Tejano Returns to 6th Street
Mi Casa hosts A-T Boyz
By Margaret Moser,
11:01AM, Wed. Nov. 11, 2009
Isidoro Lopez likes to use the phrase “invisible society” when referring to the Latino community and how it's often looked through. It’s a particularly apt phrase in regards to Tejano, that vibrant hybrid of Texas-born, Mexican-originated music. For every musical style that exists, there’s a Spanish take on it.
Yet even the phrase “Tejano” is limited when it comes to its infinite variations – from conjunto to orqestra to modern and every thing in between - just ask the A-T Boyz. Formerly known as Alma Tejana, the A-T Boyz employ a heartfelt and heart-pumping amalgam of styles that work together and create a unique contemporary sound. Freestyle vallenato, reggaeton, urban cumbia, and ranchera are framed with traditional sounds, no surprise since the A-T Boyz are a family band with roots deep in Austin’s music history and a strong vision of the future.
This ambitious effort is beautifully illustrated by the video for “Amigo,” featuring a soulful duet with the King of Austin Tejano, Ruben Ramos. It stars the Boyz’ silky-voiced Raphael Rodriguez melding with Ramos’ gorgeous tenor, the perfect illustration of old school and modern Tejano. The A-T Boyz' album, Fuego Amor (Hacienda Records), furthers the traditional sounds of norteno and ranchero with pop and hip-hop.
It’s worth noting this well-respected family band is headed by veteran musician Paco Rodriguez, who performs with them, and his wife Martha, who handles the band’s business. In addition to Paco and Raphael, Paquito and Fernando Rodriguez also sing and perform while Omar Acuna, Daniel Gutierrez, Adam Garza, Rocky Rodd, and Raymond Garza round out the band. Moreover, each performances is a victory of sorts, for singer/accordionist Paquito was diagnosed several years ago with a type of childhood cancer so exceedingly rare, it is found in only one out of every 5 million adults.
Tejano is indeed invisible when it comes to the Austin music community in general. It’s embraced and respected as a genre yet was virtually nonexistent in the entertainment district downtown until Mi Casa (503 E. 6th Street). This Saturday, Nov. 14, the A-T Boyz take the stage with songs from their upcoming CD, and additional music by DJ Hollywood in the Mix.
“[Playing on 6th Street] is something that means the world to me and the Tejano industry,” enthuses Raphael Rodriguez. “We feel this is music people of all races will enjoy and we look forward to having a great time that night.”