Sunday, April 26, 2009


As my last blog assignment for the semester, I thought that I would end by giving a quick overview of my thoughts about Borderbeat and the class as a whole.

For me personally, Borderbeat has been one of the only journalism classes that I can actually say that I have enjoyed myself in. Though in journalism there is always a certain amount of pressure, our professor, Jay Rochlin, allowed us to have fun with whatever we were working on. Realizing that there doesn't always have to be stories done on serious topics, we were allowed pretty much free reign with our stories, allowing our imaginations to run wild.

Though I got off to a slow start, I eventually got really involved with the class and began to enjoy learning how to write for an online news website. Once I got familiar with it, it became easy and, I daresay, fun to put a story together, complete with some sort of multimedia like pictures or an audio piece.

I think my favorite part of the whole process, however, was to see the finished product up online for anyone and everyone to see what you spent so much time working on.

It is one thing to cover a city council meeting and write up a story and turn it in for a grade, but it is a whole other thing to make up your own idea and do all the follow up to make sure you have a great story and then see it published. It's just a great feeling.

I also enjoyed the ability and option to work with one or more reporters on a story. As they say, two heads are better than one, and it is nice to be able to work with other people every once in a while to learn from them and learn more about yourself.

I opted to be a part of the editing team and I must say that it wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it might be. We are all pretty willing to help each other and, at least for me, it has worked out pretty well. It was also a great thing to put on my resume and I believe it helped get me into a graduate program that I had applied to.

Overall, the experience and knowledge that you gain in this class is not only vital, but Jay tries very hard to make it fun and worth while.

I am very happy that I chose to take this class and think that it will greatly help me in the future.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Want to fire up your weekend? Check out these concerts coming to Tucson!

Check out the Tucson International Mariachi Conference Espectacular. A weekend-long extravaganza, the Mariachi Conference kicks off on Thursday, April 26 at 6 pm located at Tucson Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave., Downtown Tucson. It only costs $10!

The fun continues on Friday at 7:30 pm, at the Tucson Arena, also at 260 S. Church Ave., Downtown Tucson. Though it costs anywhere from $45-$85, some of the best Mariachi bands in the world are performing.

The last day of the Mariachi Conference is on Saturday, April 28, and lasts all day long. From 10 am to 10 pm, only $5 will get you an all day pass to listen to a myriad of bands on two different stages.

On Friday, May 1, Los Lonely Boys are performing at the Rialto theatre. Los Lonely Boys have had multi-platinum albums. The trio are from Texas, and are known for their rock music with a little of their own Latin and Texas flavors. The band won a Grammy Award for their song "Heaven", and just released another album called "Forgiven" in 2008. To get a sneak peak at their music, check them out on iTunes, where all of their music is available for purchase.

The Rialto Theater is also hosting the band Calexico on Saturday, May 2. This Tucson-based band has worked hard to get to where they are at and are very proud of the music they have written. They have a unique style of some Tejano music mixed in with a little bit of indie rock, and just a splash of mariachi. This six member band is named after the border town of California and Mexico called Calexico. They currently have six records out, with the latest one titled "Carried to Dust" just released in 2008.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ritmo Tejano

Ritmo Tejano is a Tucson-based musical group. Formed in 2000 by Frank Romero and Dan Corral Sr., this group has now grown to be well known in the Tejano music industry.

Tejano is a genre of music that originated from Hispanics living in Southern and Central Texas. However, they also add some Tex-Mex and Conjunto music with "a little Latin variety, funk, country, and oldies."

The now four member band consists of: Frank Romero, lead vocals, bass guitar, and manager, Robert Rangel, vocals and lead guitar, Rick Flores, drums, and Bill Scott, vocals and keyboard.

The band is very influenced by other Tejano artists such as Ruben Ramos, Groupo Vida, Johnny Martinez, and Selena.

Though they currently do not have an album and are not signed with anyone, they do write and create their own original music, taking traditional tejano music and updates it with electric guitars and high harmonies.

