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Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair

Wisin & Yandel concert coming to San Antonio

MIAMI, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 24: Wisin & Yandel perform during Univision's 34th Edition Of Premio Lo Nuestro a la Música Latina at FTX Arena on February 24, 2022 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for Univision)

Lorenzini Releases First Compact Disc Album

Lorenzini Releases First Compact Disc Album

By Ramón Hernández

Lorenzini is living proof that it’s never too late to realize your dreams and/or goals.

You may call him a late bloomer, but then again, it’s better late than never. In this case, at the top of his bucket list was to record and release a compact disc album. Perhaps, it was because he put his own dream aside to be there for his second oldest brother, José “Chepe” López?

However, he never stopped documenting his life in autobiographical songs. A classic example is “Mi Papa,” a tune that describes his father, Raúl Sr., and his brothers – Raúl Jr., José “Joe,” Saúl and Ernie – years as migrant workers.

“This is a song that anyone that’s followed the crops as a migrant worker can relate to,” Lorenzini said. “Those were the days when everyone gave their truck a name. As the song goes, my father named his Ford truck ‘La Prieta’ (‘The Black One’). And my cousin Rubén Lozano named his truck ‘Double 0 Seven.’ What memories. I recall dad telling us he already had the tank full of gas and he wanted us ready at dawn because we were leaving for California.

“He also made a camper for it and that’s where we plus two or three more boys would ride since our sister Alma and mom (Benita) would ride in the truck.”

Here are partial lyrics from this tune:

“We were poor but content. We were rich with life and other things. We had all by putting God first. And the music would play more, and more, and more, we’re going, we’re going, we’re going to California.”

The latter is the catchy hook that grows on you, and you will keep playing this tune over, and over again.

“What beautiful times those were with my father,” Lorenzini continued. “I was about six or seven (1961 or 1962) when from daybreak to sunset, we would hoe beets in the fields in Minidoka, Idaho. We lived in a camp, but on weekends, we would go to do laundry in Rupert, Idaho.

“The musical talent comes from mom’s side and music was always present in our family because she was the singer for her brother’s band.

“As for the boys, Chepe was already playing guitar and he would also take a comb, put a piece of paper over it/around it and use it as a harmonica. We would also place a license plate over two bricks or large rocks because it sounded like a snare drum when we hit it with a stick.

“However, our maternal uncles sang and played an acoustic instrument, mostly guitar and accordion. They would perform at quinceñeras and weddings within our family and I would just listen as they sang beautiful canciones romanticas (romantic songs),” Lorenzini said as he seemed to relive those days. “Furthermore, my mom would sing along with the radio when she was in the kitchen.”

 The López siblings were also exposed to the hip sounds of the day whenever Raúl Jr. would turn the radio on in the car. And five years later, a curly blond-haired, blue-eyed, twelve-year-old Lorenzini purchased his first transistor radio at the “World’s Largest Flea Market” in San José, California.

“It was here that one day that a neighbor named Mario Martínez came over, saw Chepe’s guitar, picked it up and started playing a Ray Charles beat. I liked it so much that I learned it after he taught me some chords. And when Chepe came back, I proudly played it for him, but he scared me so much I didn’t touch a guitar until I was sixty,” the formerly traumatized Lorenzini said with a hint of regret.

“Years later, Brando (Mireles) showed me how to use the guitar as a tool to write songs. So, I do the basics, and he embellishes the music with his magic.”

“What few people realized is that Lorenzo has been writing songs for 40 years. But he couldn’t arrange the music until Brando came along,” said Judy López, his soulmate and muse revealed. “However, his composing talent did not go unnoticed by Jimmy González.”

“Jimmy had already heard me sing, but when he heard me do ‘Why’ on my 30th birthday (September 30, 1985), he believed it was good to record. Suddenly, from one day to another, he arranged it, Chepe changed a few words, then they included it in Mazz’s ‘Straight from the Heart’ vinyl album.”

Yes, Chepe is Joe López of Mazz and Lorenzini (r.n. Lorenzo Lozano López) had been working as part of the band’s road crew since 1979. A year later, Joe, Jimmy and Mazz recorded “Tonight,” another tune penned by Lorenzini; and Jimmy threw a party for Lorenzo in Brownsville when the song was released in 1987. Furthermore, he also assisted in writing many other songs throughout his eighteen years with the band.

In 1989, Lorenzini became the road manager for Súper Grupo Mazz de Joe López y Jimmy González. In the meantime, he never stopped writing. He just kept saving his finished masterpieces in what later turned out to be a diary of his life experiences as he chronicled events and his deepest personal feelings in song.

“In 1997, I quit and six years later, at age 48, I bought myself a synthesizer and started learning how to play it. This made it easier for me to continue writing more songs since it takes so long to turn a poem into a story.”

“True be told, if he has the motivation, he can write a song in ten minutes,” added Judy, his biggest supporter and cheerleader.

What no one has mentioned up to this point is that Lorenzini’s mother, Benita, was a songwriter and this is whom he inherited his talent from.

“Many years ago, my mother planted a rose bush that is now twelve feet tall, and twelve feet wide. Now, each time I walk past it, I get inspired. Strangely, one day when I went to see her to give Saúl a two-hour break since he cared for her 24/7, she said, ‘Sit down, I want you to hear this song.’ Then, she took out her notebook and started singing it to me. She also told me that she wanted Brando to arrange it. And all this is on film.

“We honored her wish and I thank my God she got to hear the final recording of ‘Tu Ausencia,’ which she wrote for our father, her husband. Our mother, who never dated or remarried, passed on August 7, 2019, and she left me a note stating she had written another song that she wanted me to record. And that’s not the only one. These are just two of many songs she would write while my father was at work.

