay Casino and Conference Center in Española.

Local favorite Grupo Mezcal was winner of five awards. The band brought home awards for Songwriter of the Year (Nité Márquez for "Mi Gorda"), Male Vocalist of the Year (Ernie Márquez), Bilingual Song of the Year ("Seguro Que Si"), Traditional Ranchera Song of the Year ("Mi Gorda"), and Corrido Song of the Year ("Se Los Llevo").

Band member Ernie Márquez had this to say about his band's honors: "On Jan. 21st Grupo Mezcal headed out to Española to the New Mexico Hispano Music Awards Show. God lead us there and brought us back with our heads held high."

Grupo Mezcal, consisting of Ernie Márquez, Adonais "Nité" Márquez, Archie Márquez and Rex Martínez, took the opportunity to showcase songs from their latest album "Se los Llevó," which was released last September.

In a Tempo article about the release, Nité Márquez said, the CD was "dedicated to my parents and their memory. My father Gabriel Márquez, died when I was a year old, and my mother Antonia, passed away when I was 11. I wrote the song, ‘Se los Llevó,' (‘He took them') for them. Some things in life and living are not always easy, but the love for our parents, whether they are here or not is something that never changes. Though our parents departed when we were young, we were well cared for by other family members. We appreciate all our family has done for us."

Ernie Márquez said when the band took the stage at the awards show, "it felt like they  already knew, cheering us on, and we delivered giving a precise and professional performance that we are known for. Grupo Mezcal performed two of our top hits from that CD."

The accolades started even before the show. Ernie Márquez took to the air waves and thanked the listeners and fans, noting that within three months of the CD's release, "it rose to the top of the charts in all of Northern New Mexico including Albuquerque. We are proud of our CD and is very much a part of our lives. I am especially proud of my brother Adonais Márquez for his songwriting skills."

The mission of NMHMA is to "help preserve through music, the unique culture and heritage of New Mexico. To preserve, and promote the performance style and repertoire of New Mexico Hispano music."

For more, visit www.grupomezcal.com. The "Se los Llevó," CD is available in regional record stores or through CDBaby.com

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