They do anything from private parties, to quinceaneras, to clubs and concerts. In fact, you can catch them April 18 at 8:30 pm at Oracle Inn, or at 10 pm at the Spring Club Crawl 2009 on Congress Street in Downtown Tucson. To keep up with their performances, check out their myspace page.

You can also purchase Ritmo Tejano apparel on their myspace page as well.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Los Nawdy Dawgs

Los Nawdy Dawgs is a local Tucson band. They began their journey in Nogales, Arizona, but now they play throughout Arizona.

Los Nawdy Dawgs are passionate about playing their music and pride themselves on playing their own instruments.

Considering themselves to be a Latin Rock band, they combine Latin blues and rock and sing in both Spanish and English.

The band's main influences are the Beatles, Carlos Santana, Mana, and the Yardbirds, and claims to be a mix of Mana and the Yardbirds, with a little bit of El lMariachi.

The three band members are George "The Rev" Landa, "Chulo" Kenny Deines, and Edward James Manfield, III. The Rev plays the guitar and keyboard, Chulo plays the bass guitar, and Eddie plays the drums and is the lead vocals.

Los Nawdy Dawgs were just featured in the recently released film The Last Man, directed by James Arnett. All three of them were zombies in the film, and their music was also featured in the film.

The three are also being featured in a documentary that is currently being filmed in New York. Some of Los Nawdie Dawg's music is also being featured in this documentary.

The band is also in the studio recording new songs. They are also busy doing performances and on April 18th you can see them at Casino del Sol at 8 pm, or head downtown and catch them at Sharks at 10 pm.

Check out iTunes to listen and download their music.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Batucaxé is a percussion and performance group that started here in Tucson in 2003. A non-profit organization, they are very involved in the community and even have different lessons and classes for anyone who wants to learn their style of dance and drums.

Batucaxé (pronounced bah-too-cah-SHEY) is inspired mostly by the music of Brazil, but features music traditions from all over the world, while also adding in some of their own flavors.

Their facebook page explains the meaning behind their name, saying, " 'Batucaxé' is a combination of 'batuca', or drum beat, and 'axé', the life-fore in call things, and the power to make things happen."

This is a group that has many parts. They have a Performance Group, which is the core troupe of musicians and dancers, and a community group that includes over 50 people, some of which are beginners and some that are experienced. Both groups perform throughout the year at different events and places around Tucson. The Community Group's rehearsals are open to anyone who wants to go and find out more about them and try their hand. There are many ways that you can become a member yourself, and it starts with attending one of their classes.

Some of the events that they play at is at Tucson Meet Yourself, Earth Day, and the Family Arts Festival. Many of these performances are interactive and get the crowd to be a part of the fun and music. The Performance Group, being smaller, plays at more intimate events.

Every Sunday Batucaxé holds Afro-Brazilian dance classes that are open for anyone who wants to attend with just a $12 fee. The classes are at 5 pm at the Rhythm Industry, located at 1013 S. Tyndall Ave., Tucson, AZ.

Batucaxé started off with a small group of friends who got together to perform in the Mt. Lemmon parade in 2003, but has now grown to include anyone and everyone who wants to join in on the fun and learning of different dance and musical styles.

The group also likes to do what they call guerilla samba, where they show up in "unexpected places" and put on "unplanned performances" that get people on their feet.

Batucaxé has become so much more than just a performance group. They have become a integral part of the Tucson community, putting on performances, teaming up with other organizations such as Many Mouths One Stomach to spread the word that help is needed.

They have even begun to put on their own annual parade called Carnaval that invites groups from around the city to come participate and has local music groups come and perform.

Watch them perform!

Also, check out their Facebook page and become a fan!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Don Omar

William Omar Landrón was born in Carolina Puerto Rico. Today he is one of the most well known reggae Latin artists.