“Mom lived a beautiful life to the fullest and there is not one day that goes by that I do not miss or think of mom. Mom and dad took a piece of my heart when I lost them. But I am Blessed with so many cherished memories; and I am so fortunate that she lived until she was ninety-five,” Lorenzini said as his piercing deep blue eyes teared up.

“I’m so glad Brando convinced me to record ‘my’ compositions, which I had put away and are like family. Like my kids, they’re all the same.”

Again, every one of Lorenzini’s songs has a story. An added bonus is that his CD also contains a brief synopsis on each tune. For example, “Mi Morenita” is about a girl who loves to dance, and her boyfriend will do anything to please her, even if it means not hanging out with his friends.

“I originally titled ‘Diosito y Mi Madrecita,’ which was a perfect fit for the musical arrangement, but it worked better as ‘Mi Morenita,’” Lorenzini revealed.

“No Mas Por Ti” is about a man who will give his life to his lover because she is his beautiful blessing from God.

“Siete Vidas,” which he wrote in 15 minutes, is about a man who drinks to numb the guilt of breaking his promises and being the one to break up with his lover. He also drinks to forget their kisses, plus their beautiful memories and is now willing to do anything to win back her love.

Literally “Vienes Cuando Quieres” translates to “You only come when you want something.” However, the beau in this song is grateful to her because she taught him how to love, brought him back to life and made him a happy man.

Lorenzini’s songwriting is contemporary in that it documents a bit of present Rio Grande Valley real time events in “Southbound to Brownsville” since the subject in this tune is traveling and daydreaming of coming back to Brownsville to dance with his honey, taking her to Space X and Boca Chica Beach. However, his job prevents him from doing so.

And of course, this CD includes “Mi Papa,” “Tu Ausencia” plus “Porque Soy Carnalito.”

Now sixty-five, Lorenzini is entering the next chapter in his life recording original material, such as the upcoming “Hasta Que Tu Me Quieras a Mi.”

Lorenzini, who still works full-time at KBSD, maintains the work ethic he learned from his father as an adolescent, says, “Dad taught me how to work and I learned from his advice during years of family adventures I’ll never forget. Oh, what beautiful times those were with my father.”

All these experiences are chronicled in “Mi Papa,” a song that would make a grown man cry, especially if he grew up working in las piscas, living in camps or out in the fields.

Lorenzini’s album is available directly as a flash drive plus as a CD on Spotify and all digital stores. In May, he and Brando Mireles conducted a live “Lorenzini Father’s Day Special,” which you can view at

Last month he came to San Antonio to promote the songs Lorenzini based on his personal life experiences and which he holds close to his heart on Homero López’s KLMO. Also giving credit where credit is due, the awesome cover and back cover images plus his publicity pictures were photographed by Matthew Lamar and Judy López.

“Next on my list is to tour in support of the album,” Lorenzini said. “Right now, I can perform about twenty tunes with a house band; and, when his schedule permits, with Brando.”

Now that we have whet your appetite for his music, to book Lorenzini, you may call at (956) 466-8260 or email him

The Latest News on Javier Galván and the Ramos Family

By Ramón Hernández


It was 10:19 p.m. on Sunday, June 13 when Javier Galván was involved in a head-on collision with an oncoming vehicle near Winters, Texas. And it didn’t take long for the rumor mill to spread word that Galván had perished. And when some people read that he was incapacitated, they took this to mean decapitated.

As everyone now knows, the saddest of news is that three persons did lose their life. They were Marisa Ramos, 20, Cissy Ramos, 46 and seven-year-old Adalynn Muñiz. Therefore, this writer and the entire StreetTalk magazine staff extend our deepest sympathies to their families.

God spared siblings Keelie Ramos, 12, and Kolbie Ramos, 9. However, they, as Galván, were critically injured and all are recovering in different hospitals.

During Galván’s stay in an Abilene medical facility, I was kept abreast of his condition by Allysun Marie “Ally” Sandoval Gutiérrez, who works for the City of Abilene.

When her sister, Anissa Sandoval Saldana, who is best friends with Norma (Javier’s wife) and Javi Jr., learned of Javier’s situation, she made sure that Ally tended to the Galvan family’s needs. Furthermore, thanks to Ally’s husband (T)Sgt. Demitrio  Gutierrez, who is stationed at Dyess AFB, they were able to house Norma at the military lodging facility.

And their father Eddie Sandoval, of RiverCityAttractions   kept this writer up to date of all that was going on until Javier was transferred to a San Antonio hospital where this writer was able to visit the now full bearded singer/songwriter shortly after his arrival. Thus, I was witness to the result of the power of prayer when I saw he had survived despite numerous internal injuries and a few broken bones.

I was initially in deep shock since Galván wrote an incredibly tell-all book, God Always Wins, in which he covers his unbelievably rise to stardom and the pitfalls of most musicians in his personal testimony as he hooks the reader into an awesome inspiring motivational message that covers forgiveness and redemption. I know because as his editor, I read the book four times. Then, we met on an average of once a week to tighten it up plus select the best of hundreds of pictures. Then, this unfortunate devastating fatal collision occurred a few days after our fourth meeting.

Two weeks later, I attended the fundraiser that J.R. Gómez, a close friend of the Ramos Family, had put together to benefit the families of the fatal accident on Friday, July 1 at Desperados.


The lineup this evening included Rubén Ramos, Jay Pérez, La Sombra’s Tony Guerrero, Ram Herrera, Art Tigerina, LA 45, Jaimé De Anda, La Calma, Texas Latino; plus, newcomers LaDezz featuring Lisa Mar, and Tina Marez – all backed with a house band led by Mario Ortíz. And of course, 41-year-old J.R. Ramos – formerly with Mazz, the Kumbia Kingz and Los Conjunto Bandits – put on an unforgettable performance.

No need to say that I wanted to make it a point to meet the families of the victims in what would have been an awkward situation for the deepest heartfelt condolences cannot not resurrect their loved ones. Words can not change what transpired. Beautifully said phrases cannot erase or alleviate their grief. However, they did not attend this function.

