2016 Madison Ribberfest Blues Bash
Los Lobos has stayed true
to their Mexican roots
The high energy band to headline Ribberfest
Friday, Aug. 19
(Festival Gates Open at
• 6 p.m.: Ghost Town Blues Band
• 7 p.m.: Backyard BBQ Blast Judging begins in the Brown Gym
• 8 p.m.: Junior Brown
• 9:30 p.m.: Backyard BBQ Blast amateur cooking winners announced on stage
• 10 p.m.: Jonny Lang
Saturday, Aug. 20
• 9-11 a.m.: Kidz “Q” amateur cooking competition and judging
• 11 a.m.: KCBS’ first cooking entries turned in for judging at the Brown Gym
(Festival Gates Open at 11 a.m.)
• 11:30 a.m.: Tanita Gaines
• 1:30 p.m.: The Beat Daddys
• 3 p.m.: “Good to the Bone” rib-eating contest in front of stage
• 3:30 p.m.: The Lucky Losers
• 5:30 p.m.: Sonny Moorman Band
• 7:30 p.m.: The Legendary Downchild Blues Band
• 9:30 p.m.: Los Lobos
Bring lawn chairs or blankets. No pets, coolers, skateboards, bikes, rollerblades, umbrellas, canopies, food, beverages, video or audio recording devices.
• Two-day pass $20 through Aug. 18 and available online or at the Lanier-Madison Visitors Center, 601 W. First St., Madison, and at various local merchants.
• Friday = $25 (good for both days)
• Saturday only = $25.
• Children ages 12 & under = Free.
(Aug. 12, 2016) – Los Lobos gained international stardom in 1987 with its cover version of Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba.” For four decades they’ve stayed true to their Mexican roots, combining a unique blend of traditional Mexican with rock and roll, country folk and even blues to produce a distinctive sound other artists can’t touch.
Their name, Los Lobos, is Spanish for “the Wolves.” They hail from East Los Angeles, Calif., where vocalist and guitarist David Hidalgo and drummer Louie Pérez met at Garfield High School and started a garage band, playing guitars and writing songs. By 1973, they had added fellow students Cesar Rosas and Conrad Lozano.
Perez has said of the experience, “We all hung out because we were friends and making music was just the natural progression of things. Like if you hang around a barbershop long enough, you’re going to get a haircut.”
After four years of hard work, determination and full-time jobs, they recorded their first album, “Los Lobos del Este de Los Angeles.” It took about four months and two studios to produce the album. Most of the songs were recorded at a studio on Melrose Avenue and a studio on Sunset Boulevard.
Not content with playing American Top 40 hits, the band decided to experiment with the traditional Mexican music to which they grew up listening. Adding a little bit of rock to their sound, they switched directions with their music after receiving positive reaction from audiences.
By now their lineup consisted of Hildago on vocals, guitar, accordion, fiddle, requinto jarocho; Perez on vocals, guitar, drums, jarana huasteca; Rosas on vocals, guitar, bajo sexto; Lozano on vocals, bass, guitarron; Steve Berlin on keyboards, woodwinds; and Enrique “Bugs” González on drums and percussion.
This multiple Grammy Award–winning band will be the Saturday night headliner for the Madison Ribberfest Blues Bash, Set for Aug. 19-20 on the Madison, Ind., riverfront. They are scheduled to close out the two-day event, taking the stage 9:30 p.m.
Their music is influenced by rock and roll, Tex-Mex, country, zydeco, folk, R&B, blues, brown-eyed soul, and traditional music such as cumbia, boleros and norteños. The band has maintained this sound throughout their extensive career. Perez once labeled their music as “the soundtrack of the barrio.”
Photo courtesy of David Alan Kogut
The 15th annual Madison Ribberfest Blues Bash features Saturday headliner Los Lobos. The band members (from left) are Cesar Rosas (vocals, guitar, mandolin), Conrad Lozano (bass, vocals), Louis Perez (drums, guitar, vocals), David Hidalgo (lead vocalist, guitarist) and Steve Berlin (sax, harmonica, percussion).
“Our two headliners this year are big names,” said Dave Butler, a member of the Blues Bash committee that organizes the music lineup for Ribberfest. “We work with different agencies and can get pretty much anybody.”
The stage is larger and “we have a completely different lineup from last year,” said Butler. The event takes place at Madison Bicentennial Park on the riverfront.
He said Los Lobos is “fantastic. They bring blues, rock and roll and a lot of Latin rhythm to the stage. There is a lot of buzz about them coming.”
In summer 1984, Los Lobos recorded their first major-label album, “How Will the Wolf Survive?” By this time, they were already East Los Angeles neighborhood legends, Sunset Strip regulars and a Grammy-Award winning band.
Three years later, they released a second album, “By the Light of the Moon.” Also that year, they recorded some Ritchie Valens covers for the soundtrack of the film “La Bamba.” The title track instantly became a No. 1 worldwide pop crossover hit single for the band. It reached No. 1 on both the U.S. and UK singles chart, and the video won a 1988 MTV Music Video Award. In 1988, they released, “La pistola y el corazón,” which featured original and traditional Mexican songs.
Performing at 7:30 p.m. Saturday will be The Legendary Downchild Blues Band featuring (from left) Gary Kendall, Michael Fonfara, Pat Carey, Mike Fitzpatrick, Chuck Jackson and Donnie Walsh.
Gaining popularity through the release of these albums, Los Lobos toured extensively throughout the world in the late 1980s and early 1990s, opening for such acts as U2, Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead.
Their success carried well into the 90s. Los Lobos scored the film “Desperado” in 1995. The album track “Mariachi Suite” won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.
After marking 30 years in the business, Rolling Stone magazine summed up that distinctive, diverse and spontaneous Los Lobos sound, “This is what happens when five guys create a magical sound, then stick together for 30 years to see how far it can take them.”
“We are well known for our electric, high energy performances, but we’ve done acoustic stuff for certain smaller auditorium tours,” said Lozano.
“Playing such songs acoustically makes them feel more intimate. We notice that when you play softer and quieter, the audience tends to pay attention to everything we’re doing. When you play rock, they’re thinking more about rhythm than melodies and lyrics, but playing them this way allows for more subtle elements of the songs to stand out.”
The Sonny Moorman Band performs at 5:30 p.m. Saturday featuring (from left) Marty Horst, Sonny Moorman and Dave Fair.
Even though the Madison Ribberfest has traditionally been a blues festival, “we’ve always been borderline blues, rock and country,” said committee member Rocky Harrell. “This is a dynamic show.”
For this reason Harrell said, “Tennessee is known as the volunteer state. But Madison should be called the volunteer city.”
“We have a mix of everything,” Butler said. “And we get people from all over the place now,” in terms of crowd attendance.
As for the price of tickets, “there’s no better bargain in the world.” For $20 or $25, you get to see nine acts, whereas just getting in to see (Friday night headliner) Jonny Lang or Los Lobos would be $35 to $40 per person, Butler said.
“If you went somewhere else you’d pay between $75 and $100,” said Harrell. “Our sponsors are what makes it so good, and our volunteers are what makes it go. We couldn’t have it without them.”
Butler agreed saying, “This is a major production. We’ve got a lot going on. We’d never get it done without the sponsors and committee volunteers.”
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