Calling himself Don Omar, he released his first album in 2003 titled "The Last Don". This album sold over 1,000,000 copies around the world and also in 2003 he won two awards at the Billboard Latin Music Awards.

In May of 2006, Don Omar released his second studio album called "King of Kings" which debuted at the number one spot on Billboard's Latin sales charts. In April 2007, Don Omar won the Raggaetion Album of the Year award at the Billboard Latin Music Awards for his King of Kings album, and one of his songs from the album was also featured in the ending credits of the movie "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift".

Don Omar is currently working on his third studio album that is to be released in late April of this year. It was originally planned to be called icon, but it was later changed to iDon.

Don Omar has participated in several different concerts and has teamed up with several artists over the years and has even released several other compliation albums as well as live albums that give the audience the feeling of actually being at his concert.

In 2005, after he released his The Last Don album, he was granted his own label called All Star Records. All Star Records is a subsidary of Universal Music Group's Machete Records.

Don Omar is both a singer and a composer, and with his huge success he has been able to expand his music and his career universally.

Many of Don Omar's songs are available on iTunes.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Vonnell is a singer that was born in Havana, Cuba, but grew up in the musical city of Miami.

Miami exposed Vonnell to the wide realm of the music world and genres such as jazz, hip-hop, and Cuban jazz have all greatly influenced his work.

In 2006, with the help of his friends and family, Vonnell started his own record label, VIMmusic, and released his first CD called "31 De Febrero". This album won four of five awards that it was nominated for in the LA Music Awards, that are sponsored by the Grammys, including Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Male Vocal of the Year.

In 2008, Vonnell relseased his second album called "31 De Febrero Delux Edition" that added a few remixes to his original songs.

The unique thing about Vonnell is that he works for himself at his own studio, and acts as the songwriter, artist, instrumentalist, and producer for all his work.

Vonnell has also teamed up with Grammy winner Roberto Morales to bring a new life and ideas to Vonnell's work and helped produce his first album.

Vonnell is currently working on another album called "30 in Rio" that is said to be coming out around Christmas time this year or early next year. This album is also going to be multilingual, having parts of songs sung in Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, though it will be predominately an English CD.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Toque D Keda

Toque D Keda is a new Bachata group out of Miami.

They debuted their first album in 2005, called Picando Adelante. Their music is said to be considered as the "New Bachata" that combines Hip-Hop with Bachata rhythms. Their catchy songs are popular in not only the Bachata world, but also in mainstream audiences.

Toque D Keda
's music has been no stranger to radio play or bumping in clubs, especially around Miami where the Latin music scene is very popular.

The group has done several re-makes of songs including ‘Lamento Boliviano’ originally by Los Enanitos Verdes, giving it the colorful flavors of Bachata sounds.

This four-member band is no stranger to the entertainment business. Elvis Perez, Eddie Blazquez, Jalen James Acosta, and Ariel Marmolejos have all had previous experience in the music world, whether solo or as members of previous bands. Elvis Perez, creator of the band, explained in an interview how the band came together. He said "I have my own recording studio in Miami, I was working with Eddie on one of our songs (Te Extrano - First single) creating a different latin-pop sound with a bachata guitar and from that moment in October 2004 we started with our dominican producer (Roy Tavere) to mix bachata-pop-hip-hop. Within one month, we dicided to make our own record. I organized some auditions to discover two more members and Ariel and James were the perfect choice. They were working in my studio doing there own projects at the time. So we talk about mixing the 4 and making a different bachata style and here it is Toke de Keda."

Perez was also quoted explaining how they came up with their band name, saying, "Toque D Keda (toque de queda) means curfew and in all of latin america countries there has been a curfew at least one time in its history, so I came up with the idea of a curfew but with music everybody should stay home and listen to music."

Toque D Keda's music has also been used in several different instructional videos of Bachata that is used in many different dance schools.

