By: Fredwill Hernandez
On Sat. – May 4th veteran Popular Mexican Music act Los Tucanes De Tijuana known for classic songs like “La Chona,” “Tres Animales,” and “Secuestro de Amor,” kicked off the highly anticipated return of Seaworld’s “very popular and unique” Viva La Música music series [presented by Coca-cola] which returned after a seven-year “hiatus,” with different acts performing every weekend, except for the last weekend of May, concluding the music series the first weekend of June, with performances by Régulo Caro on [Sat.] June 1st, and Los Rieleros Del Norte with special guest Kevin Ortiz on Sun. – June 2nd.
During the Viva La Música’s four weekends, Seaworld attendees [at no extra charge] have been able to line up for a wristband distributed on a first-come, first-served basis needed for entrance to one of two daily shows held at 3:30 [pm] and the other at 6 pm, at the park’s newly renovated Nautilus Amphitheater, which for many years housed the Pet’s Rule show.
“We previously held Viva La Música from 2009 – 2012 (4 years). The first year (2009), the concerts were held at the Orca Stadium, the following three years, it was held at Cirque Stadium. SeaWorld is always looking at potential new attractions, exhibits and seasonal events. Following the 2012 concert series, we pursued other seasonal events, however, we are “tremendously excited” to bring Viva La Música back this year. The response to the six concerts held so far have been extremely positive,” eloquently explained David Koontz, Director, Public Relations, Seaworld.
Before taking the stage Mario Quintero, Los Tucanes frontman, leader, and the group’ s [only] composer [songwriter to date] opened up about the birth of the group, the connection between Los Tucanes and Los Incomparables de Tijuana, about [his] songwriting, and [the importance of] being authentic as an artist.
“The birth of Los Tucanes was on Mon. – April 13, 1987, at Raza’s Club in Tijuana, B.C., a club still in existence today, and we are, [myself] a second generation musical extension of Los Incomparables de Tijuana. They vouched for us at Raza’s Club, etc…and our first instruments in my case, my first bajo sexto [Spanish for sixth bass] guitar was given to me by my uncle Mariano Quintero, main composer for Los Incomparables, also when I first arrived from Sinaloa to Tijuana, [B.C], at age twelve, I also stayed [and lived] with them. I went to elementary school there in Tijuana, it was there I had my first small jobs working in warehouses, and then at age sixteen I formed the group,” explained [Quintero] the humble singer, songwriter, and musician who penned “La Chona” and has been at the nucleus and helm of his [very popular] group since its inception. “They [Los Incomparables] were our godfathers and musical influence, we got our feet wet because of them. When they would play at wedding, quinceñeras, or [private] parties we would be in charge of hooking up all the instruments and so forth, and we had learned what they played, and at times when they took a break we would utilize that time and space, typically about 15 minutes and we would play one or two songs, and things just grew from there.”
Many factors can be argued of how choices Los Tucanes frontman made [early on] in his career led him on a path to success, for one Los Incomparables had taken Los Tucanes under their wing, aside from buying them their first instruments, [also] living with his uncles who were musicians, composers, and songwriters helped [Mario] Quintero hone his craft both as a musician and songwriter, but nothing would have been accomplished without the young Quintero’s drive, persistence, and most importantly, “his dream.”
“My dream [as a kid] was to be a famous singer/songwriter and to be the leader of my own group, my dream with dedication, persistence, and drive, eventually came true. My uncle [Mariano] really helped me understand and [‘used to tell me’] respect musical compositions, everything just grew from there. It’s however very important to be your true authentic self and to posses that composer, singer, or musicianship quality that “makes you unique and sets you apart,” also added Quintero.
As to how the song “Tres Animales,” was born Quintero explained, “Someone told me a joke of how three animals would change the world, originally there were four — the fourth being booze. When I started to write the song, the fourth animal didn’t fit well with what I had [already] wrote, so I dropped it and just kept the three. The song has a double meaning, kids understand the simplicity of the title “Tres Animales” [Spanish for Three Animals] but at the same time not trying to fool anyone with the [song’s] double meaning or the reality [of what was going on in Tijuana] at the time, and that’s how the song was born.”
Having the “exclusive” blessing from [both] Seaworld’s PR team, and from Los Tucanes’ [Ramón Navarro], I wanted to dig deeper and find out more, so I asked Quintero, about Alacran Productions, and how the group came to the attention of Latin music veteran Jose Behar, who had launched EMI Latin in 1989, but signed Los Tucanes to its roster in 1995.
“We started out with Cadena Musical and had recorded about eight to ten albums with them, we eventually felt like we weren’t growing, like he had reached a plateau with them. Gustavo Felix, an executive at Cadena Musical left and started Alacran Productions [Records] with Juan Marez, so he called me and stated he wanted us to join his roster, and even though we had a new album recorded, we could not distribute it — since we were still under contract to Cadena, so I spoke to them, and they had agreed to terminate our contract, so I flew to Guadalajara, [Mexico], and we went to a notary, after I had the release letter from Cadena, I made a phone call to Felix telling him it was a go — I have the termination [release] letter, proceed with our new album and that same day they started distributing the  album Me Robaste el Corazon, it was the album that included the song “La Chona,”and we had another album titled Clave Nueva. After that we recorded another album titled 14 Tucanasos Bien Pesados, and Mundo de Amor, it was during that time that Jose Behar had learned about us through Felipe Orozco, marketing executive for EMI Latin. Orozco tells the story of how he found out about us and eventually went and told Behar. Orozco claims he was driving home one Monday afternoon, there was a lot of traffic [more than usual] — so he decided to follow the cars and eventually ended up at Club Farallon, where he seen a sign that read Los Tucanes de Tijuana playing tonight, so he thought, if this group is causing all this [havoc and] traffic jam, they must be about something! So, he went back and told Behar the story about some group Los Tucanes from Tijuana or something, it was then, Behar had asked Orozco, please go find them and bring them to me. That eventually led to us being discovered by Behar, and joining the EMI Latin roster, everything [eventually] changed for us, EMI Latin took us to the “next level and we [thank God] have not been out of work since,” explained Quintero, who added that Behar recently came down to San Diego, [Ca.], reconnected [and hung out] with the group.
