by Terry (La Lobacita) Gaisin
A key ingredient for a critic is non-judgmental objectivity. BUT, how can one be objective about a quintet of social friends. Not possible, especially when one has a special alias bestowed by said five compadres after about four or five intimate social occasions. So, this column will be strictly a generalization and observation of the Burlington Arts Centre audience who attended a LOS LOBOS concert on Tuesday evening. They loved it; we loved it, and the ensemble enjoyed performing it.
Los Lobos (the wolves) were formed in 1973 by friends from a predominantly Mexican neighborhood of Los Angeles who had formed their own trio or duet partnerships. In 1987, they were chosen to play the music for the Richie Valens biopic and their version of “♫ La Bamba ♪ became a standard. Some folks even re-named their sailing yacht when ‘Guantanamera’ proved too long for the transom [Danny & I].
The band are multi-talented with each member able to contribute vocals, numerous instrumentals; composition and arrangement concepts. They are so cohesive as a group as to be improvisational much like a creative jazz group. In one offering; their cover version of the Whitfield/Strong paean ‘Papa was a Rolling Stone’; Cesar Rosas’s vocal was backgrounded by creative bass, acoustic guitar and effective high-ranged electric axe. It came across as an informal tribute but was a modified work of total professionalism.
David Hildago’s vocal of ‘Down at the Pawn Shop’ included recruiting the Burlington audience to perform the chorus. The reaction was total even arousing some folks facing stage left to rise from their seats and mambo along.
There is an environment of intimacy and comfort between the performers and their audiences. Steve, Enrique and Conrad exhibit the ease and coziness one would expect from friends jamming in a basement or living room; and listeners respond accordingly. The group performs in Oakville on Wednesday and we’re sure the OCPA audience will have as much fun as we did.
Guys, we’re personally grateful for the Spanish love-song dedication; and BTW, the brisket is defrosting!Muchos gracias; amigos