Monday, March 2, 2009

R.K.M & Ken-Y

Rakim (RKM) and Ken-Y first started their career in Puerto Rico, performing at house parties and other small-time gigs. José Nieves (RKM), and Kenny Vazquez (Ken-Y), started singing together in high school. But they were heard and soon signed by a local label, and they have been growing in popularity ever since.

Known for their reggaeton music, the duo also blends in a little hip-hop to give them a unique sound.

They released their first album in February 2006 called Masterpiece. Their first hit single reached the number one spot on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart in 2006, and Masterpiece also debuted at number three in the Latin Billboards. They released a live version of their Masterpiece album also in 2006, entitled Masterpiece World Tour.

The duo celebrated thei first anniversary of their debut album Masterpiece with the release of Masterpiece Commermorative Edition that was released in April of 2007.

R.K.M. & Ken-Y went on tour and have traveled internationally to places such as Mexico, Canada, Spain, and Colombia.

In September of 2008 they released their fourth album called The Royalty/La Realeza, and they also released a bonus track version of this album.

The two have since guest appeared on several different songs, including Pitbull (see below), Daddy Yankee, and Don Omar.

In just two years, R.K.M & Ken-Y have become the new face of reggae music, and have been accepted all over the world.

Ken-Y was quoted saying, "Our mission is to use our music to reach all kinds of people: young kids, adolescents, adults, rappers, Christians - everybody - and bring Reggaeton into areas of the world where it's never been before."

Monday, February 23, 2009

Alacranes Musical

Although this 8-member band got together in 1998, it wasn’t until 2003, with the release of their first album, Furia Alacranera, that the band started to get some real recognition. But it was with their 2004 album A Cambio de Que that they became a regular on Mexican radio and slowly becoming a household name.

Alacranes Musical (in English meaning musical scorpions) are inspired by the music from Durango, Mexico. Their music is known under the genre of duranguense.

The members include: Oscar Urbina, Rene Urbina, Memo Ibarra, Chris Urbina, Hector Urbina, Rudy Avitia, Eric Urbina, and Omar Sanchez.

Wasting no time, Alacranes Musical released a third album in 2005 entitled 100% Originales, that made it to the Billboard’s Top 200.

Because releasing three albums in three years wasn’t enough, Alacranes Musical toured around both Mexico and the United States making appearances in anything from dancehalls to festivals, gaining in popularity.

The band released their fourth album in 2006 called A Paso Firme. This record sold more than any of their previous albums as well as securing the number one spot on Billboard’s Regional Mexican chart. Alacranes Musical produced two other albums in 2006.

In 2007, they released their hot single, Por Amarte Así, which was later featured on the release of their album Ahora y Siempre, which reached number one on the Billboard charts. Their album Ahora y Siempre was also nominated for a Latin Grammy.

2008 was also a big year for the group, releasing their single Dame Tu Amor, as well as their album Tu Inspiración.

Alacranes Musical just released their ninth album on February 17 of this year. This album, Alacranes Musical Live- en Vivo Desde México, is a recording of them playing live.

Now known all over the world, the group hasn’t slowed down a bit. Still touring around the world, they continue to write new and inspirational music that has touched the hearts of so many.

All of their music is available on iTunes.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Upcoming Concerts

Looking for a concert to sway to the lively beats of Latin music? Here are some great upcoming concerts in Tucson that can definitely get you up off your feet.

The B-Side Players are playing this Friday, February 20 at Plush at 10:45 pm. The B-Side Players are a nine person band that has been together since 1994. Formed in San Diego, the band is known for their exploration and experimentation of sounds, regardless of their origins. They currently have two albums out, Movement, which was released in 2001, and Fire in the Youth, released in 2007. They also have a single out, entitled Nuestras Demandas. All their music is available on iTunes. You can buy tickets at

Kinky is performing on Friday, February 27 at Club Congress. Kinky is a five member band from Mexico who has been together since 1998. They released their first self-titled album, Kinky, in 2002, and just released their sixth album entitled Barracuda in 2008. Though they are a Latin band, they are heavily influenced by techno and rock music. (Music available on iTunes.)