“However, they will be present at the second benefit concert to be held on Friday, July 9 at Club Pink in Lubbock,” J.R. Gómez told me after a couple of hours of backing up other acts.

That fundraiser will feature the Homeboyz, David Lee Rodríguez, Tristan Ramos, Mónica Saldivar, Savannah Votion, the Jordan Rodríguez Band, plus Bobby G and the Galaxy Band, followed by a monster jam session consisting of West Texas musicians will follow all the acts.’

Desperados club owner J.R. Rendón, who loaned his venue for this benefit was also disappointed, but as he said, “I am now have a non-profit association so I’m doing this to help out people as I do a food line on the side.”

Noting the vocalists, musicians, their families, and guests out-numbered those that paid, I pray this benefit made money to help the Ramos family. Therefore, I’m glad that according to, a GoFundMe page has been set up for the families of the victims.In closing,  Streettalk magazine’s staff asks our readers to continue praying for God to lay his healing hand on Galván, Keelie and Kolbie Ramos.

Whatever Happened to Felipe Rose of the Village People?

Whatever Happened to Felipe Rose of the Village People? Part 1

By Ramón Hernández

Rather than wait to give you the answer at the end of this article, the spoiler alert is that after a nasty, legal messy battle with another original Village People co-founder, Felipe Rose went solo in 2013 and is now riding high with “Dance Again,” his fourth single as a solo artist.

By the way, this kick-butt tune also features Ada Dire on backup vocals.

“I wrote this song while struggling through PTSD over losing his producer (Frosty Lawson) last fall. And on my birthday (January 12, 2021), I went into the studio with my young producer, Tyler Sarfert, who loves disco. So yes, this production has a deliberate touch of my past disco roots,” Felipe excitedly said during a 43-minute telephone conversation.

“After the 15-month pandemic lockdown, we’re coming back to life again. It’s about now. We’re back, we’re coming out and now it’s time to dance again. So, when I sing the song, I yell out ‘locked up’ because we were locked up. The words are powerful. So, enjoy my brand-new single, my new rebirth, new attitude, and new rebooted me with this, my latest offering with my team – Benny Harrison, Khadijah aka Kiki, Estela Crespo of MBQ Productions. She’s my comadre and social media director, Then there’s Jimi Carter of Act Now Promotions.”

Now, given the fact that “Macho Man,” the tune that launched the Village People’s musical career was released in 1977, allow me to educate our young readers who are not aware of the group that changed the face of disco with “Y.M.C.A.” – a gay anthem that the Library of Congress inducted to its National Recording Registry in March 2020. This registry honors tracks and albums that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.” The Latin connection is that a conga and a timbale were included in its instrumentation.

My favorite was “In the Navy” because I was at the midway point of my 23-year Naval career.

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 12: A general view of atmosphere at Cartier Juste un Clou After Party at Skylight Studio on April 12, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/WireImage)Long story short, this group, which was assembled through a series of auditions and really didn’t have much in common, sold more than 100 million records, had three top ten hits, four top twenty dance/club hits, toured the world, and sold-out New York’s Madison Square Garden twice. Furthermore, they were the subject of a biopic – “Can’t Stop the Music.”

In 2008, Rose received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a month later, he was inducted into the Native American Music Hall of Fame.

Most importantly, the Village People catapulted Felipe’s talent into pop music’s stratosphere. For starters, this singer, songwriter, and dancer is also a movie/television actor, a culinary enthusiast, a motivational speaker, an ordained minister, a visual artist/painter who continues to embrace his history while remaining contemporary; and let us not forget he was the title character in “The Adventures of Swift Arrow,” a true Native American superhero in a comic book.

Combined, this makes Felipe a true renaissance man.

Now the former loin cloth-wearing Lakota Sioux/Puerto Rican with a bespangled war bonnet is also hosting “The Disco Chronicles” podcast on his YouTube channel.

As an actor the disco icon was in a soap opera, made some appearances on television hit series “Fame,” “Love Boat,” “Married with Children,” plus two movie musicals, he was in ‘Tu Me Tien Por La Barbachette,’ a French comedy, and he played the part of Bernardo in “West Side Story.”



Another side few people are aware of is Felipe’s culinary expertise and how he almost landed his own cooking show on ABC. And after viewing one of Felipe’s cooking episodes on his YouTube channel, I was curious about what sparked his interest in cooking when he has the money to eat out and never has to cook a meal at home. Also, if he shared his Puerto Rican heritage as a part of his show.

“Of course,” he answered. “There’s one episode where I do a monfongo de platano with rice and black beans. I learned watching my mother because she was so bad at it. And with nine kids, she hated to cook. Her ideal dinner was to open five cans of Chef Boyardee and a loaf of bread. So, I said, ‘no, no, no, I’m going to learn how to cook.’ Thus, at 13 or 14, I learned to clean, wash, and cook rice because I would see my aunts and sisters cooking roast pork. But I would experiment and drench meat in beer as I cooked my tostones.

“However, I really haven’t shot many episodes that feature Puerto Rican dishes because it depends on what I really want to make.

“My cooking show has had three incarnations, me cooking in celebrity homes and I pitched it to ABC, but they wanted the Village People and I kept saying no. We worked together, but we never set out to become a band. We were put together as young adults through auditions and that’s how we got to know each other. We would do our show, then everybody would go their own way. We’d go here, we’d go there, then I would go back to my own world and catch up with friends or whatever. Therefore, we would never be in the kitchen cooking together.

“As I told one of the attorneys, ‘It’s not real. It’s not believable. So why am I going to compromise my artistic ideas?’ So, I shelved the show.

“Then I revamped it with the late Chef Lou Petrozza, a Hell’s Kitchen runner-up. That one was called ‘Rose and Petrozza, the Art of Food and Music’ and we shot an episode at Gloria Gaynor’s house. But producers kept on wanting to bring in the Village People, so I said, ‘forget it.’

Next, Felipe did two pilots of “No Feathers in the Kitchen” with the concept of bringing Native American artists to the show to share some of the cooking dishes that had been handed down through the generations.

Today, he continues to cook on his YouTube channel.             



From 2000 to 2008, while still a member of the Village People, Felipe wrote and recorded “Trail of Tears,” “We’re Still Here,” “Red Hawk Woman” and “Going Back to My Roots” – four singles that were a blueprint of who he was and that garnered him four Nammys (Native American Music Awards) for outstanding achievements in the Native American music industry.

After Felipe went solo, in 2011, he released “Soul of a Man,” an album that contained and those four tunes,

 More facets of this many-sided artist will be covered in ‘Part Two’ of this feature article in the August issue of StreetTalk. That’s because this month we want to highlight “Dance Again,” his most recent musical gem as a solo artist that was released in LGBT Pride Month.



“This really my fourth recording as a solo artist,” Felipe resumed. “But it’s more commercial because I think they’re calling it neo disco.

“I guess that’s because I come from disco, but now I’m doing dance and because of the way it sounds thanks to my 24-year-old producer, it’s a fresh sound and it does not sound like something from a guy that is trying to hold on to his past. Instead, I wanted to learn from him. I wanted him to show me how I was going to sound. He said, ‘this is the music we’re going to do and it’s going to sound like this.’ So, I’m excited about that journey, about the process because I love collaborating with people.

“I hope I did the job right because I’m getting emails from people around the world telling me they are incredibly surprised about the production and of the way I sound because a lot of people really never got to hear me sing and now, I’m singing full voice, aloud and out front with vibrato. 

“I’m happy about how big the reaction was and incredibly surprised that ‘Dance Again’ caught on so quickly when it came out four weeks ago.

“A music colleague of mine recently said, ‘After all the things that happened and then the pandemic. How did you come out with such a fantastic song? That’s not supposed to happen. Who does that?’

“That’s not supposed to happen, but it did because I knew that as soon as there was distance from the Village People split, plus the 15 months at home. I told myself, ‘Sitting down, pouting, and drinking wine is not in my cards. I don’t want to write about sad or negative stuff. I want to lift spirits because isn’t that what music is about. And the result is ‘Dance Again.’”

“I think the fantastic reaction has been a combination of things, like the way I’ve treated my fans, how I’ve treated people along my journey, with respect and kindness. So, you get that back when they appreciate good work and they come back to you.”

Felipe’s new dance single is now available on all music websites and at www where you can satisfy your musical appetite with a 30-second sampler.

In closing, next month is the continuation of a few very revealing sides of the Felipe Rose few fans know.

‘Bean & Chisme’ web show tells it like it is, San Antonio style

Two savvy media professionals in San Antonio have built the perfect platform for entertaining and educating fellow Latinos about their culture. All it took was unleashing their inner hoodrat.

That platform is “Bean & Chisme,” a live web show by Nina Duran, former publisher of the bilingual newspaper La Prensa, and Samantha Najera, CEO of the creative marketing firm HeartFire Media. It features raucous sketch comedy and unfiltered talk about all things Latino.

As for the so-called hoodrats, meet Lil’ Frijolita and Lil’ Chismosa, Duran and Najera’s alter-egos. They embody chola subculture from their bold black eyebrows to their long white tube socks, with the attitude and street-smarts to match.


The “Bean & Chisme” mission: Spoof and spotlight the topics Latinos relate to no matter how taboo. Or as Lil’ Chismosa and Lil’ Frijolita put it, they “call you out on your (expletive) and enjoy teaching la raza a thing or two about life.”

“The whole goal of ‘Bean & Chisme’ was to not just draw attention to the Latino culture but to the San Antonio South Texas vibe, living as a Mexican American. All of that,” Najera said. “We want to celebrate that and bring attention to it.”


So far “Bean & Chisme” has captured the attention of more than 90,000 followers on their Facebook page (@beanchisme). And a handful of original videos by the duo have racked up more than half a million views.

Now after a pandemic-forced hiatus from their live online shows, the self-described “two chismosas doing hoodrat things” are back with “Hoodrat Cumbia,” a nalga-shaking new song and music video to mark their return and the return of Fiesta.

“Hoodrat Cumbia” drops Thursday on iTunes, Spotify, Tik Tok and other music streaming and social media platforms, just in time for the first day of Fiesta.


Duran and Najera credit their growing audience to their “crazy chemistry to play verbal ping-pong” and their willingness to take on any topic Latinos can relate to, no matter how taboo.

“We talk about everything from finances to why do you line up for Selena bags but you don’t vote,” Najera said. “How come tios and tias die with no money and we have to have plate sales at the funeral?”

Najera and Duran launched “Bean & Chisme” in October 2017, at first just to have fun with live streaming.

“People kept telling us, ‘You guys are hilarious together,’” Najera said. “And Nina would say, ‘Oh, if only there was a fly on the wall.’”

So the longtime friends decided to share the kinds of conversations out loud that most people wouldn’t dare have in public. But that blunt talk didn’t really take off until a few months later, when Lil’ Frijollita and Lil’ Chismosa came along.

In April 2018, Duran and Najera unveiled the characters at the old Image Shots photo studio in Ingram Park Mall, where they rocked their finest Claire’s dark lipstick and gaudy earrings as a jokey throwback to when they wore such so-called chola gear in the 1990s.

When they posted the photo online, “it went ridiculously viral,” Duran said. “And just like that, in the bathroom of Ingram Park Mall in April of 2018, the hoodrats were born.”

The likes and looks really blew up when the duo started appearing in “Bean & Chisme” spinoff videos, such as “Hoodrats at Fiesta” and “The Real Hoodrats of San Antonio.”

On Facebook alone, “Hoodrats at Fiesta” has more than 367,000 views, while “Real Hoodrats of San Antonio” has 184,000.

On San Antonio rapper Southside Hoodlum making waves beyond his hometown (

Some of the duo’s edgier satirical clips really raise eyebrows and view counts.

“Interview with The Cucuy: Episode 3, Yolanda Saldivar,” a 2019 mock sitdown with the convicted killer of Tejano star Selena, remains “Bean & Chisme’s” top YouTube video with more than 200,000 views. The faux “Frost/Nixon” has Lil’ Chismosa grilling the Saldivar stand-in (San Antonio comedian Joanna Estrada) until Lil’ Frijolita rips off her curly wig and fights her.

Then there’s their 2019 “Frozen” parody, “Do You Wanna Make Tamales?” More than 67,000 have seen the decidedly not-for-children video on Facebook, which stars Duran as a pot-smoking version of Elsa who spikes the tamales for her kid sis and family.

“We want to be like Cheech & Chong,” Najera said, “or like (the Spanish-language entertainment show) ‘El Gordo y La Flaca.’ Maybe if Cheech & Chong and Selena had a baby?”

“Bean & Chisme” may be about two crazy Latinas, Najera said, but their hoodrat humor can shed light on real topics, which can lead to frank conversations that influence change.

“We’re just embracing who we are,” Duran said. “We can embrace and educate our Latino population with a little humor.”

“And we’re educating people just by being ourselves,” Najera said. “Not everybody is just one thing. We’re also business owners and single moms.”

On The first Texas rap record likely was made by a San Antonio DJ better known as radio personality Alberto Alegre

All jokes aside, Duran and Najeda pack some serious media credentials.

Before launching her San Antonio-based marketing and public relations firm in November 2012, Najera spent about a dozen years on both sides of the television camera. While earning her communications degree from the University of the Incarnate Word, she interned at Turner Studios in Atlanta as a production assistant on series such as TBS’s “Movie and a Makeover” and “Dinner & A Movie.” She parlayed that experience into production assistant work at KSAT-TV news and then reported the news for the ABC affiliate in College Station.

Duran’s own behind-the-camera work includes associate producer work at the KENS-TV morning show “Great Day SA.” She later worked her way up from sales to managing partner and then publisher of La Prensa, which her father Florentino “Tino” Duran founded in 1989 as a sort of relaunch of the original La Prensa, which dates back to 1913. Duran closed La Prensa in 2018, about a year after her father’s death.

Much as Najera and Duran enjoy channeling their inner cholas, they said a lot of hard work goes into making their on-screen personas look so easygoing.

“We wrote it, we did everything from the ground up,” Duran said. “We’ve done a good job at parodying, but I hope this also helps people see us as artists.”

Duran and Najera are working on new online shows and skits, and they hope to take their humor to the comedy club now that Fiesta and other large social gatherings are coming back.

In the meantime, the duo hopes that “Hoodrat Cumbia” helps score their San Antonio-based web show a larger national audience. They already have a #HoodratCumbiaChallenge planned for Tik Tok to really get the kids and cool abuelitas shaking and sharing what their mamas gave them.

And there’s nothing like a citywide celebration to get that party started.

“We wanted people to be able to play it wherever. And what better time to do that than Fiesta?” Duran said. “Yeah, our eyebrows are going to be melting this year.” | Twitter: @reneguz

