An historical first in Taos is about to happen. Al Hurricane Jr. is headlining the first Taos Fiesta Music Festival at the KTAOS Solar Center and said he "is excited to play in Taos. It's like a dream come true."
The event, which happens Friday and Saturday (July 20-21), brings a variety of major artists in the Hispanic popular music tradition.
Hurricane said he has fond memories playing at the Taos Fiestas "back in the '80s at the Kachina Lodge" with his famous father, the Godfather of New Mexico music, Al Hurricane. The last time he performed in Taos was Mother's Day 2017. It was a bittersweet concert he said. His father announced on stage at Kit Carson Park it was his farewell tour, not because he was retiring from the music business but because of serious health issues. The elder Hurricane passed in October of the same year.
Al Hurricane Jr. considered retiring from the music business but is now more than ever determined to continue the legacy of his family dynasty with touring and playing the old tunes as well as new.
"The guys (his band members) and I miss my father," he said, "but I remember what he told me many times, 'You can't quit, you gotta keep singing.' " The band is booked solid until the fall. He said fans can expect a night of new music and his father's songs, and he is looking forward to performing with Darren Córdova y Calor.
Córdova is a former Taos mayor and present business owner of Taos Stereo Pro Musician's Supply music store. He is also regarded as a legend of the New Mexico music scene.
He was born in Dixon, N.M. In 1993, he formed, Darren Córdova y Calor, which has become a household name in the Spanish music scene. In 1994, Darren Córdova y Calor released their second CD titled "Quiero Mas." This recording included the hit song "Mi Amigo" written by Darren Córdova, which is also known as "Dos o Tres Tequilas." Córdova recorded this song with the elder Al Hurricane. When Darren Córdova y Calor performs the song "Mi Amigo" live, you are sure to see the fans sing along word for word.
The weekend talent lineup includes Severo Y Grupo Fuego, Jerome Grant y Los Amigos Unidos, Darren Lee, Dynette Marie who will be debuting her new CD, and also special performances by Andrew Gonzales.
Also included are up-and-coming artists, Gabriella Salazar and Ariel Macias.
Katie Speirs, president and owner of KTAO-FM 101.9 and the Solar Center, said this music festival is different from the dozens of music festivals happening this summer in Northern New Mexico and surrounding areas.
She said she wants to start a tradition that celebrates "the best of Spanish entertainment … The Fiestas de Taos celebrate our local heritage and culture and honor the two patron saints of Taos, Santa Ana, and Santiago. In recent years, the music industry, as a whole, has seen a decline. This decline has spread to the local communities. In the 'old days' Taos would have a dance at Taoseño, Herb's, the Eagles, Hacienda, Monte Carlo, all in the same night. Now, local dances and concerts are far and few between. The Taos Fiesta Music Festival hopes to preserve the tradition with a wide variety of artists."
Spiers said "it is important to feature Taos artists as well as established and new artists from the surrounding areas. Darren Córdova and Al Hurricane Jr. have not performed in Taos in some time so it was important for them to return. Since Al Hurricane Jr. [recently lost his father, in October 2017], Al Hurricane Jr. is now carrying his father's legacy."
Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. They can be purchased at the KTAOS Solar Center or Taos Pro Audio. The event is sponsored by Taos Mountain Casino.
Music starts at 8 p.m. both nights.
The KTAOS Solar Center is located at 9 State Road 150, north of El Prado. For more information, call (575) 758-5826 or visit ktao.com.