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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Local band Suerte champions Tejano music in Tucson

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    The musicians in the band Suerte came together in 2009 to revive the sound of the 1970s Tejano genre, a big-band Mexican style of music that originated in San Antonio, Texas. Within a year, the band grew into a full 10-member ensemble of professional musicians, including saxophone, guitars, vocals, percussion and horn players, one of whom is in the UA’s marching band and most of whom are Tucson natives. To get a sneak peek inside Suerte, the Daily Wildcat talked to Manny Galvan, the band’s manager and percussionist.

    Daily Wildcat: How did you get into Suerte?

    Manny Galvan: Well, many years ago I used to hang around with a group of buddies that were in a band. I was just fascinated how with band — like a team — there’s a lot of organization, a lot of management, work ethic. And I just liked the whole performance of it.

    I used to follow my buddies from place to place, venue to venue, and just watch how they would bring a show together from literally nothing and produce it to a crowd or a venue and people enjoy your music. So I said, “One day, when I’m in a position, I’m gonna start doing it. I’m going to gather musicians, and I’m going to create my own band and I’m going to manage it.” And two and a half years later, that’s what I’m doing.

    Describe a day with the band. Are they a rowdy bunch?

    When I started to formulate this plan and recruit musicians, I specifically searched for veteran musicians. I looked for those old members, who were retired, and brought them back out. Once you’re a musician, they say you retire, but you still have that urge to go out.

    It took a while for some members to come out, but the main focus was to get some veteran musicians. So their temperament is a lot more calm, they aren’t young bucks like they used to be so there’s not a lot of attitude. It’s not to make money. They’re coming back because they remember the fun. Most of them are well-established in their marriage, or grandparents, so it’s a different demeanor when they come out, as opposed to a young-buck musician.

    Describe a typical Suerte show. The show a few months ago at the Fox Theatre seemed to brighten people up quite a bit.

    There are many Tejano bands out there. What I wanted to do is make it a little different. A typical band will just have that attitude of, “Oh, we have a gig tonight. OK, how much do we get paid?” and just not be very enthused.

    I tell my musicians this: I want people to raise their eyebrows, I want them to stand up and start to want to dance. We want to entertain them, not just provide dancing music, get paid and go home. We want to leave a good message. That way, they come back to our show.

    So we pick a lot of different music that your typical Tejano band does not play, we mix in a lot of variety — throw a couple of curveballs in the songs — just to get (the audience) excited and interested, to let them know that we’re not just a Tejano band. With that, they’re getting a production. They’re getting a show — more than just a gig.

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