Los Lobos: Yes, They Can!

By MELINDA MINTON

Celebrated band Los Lobos (Spanish for “The Wolves”) is coming to Olympia for a concert that’s sure to sell out.

Keyboardist and saxophonist Steve Berlin, David Hidalgo, Conrad Lozano, Louie Pérez and Cesar Rojas will bring a distinctive sound that borrows from boleros, corrido, Mexican folk music, mariachi, norteños music from northern Mexico, polka, rock and roll, Tex-Mex cumbia and zydeco with nuances in between.

Los Lobos had humble beginnings in East Los Angeles in 1973, playing for parties, weddings and other events that came its way. It had the freedom to explore and play various types of music. Though its genre of choice was Mexican folk with origins in the music brought by European settlers before the Mexican Revolutionary War, that gave way to diverse elements that inform the sound of Los Lobos today.

Sí Se Puede! (1976) was the charity-album debut of “Los Lobos and the Salas Brothers of Tierra.” Proceeds from that album went to the United Farm Workers of America. With that, the band was officially off and running. In 1984, the band dropped its second album, How Will the Wolf Survive? Its title and title song were inspired by a National Geographic article entitled “Where Can the Wolf Survive,” which band members related to their own struggle to gain success in the U.S. while maintaining their Mexican roots.

Since then, the band has enjoyed sharing the stage with such artists as Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead, The Sex Pistols and U2. It gained international stardom in 1987, when a cover version of Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba” topped the charts in the UK, the U.S. and several other countries. In 2011, the group was awarded a Latin Grammy lifetime-achievement award. In 2015, it was nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2018, it was inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame.

“The success was great,” says Berlin, “but it left us wondering what to do. Did we want to take the conventional route or take our own path?” It seemed natural and necessary that the group remain true to its core when making musical decisions, gently growing its artistic path and brand of music. Thus, the band’s marriage of minds and music continued to flourish.

In 1995, Los Lobos, along with veteran guitarist and singer Lalo Guerrero, released the bestselling, prestigious record Papa’s Dream on Music for Little People Records. The band also scored the film Desperado. A track from that album, “Mariachi Suite,” won a Grammy for best pop-instrumental performance and stands as Los Lobos’ most recent Grammy award winner. The band also won Grammys for best Mexican-American performance in 1983 and 1989, for the song “Anselma” and album La Pistola y el Corazón, respectively.

Fast forward to today. After its many awards and honors, Los Lobos is about to release new music.

“We plan to do a Christmas album,” says Berlin, who also works as a music producer. When asked about the group’s longstanding history and secrets to success, Berlin adds, “The culture of the group was there at the beginning stages of the band. Everyone had a family, and touring for years at a time was out of the question. When we aren’t working together or touring, we stay out of each other’s way.”

Buy tickets now. Do not miss this opportunity to see Los Lobos live in Olympia.

WHAT

An Evening With Los Lobos — 45th-Anniversary Show

WHERE

The Washington Center for the Performing Arts,
512 Washington St. SE, Olympia 

WHEN

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 1

HOW MUCH

$38-$102

LEARN MORE

360-753-8586
washingtoncenter.org




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