A tribute for Jimmy Edward

Peppy is Rockin’ The Planet

Peppy is Rockin’ The Planet
By Ramón Hernández
Singer, songwriter Emil “Peppy Castro” Thielhelm is “Rockin’ the Planet with The Greatest Story Ever Sung.”
The former Blues Magoos founding father, guitarist and vocalist, who composed the music and wrote the lyrics to every tune in this musical production, says the message in these songs – all based on the Bible – is to bring peace, love, acceptance, healing, hope and making the world a better place.
“My son, Jesse Castro, contributed to writing the music for five of the tunes; and June Rachelson-Ospa was a co-lyricist to about one-third of the songs,” Peppy said.
Giving the reader an insight on how this project came about and giving credit where it’s due, he added, “It all started four years when Steve Leber called me up at 8:30 a.m. on Christmas Day. And he’s Jewish, so I told myself, ‘this is going to be good,’ and it was.
“He woke up feeling the world was so screwed that he wanted me to write a show call ‘Rock the Bible.’ I thought it was a great idea, and I agreed. Hence, the play was conceived by Steve.”
For those not familiar with Leber, he began his career with the William Morris Agency, where he developed and handled music icons like The Rolling Stones, The Beatles’ Concert for Bangladesh, plus. And that was only the beginning for the behind-the-scenes entertainment entrepreneur who went on to guide virtually every name in baby-boomer entertainment. And at the time he called Peppy, he had just become chairman and CEO of
New York City-based Peppy was a member of the original 1968 Broadway “Hair” cast; and his songs have been recorded by Diana Ross, Cher, Kiss, plus many others. So, this world-class caliber play could have been cast and presented on Broadway. It could also have enjoyed a successful run in Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago. So, why did he choose San Antonio?
“I met Jonathan Pennington through June (Rachelson-Ospa) when he did a showcase in New York; and, it was at that time that he asked if I would consider doing a version of ‘Hair’ at the Roxie. My answer was that I would rather do something original. He agreed and here I am,” Peppy said as he pointed to the Roxie’s main entrance.
“I came here not knowing what to expect, and I found a purpose,” said the award-winning playwright and multi-instrumentalist whose office walls are lined with Gold Records.
“Making new friends since I arrived and seeing the future in the kids in the play has become a blessing in disguise.”
“That’s right,” Jonathan added as he offered his analogy of the play. “God must be a teenager because of the things kids go through. Unlike churches that preach God’s fire and brimstone, God has shown me who he is through this production, which as the movie ‘Spiderman – Homecoming,’ contains a little humor. So yes, I think God is my super hero.”
While Leber, Pennington and Emmy-nominated Peppy may be the producers you never see, the ones who are going to impress, wow and amaze you are the cast members who will act and sing their way into your senses, your feelings and into your hearts. They are the stars.
Of course, our Lord and Savior gets universal top billing and the part of God is played by Paden Mercer. Starting out with the Book of Genesis, Sebastián Ramírez and Valeria Jauregui are cast as Adam and Eve. Cain and Abel are portrayed by Allan Jaurejui and Diego Jaurejui.
Then the evil Lucifer tries to steal the scene and Eve’s innocence with an apple as Sean Salazar enters the stage as Satan. However, Salazar later redeems himself as Noah with Jazmin Chacón at his side as Naamah.
We know we are surrounded by invisible angels. However, Savannah Mercer, Ivanna Danforth, Pauline Csitkovits, Yvette Cárdenas and Cristián Plata are five rockin’ angels that you will be able to see throughout each heavenly presentation in which the music is top gun.
It is said that “sometimes, music is the only medicine the heart and soul need,” so if you are feeling blue or just have plain humdrums, make a beeline for the Roxie Theater to go get a good dose of feel good contemporary rock music with a message that may change your life.
From “Creation,” “Seven,” “Make Us Over,” “Angel,” “The Ten Commandments” to “The People’s Hero,” “Flood of Love” to “Just One Love” plus 11 more tunes, be prepared to be transported to a level of peace, joy and delight as ten good-looking, wholesome, talented Alamo City teenagers and two preadolescents, sing, dance and tug at your heart strings.
“Rockin’ the Planet” can be seen at the Roxie Theater Performance House from March 29 to April 14. Performances are: Fridays @ 8:00 p.m.., Saturdays @ 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays @ 4 p.m. The Roxie Theater is located at 7460 Callaghan Road, Suite 333, San Antonio, Texas.
In closing, Leber is also known for his precedent-setting arena tour of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Jesus Christ Superstar,” a project that was such a success that it became a viable industry model. Coupled with Peppy’s experience in “Hair,” don’t be surprised if “Rockin’ the Planet” does not wind up on Broadway, then taken on a national tour.
To purchase tickets and for more information, call 210-360-9180 or visit their website:
Also, be sure to read the article on Peppy Castro on page ______ in this issue to find out how he went from being one of the early pioneers of the psychedelic garage band rock era to rocking Christian music.
(Note: Jonathan Pennington is the owner and director of the Roxie Theater Performance House.)

Peppy Castro

                     Peppy Castro

From Blues Magoos and “Hair” to “Rockin’ the Planet” with “The Greatest Story Ever Sung”

By Ramón Hernández

Peppy Castro’s musical story is truly one of the greatest stories to be told for he has been here, there, everywhere; and he has done it all.

His musical journey began when he learned his first guitar chord as a result of being in a Christian church play at age 13.

“That’s when I realized that I could be a singer and musician,” Peppy said of his Christian upbringing and what he credits to be his biggest luence. “But,then you go through the rebellious years.”

A year later, he left home and went to Greenwich Village where he immersed himself in pop music and absorbed an endless array of 1950s and early 60’s sounds as he honed his guitar skills playing the clubs.

Along the way, he hit it off with Ralph Scala and Ronnie Gilbert, who he met at a street fair, and they became the Trenchcoats. This was during the time of the British music invasion. However, rather then going with the flow, they morphed their influences into something original, totally American. They created psychedelic rock.

Two years later, on September 24, 1965, bandleader Peppy and organist/lead vocalist Ralph Scala recorded “So I’m Wrong and You Are Right,” and extended-played 45-rpm that included “Wild About My Lovin” and “The People Had No Faces.”

It was released as Verve/Folkways KF 5006 in January 1966 and what makes this record a rare, sought-after single is that the label’s Artists and Repertoire people had changed their name to the Bloos Magoos, which the band later changed to Blues Magoos.

Hence, the Manhattan-born musician became one of the founding fathers of the legendary Bronx, New York-based Blues Magoos – the first psychedelic rock quintet in the United States.

Incidentally, their first manager was Marvin Laganoff, who managed Simon and Garfunkel when they were initially known as Tom and Jerry.

Next came “Tobacco Road” and an appearance on “The Jack Benny Show.” See However, it was “We Ain’t Got Nothing Yet” (Mercury 72622), which reached No. 5 on Billboard’s charts on January 7, 1967 that put them on the map.

To boast sales and promote the band, they boarded a chartered plane to do a 20-day promotional tour during which they did showcase performances, radio, television and print media interviews, meet-and-greets and signed autographs as Peppy Magoo, Ralph Magoo, Mike Magoo, Ronnie Magoo and Geoff Magoo.

They spent the entire summer of 1967 on tour with Herman’s Hermits and The Who.

“Image that, earning your first hit record and touring all over the United States at the age of 17,” Peppy said in disbelief.

And this writer is proud to say that this rock’n’roll living legend is a Latino, or Hispanic, depending on what you prefer.

“Yes, my real name is Emilio (later shorten to Emil) and, my father was from Bogota, Colombia. My mother was French, German and English. However, my dad died when I was five months old,” Peppy revealed “As for Peppy, that comes from the fact that I am full of energy.”

After the “Psychedelic Lollipop” vinyl album, Blues Magoos released “Electric Comic Book,”

By now, they had become famous for their great psych flavor, complex melody and great vocal harmonies. However, their “Basic Blues Magoos” album lacked that “punk.” Instead it was pure pop, with a strong psychedelic flavor and effects.

Peppy’s answer to that question to Its Pyschedelic Baby Magazine was, “We were all evolving as writers and actually I think it’s my favorite. My songwriting skills and love of all the pop songs I grew up with were starting to surface.”

After this album, the band got discouraged and broke up. As Peppy told Its Pyschedelic Baby Magazine, “Weak management and having our second single “Pipe Dream” being banned by the ABC network killed our career. Radio was also moving too fast and we lost our follow up.”

This is when Peppy, thanks to his musical prominence and stature, was asked to join the original cast of “Hair,” a rock musical which broke new ground as the product of the hippie counterculture and sexual revolution. “Hair opened on Broadway at the Biltmore Theatre on April 29, 1968 with an afro-haired Peppy alternating on the part of Woof, General Grant and a member of the hippie tribe of the “Age of Aquarius.”

Here’s another piece of trivia for inquiring minds who are wondering if Peppy would get his hair permed to sport an afro, he said, “I used to straighten my hair in the Magoos and then went natural with a fro, Lol.”

After “Hair,” Peppy followed up with being awarded Drama Logue Magazine’s Outstanding Achievement Award for his music and lyrics for the ground-breaking “Zen Boogie,” which garnered rave reviews in Beverly Hills.

In the meantime, Peppy taught Bronx buddy Paul Daniel “Ace” Frehley how to play guitar. If the name sounds familiar it’s because Ace is the original lead guitarist, occasional lead vocalist and co-founding member of the rock band Kiss.

He would also collaborate with Kiss’s Legendary Gene Simmons as a songwriter and performed on Paul Stanley and Ace Frehley’s solo records.

In 1969, after initially declining to start up a revamped Blues Magoo, Peppy agreed and ABC Records released “Never Go Back to Georgia” and a year later “Gulf Coast Bound.” However, their sound was not typical Magoos.

“You see, I was 19 years old and my concept now was to be the first Latin rock group since my father was from Colombia. So, I thought it would be great to play some music with a Latin influence and be the first rock band to establish Latin Rock.

“After realizing that it would take quite a while to start over with getting signed, I decided to … keep on moving forward,” Peppy revealed (

What must have crushed Peppy’s heart is when Santana came out and got the recognition for being the ‘First Latino Rock Band.” However, he must still be commended for being a role model and instilling pride in all U.S. Latinos by opting to keep Castro in his name for he is a prime example of the success that can be achieved by the son of an immigrant by creating a new American music genre.

Moving along; after the Blues Magoos, the Alessi Brothers, Billy and Bobby, who he had hit it off during “Hair” crossed paths in Munich, Germany and formed Barnaby Bye with Peppy on lead vocals.

Peppy’s childhood sweetheart Mary Kelly wrote “Laneya,” the first song for this band. She also co-wrote “Jessie Girl” with Peppy, plus a poem that referred to Barnaby Bye, which the band adopted for their name.

 They later got signed to Atlantic Records, hit the road and went on to release two vinyl albums – “Room to Grow” and “Touch” – during the 1970s.

Peppy followed Barnaby Bye with a stint as the lead singer for Balance. And, on June 15, 1981, one day before his 32nd birthday, “Breaking Away” landed them the No. 22 hit on Billboard’s charts.

Another rock band Peppy sang and played guitar with was Wiggy Bits. However, his greatest monetary success was most likely writing and singing some of the most iconic commercial jingles of the pass 40 years.

Let it suffice to know that Peppy has penned songs for Diana Ross, Cher, plus countless other international stars. And the list of other musicians he has worked with include Liza Minnelli, John Denver, Jay and the Americans, Ronnie Spector, Laura Branagin and Michael Bolton to name a few. As can be seen, the Long Island Hall of Fame inductee has the versatility to work in all music genres and this is just touching the surface.

In 2013, Peppy recorded “Just Beginning,” his first solo album; and a year later, the Blues Magoos reunited to record a compact disc they titled “Psychedelic Resurrection.”

This writer could go on and on with a list of awards, trivia and other achievements that anyone can find on the internet. Therefore, in order to get to the meat of our interview, I recommend our readers go to or

There is no doubt that the first thing that comes to mind is that a musician’s lifestyle and culture is characterized by that Holy Trinity of hedonism timeless trio – sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. However, this is not true of “all” musicians since many are able to resist these sins or vices.

Without going in details, let it suffice to continue with Peppy’s quote of, “After all those years, I did a full-circle.

“The world is in a worst place today and I want to help by putting faith, hope and love into people’s heart through music. God is love. Faith is powerful and music is universal. So, that’s one way to spread love across the planet.

“My wife of 18 years, Melissa Van Dedman aka Willy Blue, died of ovarian cancer and when you hit rock bottom, you either live or give up. The only thing that ‘healed me’ of my grief was my faith and belief in God.

“You know, atheists don’t believe in God, yet when they find themselves in a life-or-death situation, they utter, ‘Oh God, please don’t let me die.’ That’s because God in imbedded in us as a part of our DNA.”

After Peppy went from singing and playing guitar in church to national celebrity and non-stop parties during the era of stoned out hippies and free sex, plus fame as a songwriter, composer and playwright, his musical Christian roots have resurfaced.

And, now the musical icon finds himself in San Antonio workshopping his new POPERA, “Rockin’ the Planet – The Greatest Story Ever Sung” with Artistic Director of the Roxie Theatre Jonathan Pennington.

The play features ten songs in each of two acts. Picking out two songs to make a point, Peppy first explained the basis for “Seven.”

“Seven is the oldest number in the Bible,” Peppy said in relating to the creation of the world in seven days and that’s why there are seven days in a week. It appears all the way to the “seven spirits of God,” which are mentioned in Revelation 1:4; 3:1; and 5:6.

Pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth are seven vices or negative character qualities that according to Catholic theology are the seven capital and/or cardinal sins. They are sins that the Bible condemns. However, they are not called “the seven deadly sins” in the Bible.