Also check out Lila Downs, performing at Centennial Hall on Saturday, April 11. Downs writes most of her own music, drawing inspiration from music of native cultures such as Maya and Nahuatl. She has released eight albums since 1994, including two DVDs that she released in 2006 and 2008 showing her performing in a series of concerts. Her music is also available on iTunes.

Monday, February 9, 2009


The Grammy Awards is one of the most prestigious awards that you can receive in the music world. They recognize all genres of music, from rap to country to soul. However, last night at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards, there seemed to be a lack of recognition for Latin and Latin inspired music and artists.

The show was entertaining, featuring artists like U2, who opened the show, or Paul McCartney performing a classic Beatles song. British artist M.I.A. teamed up with all star rap cast Lil Wayne, T.I., Jay-Z, and Kanye West. Country group Sugarland also performed. But there wasn't any performances by a Latin group.

Though the Latin Grammy Awards have gotten more and more popular since it first started in 1997, there seemed to be a lack of acknowledgment of Latin music at all in last night's Awards ceremony.

Country music has their own awards show, the Country Music Awards (CMAs), and yet country music artists both won awards as well as performed at last night's show.

Not one Latin group was even nominated in any category in last night's show.

Latin music has been recognized in the Grammys before, so it seems to beg the question, why not this year?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Keeps Getting Better

The Latin group Wisin & Yandel paired up in 1995, but it wasn't until 2000 that they began releasing their own albums.

The two Puerto Rican natives released their first album in 2000, but it wasn't until 2007 with their album entitled Los Extraterrestres that the two went platinum in their most successful album to date.

In 2008 the duo went on tour, wanting to expand their market as well as promoting their new album Los Extraterrestres: Otra Dimension, on which they added six extra tracks to the original album.

The two began teaming up with award winning artists such as Nelly Furtado, R. Kelly, and Enrique Iglesias.

Their single Sexy Movimiento, released in October 2007, was a huge hit and has been rated four and one half stars out of five by customer reviews on iTunes. Their most recent single, Me Estas Tentando, released late 2008, is still hitting the charts and is currently the number nine most downloaded Latin song on iTunes, receiving five out of five stars by customer reviews.

Wisin & Yandel have been very active in both their musical careers as well as in their social lives. In 2008 they won four awards in the Premios Juventud 2008 awards ceremony for their music. They have also participated in different Puerto Rican parades and campaigns against drunk driving.

Wisin & Yandel are currently working on their seventh album which is called La Revolución, and is expected to be released sometime in May of this year.

Many of their songs, albums, and music videos are available on iTunes. You can also check out YouTube to see their music videos for free. You can also check out their blog.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Artist on the Rise

From the sounds of Santana to the catchy phrases sung by Ricky Martin, Latin music has hit America head on and has continued to blow up the charts.

One Latin star on the rise goes by the name Pitbull, and he has been taking his Cuban heritage to a whole new musical style.

Pitbull was introduced to Lil Jon and has since teamed up with him on several different albums. Lil Jon introduced Pitbull to the world of crunk music. Crunk has taken off since it first hit the radio scene in 2004. Crunk is similar to hip-hop, but has a slightly slower beat, and is seen as more aggressive than hip-hop.

Pitbull has put his own personal style to crunk and given it a Latin edge. Son of Cuban immigrants and raised in Miami, Pitbull took this new style of music and added some Miami flare.

Though he is new to the scene, ever since his first album came out in 2004, titled M.I.A.M.I., Pitbull has been hitting the charts with his singles. His songs are often found in clubs and his music is certainly no stranger to the radio waves.

In 2006 he came out with his next album entitled El Mariel, and in 2007 he released the album The Boatlift. All of his albums are available on iTunes.

Some of his major hits include: Fuego, The Anthem, and Go Girl. One of his most recent hits that is on iTunes top 100 downloads is a song called Krazy featuring Lil Jon.

Check out these other links to find out more: