Honoring The Greats Of Chicano Music, A 5 Day Celebracion, 21st Annual Chicano Roots Music Festival

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Review by Monica Padilla and Dana Hobaica, Photos by Monica Padilla, Latin Life Denver Media (see photo gallery below)

It was one heck of a jam session with lots memories made over five days of honoring the greats of Chicano Music.

This year’s Chicano Roots Music Festival and Silent Auction, hosted by Su Teatro, has been nothing short of immersing you into the pride of Chicano roots and honoring the lives of ancestors through music. Every day brought a new level of appreciation for the Chicano culture…from the music, to the food, to the art and the amazing people this event attracts. Latin Life Denver Media was honored to again serve as a media sponsor for this year’s event.


Day one was filled with the beautiful sound of Las Tesoros. They began their career as four women from South Texas: Rita “La Calandria” Vidaurri, Blanquita Rodriguez “Blanca Rosa”, Beatriz “La Paloma del Norte” Llamas, and Anita Janet Cortez “La Perla Taptia.” Though Anita has since passed, the three women share their inspiring story about their perseverance of becoming musical performers in a male dominated industry through a documentary called, Las Tesoros de San Antonio. It was written and directed by Jorge Sandoval and produced by Jesse and James Borrego.


Day two was the presentation of those inductees into the Chicano Music Hall of Fame.  Prior to the ceremony, the inductees joined around a table and shared what inspired them and what their message was to all those aspiring artists. Unanimously the message was clear…never give up on your dreams, no matter what anyone tells you, go for it 100%. Tony Garcia (Su Teatro’s Artistic Director) and Debra Gallegos (Su Teatro’s Development and Marketing Associate and 2014 inductee) welcomed everyone to the induction ceremony. The hosts for the evening were Jesse Borrego (producer/community activist/actor) and Daniel Valdez (actor/musician/composer/community activist), true pioneers in the Chicano community. They set the stage by discussing the criteria for induction into the Hall of Fame: 1. Unique collaboration, 2. Longevity, 3. Excellence.

The theater welcomed back to the stage, Las Tesoros. Full of life and beauty and humor, they opened with two jokes and went on to sing a song A Cappella.

Jesse and Daniel went on to announce and celebrate the new class of inductees:

    • Cristela Garcia – Alejandro Martinez accepts on his behalf
    • Rafael “Raf” Lopez – Mr. Lopez accepts the honor with “great humility”
    • Robert “Rabbitt” Jaramillo – Rabbitt expresses his gratitude and says simply…”It’s a great thing. I love the music and all the great times it brought me.”
    • Conjunto Colores – Francisco Mejias gives many thanks to the fans over the years for their support throughout the lives. It’s an African music band but it is what it stands for… a compilation of colors!
    • Johnny “Ritmo” Rodriguez y Los Diamantes – All choked up, Johnny graciously accepts the award and acknowledges he’s nothing without his band. With his “New Mex Tex” beats he says they have a unique sound and blessed from roots to the people that supported them to their family…expresses love for everybody.

    The evening ended with performances by Johnny Rodriguez y Los Diamantes and bringing down the house was Daniel Valdez and a performance of “La Bamba”.

Day four was a Summer Pachanga with a lineup of three different bands: La Compania, Jon Romero y Amanecer and Johnny “Ritmo” Rodriguez y Los Diamantes, food from the grill, and a very competitive and successful live art/silent auction! People got their groove on…and their wallets out as the attendees went late into the evening on the “dance floor.”

Day five featured  a stellar Mariachi lineup. More photos coming soon, so check back.

Support the community in solidarity and gratefulness for the love and talent these amazing performers have gifted to the Chicano music industry.

Thank you to all these artist, performers, community members, and sponsors for taking us on a five day journey right back home, to nuestras raices.

Mil Gracias!

Photos by Monica Padilla, Latin Life Denver Media, Photos of day 5 Mariach’s coming soon