Catholicism also teaches they can be overcome with the “seven virtues.”

“Then, there’s ‘The Ten Commandments.’ There could have been 11 commandments, but God chose ten. Follow those commandants and everything will be all right,” Peppy continued.

“Today, everybody wants to be a 10; and when you go to a hospital, you’re asked ‘What is your pain on a scale from one to ten?’ Thus, God set the standard.

“As can be seen, there is a message in every song in this production,” said the genius who penned the words to all twenty tunes based on the Bible. He also and composed all the music and played all the instrumentals on the play’s soundtrack.

Also, in giving credit where it’s due, Peppy said, “My son, Jesse Castro, contributed to writing some of the music for five of the tunes; and June Rachelson-Ospa was a co-lyricist to about one-third of the songs.

“Now, I’ve come full circle,” said the 69-year-old rock legend with the twinkling blue eyes.

“In San Antonio, I have fallen in love with these people, everyone involved in the production team (the assistant director, choreographer, stage manager, costumes/prop mistress, set design, lighting/media design and box office/business manager) plus the kids coming in after school and giving it their all.”

Regarding all the hits Peppy has written for numerous other international superstars, the ever-humble lyricist said, “I never write a song for them, but for my own enjoyment.”

Now thanks to Peppy, he has brought a Big Apple production to the Alamo City.

Even so, “Rockin’ the Planet” is just one of many musicals, he has written. Another subject that is close to his heart is a play he wrote with Stan Lee about super heroes for Marvel Comics. But let’s stick to the Roxie Theatre production for now.

“Rockin’ the Planet” can be seen at the Roxie Theater Performance House from April 5 to April 14.  Performances are Fridays @ 8:00 p.m.., Saturdays @ 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays @ 4 p.m.  The Roxie Theater is located at 7460 Callaghan Road, Suite 333, San Antonio, Texas. 

To purchase tickets and for more information, call 210-360-9180 or visit their website:

The icing on the cake is getting to meet Peppy, Pennington and the cast when they make themselves available for selfies following the finale.

To purchase tickets and for more information, go to   

The Long and Winding Road of Jimmy González

The Long and Winding Road of Jimmy González

By Ramón Hernández

Was Jimmy González trying to tell us something through his music?

Normally, this writer would say, his most ‘recent CD,’ but in this case Jimmy’s latest production was his ‘last CD.’ And, the title to the last song, which was sung by Danny Ortíz was “The Long and Winding Road.”

The previous CD was titled “Que Cante El Mundo (Mi Dolor).” Today radio stations are playing his music all day long and fans are singing along in sorrow. And before that, he included “Porque Me Gusta a Morir” (“Because I Like You till Death”). Was the multi-Grammy Award winner telling his fans – between the lines – that he loved them until he died?

Jimmy González passed to heaven’s pearly gates at 9:57 a.m. on Wednesday, June 6 at San Antonio’s Methodist Hospital. For more details, check out the articles on the Brownsville Herald and McAllen’s The Monitor newspapers via their websites.

I did call Joe López for a quote and his brother Lorenzo López, told me Joe was deeply sadden by the news. “Pobrecito,” Lorenzo said as Joe was getting ready to tape an exclusive interview with NBC News in Brownsville at 4 p.m. that same day. That interview should be on-line by the time you read this article.

Now where does one begin when one is experiencing a mental block from the shock of Jimmy’s untimely death. He was only 67. He would have been 68 on August 28 and he died only 11 days short of Father’s Day.

Okay, here goes. Jimmy and Joe López were born on the same year, the same day and only 30 minutes apart. The only difference is that Jimmy was born at home.

Both received their first guitar in 1962, first Joe, then Jimmy. Four years later, they formed Little Joe’s Group; and, in 1967, the teenagers changed their name to The Glares.

The dynamic duo graduate from Brownsville High School in May 1969. A year later, Joe joined the U.S. Army; and in his absence, Jimmy and Juan Murillo formed Brown Express.

After Joe finished his two-year stint in mid-1972, they joined the Phases club house band; and, at year’s end, Joe and Jimmy joined Bel-Air Band of Brownsville. It wasn’t long before they took control of it and modified its name to the Bel-Aire Band.

Joe, lead vocals, Jimmy, guitar; Lupe García, Noé García, Ray García, Richard Garza, Frank De La Rosa, Luis Maza, Arnold Montalvo, Bobby Rodríguez, Lupe Salinas, Leó Víllarreal and later, Juan Murillo, made up Bel-Aire Band.

In September 1973, López hung up his microphone to attend college. Meanwhile González and Murillo joined Something Easy, which featured vocalists Leó Sílva, Patsy Franco; and, they became the house band at The Resaca Club, located in the Fort Brown Hotel.

Four years later, after recording and touring with Los Fabulosos Cuatro, Joe joined Jimmy and Juan. In 1978, the band changed its name to Mazz; and, the rest is history. Eleven years later, Jimmy’s brother, Tommy, was now playing congas and saxophone with Mazz. Other members were Alfonso González, accordion; Brando Mireles, keyboards; Frankie Caballero, guitar; Robert Chávez, bass; Adolfo García on drums; and they were under the management of Joe’s brother, Lorenzo López.

As is the norm for any band, musicians came and went; as well as countless female vocalists. Joe and Jimmy first recorded with Paulino Bernal’s Bernal Records and Bob Grever’s Cara label. Then they went on to record for Capitol-EMI Latin and Freddie Records.

Those are some little known ‘facts.’ There’s enough information on the world-wide-web to fill a couple of books; and all I have is a few inches of space.

On the personal side, Jimmy had four sons with his first wife. And on May 1, 1999, he and the former Lisa De Luna exchanged wedding vows in San Antonio. He died in the Alamo City. So, perhaps the family will consider a public viewing in San Antonio.

Yes, Jimmy’s musical history has been one ‘long and winding road.’

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