Upon hitting the stage Los Tucanes did not disappoint, one’s again living up to their “fame” — as one of the top, “high caliber” bands in Popular Mexican Music’s Norteño realm [period], leaving everything on stage as they took attendees’ through memory lane with classic hit songs like “La Chona,” or corridos, [which are] predominately folk tales/stories about the narco culture like “Tres Viejas.” Their performance ending with the same [explosive] intensity and excitement it started off with, leaving fans desiring and requesting for more!
Pancho Barraza, performed Sun. – May 5, which “coincidently” is one of the most important dates [and holiday] for Mexicans, in celebration and remembrance of Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza who defeated the French Army on May 5, 1862 in the Battle of Puebla. This Mexican victory was a surprise for the French Army was said to be much larger and better equipped than the Mexican army. Cinco de Mayo is a popular date for people of Mexican descent to recognize the bravery of those who fight against oppression.
Based on how Viva La Musica’s first weekend performances ended, anticipation was [rapidly] building for Lupillo Rivera’s performance on Sat. – May 11th, and for Pesado on Sun. – May 12th.
Before Rivera’s performance, I also had a chance to speak with the artist about when and how he caught the bug to do music, about [his brother and sister’s] Linea Music [through Sony Music Latin], about his songwriting, and the upcoming Somos Rivera [Jenni] Golden Tour.
“My dad had [and still owns] a record label [Cintas Acuario], so I eventually starting helping him with everything there, learning as much as I could, choosing songs, being in the studio and so forth, eventually hanging out with the artists’ and relating to the musicians’ lifestyle, so I started dabbling with music when I was around twenty-two. The songwriting thing comes sporadic, in the 90s I wrote a lot, maybe like five or six years ago I [also] wrote a lot, so it comes sporadic, then you go back to the notebook and you find songs and say: ‘this song’s pretty cool,’ so it seems I’m writing constantly,” explains [Rivera] the artist who records between his ranch home studio in Temecula, [Ca.], and Mexico City where he is [currently] busy as a judge tapping La Voz Kidz [Mexico]. “Linea Music is owned by my brother Juan and sister Rosa [Rosie], so we just try to work them together. Basically, I’m the guy that listens and does, I don’t choose the music anymore, I don’t choose the single or anything, my brother is the one that listens to all the compositions from all the different authors, and they send the music over. Right now I have about 20 songs I have to do vocals on and that is just what it is. I’m working that way so I feel more comfortable, all I have to worry about is the live shows and the recording. My brother has a whole team that handles everything else.”
“As for the tour — we got together and had a nice meeting over some dinner and we as a family [The Rivera’s], decided to do a tour. It’s called the Golden Tour because it’s dedicated to my sister Jenni [Rivera] who would have been turning 50 years old this year. All of us are going to be present, all of us are going to be on stage, were going to do a special concert but it’s not going to be a typical concert were I per se will perform, then my brother, then my nieces or [even] my pops. We are all going to be on stage at the “same time,” some singing different songs but all there as one, it will be one set just us switching back-and-forth. Something different for the public, a different feel, a different show,” also added Rivera as to what initially gave birth to the Somos Rivera [Jenni] Golden Tour.
As anticipation and excitement mounted, I also had a chance to photograph Rivera [at the step and repeat Seaworld’s Viva La Musica backdrop banner] before hitting the stage.
Lupillo set things off with the song “El Moreño,” and also took his fans through a timeline of his multiple [hit] songs like “Despreciado,” and the recently released “Más Cabrón Que Bonito.”
“How you doing San Diego, glad to be here with you guys, I have been here to Seaworld many times — so thanks a lot for coming and being here today. I should of had a promotion that I would of have gotten on that roller coaster [above] with a fan, that would have been cool. I think next time i’ll go ahead and do that. Man I want to say something that I really shouldn’t – but hear it goes, we Mexicans are some bad motherf?ckers,” expressed Rivera as he smiled during his almost one hour set.
After the performance, [some] attendees and fans got a chance to personally meet Rivera through an on-air radio promotion curtesy of Univision’s [Uforia] San Diego 106.5 FM Que Buena, who had promoted Seaworld’s Viva La Musica and a chance for a meet and greet.
The same anticipation and excitement continued to the following [or third] week, and the performances by social media sensation Luis Coronel, and also Chiquis [Rivera], [both] who performed on Sat. – May 18th, [Chiquis] also coincidently being the niece of Lupillo [Rivera] and the older daughter of [Lupillo’s sister] singer Jenni Rivera who was tragically killed with six other passengers when the Learjet she was traveling on crashed on Dec. 9, 2012, near Monterey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
Both Coronel and Chiquis, are for different reasons — loved, adored, and flocked by their fans, this time was no different, and Seaworld’s newly renovated Nautilus Amphitheater where every seat in the house is really a close and good seat, complimented that!