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Cruising with Sunny


Cruising with Sunny

Story and photo by:  Ramón Hernández

Remember the mid-1970s when la palomia started cruising in downtown San Antonio in their lowriders and other vehicles with their speakers blaring out Sunny and the Sunglows/Sunliners hits being played from their “8 Track” & cassette decks. “Back then there wasn’t  ITunes,  mp3’s,  Cds”. With a cassette deck we created something that should have been called “MY TUNE”s !

The same was happening from El Paso to Odessa to Corpus Christi, only the name of main drag changed, but the music was the same – “Talk to Me,” “Put Me in Jail,” “Runaway,” “Smile Now, Cry Later,” and other great lowriding rolas.

Now Sunny Ozuna is taking his fans on a different cruising scene — on a Carnival ship that sails from Galveston on Saturday, January 9 and returns on Saturday, January 16.

“This will be my first cruise, so I’m excited, especially about the places that we’re going to see,” the Grammy Award winner said during an interview at his Northeast San Antonio home.

The Caribbean Sea port calls for this cruise are the Mahogany Bay silky sand beaches and diamond-clear seas in Isla Rotan; Honduras; Belize, a former British colony on the eastern coast of Central America; and Cozumel, off the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.

“We (Sunny and his wife, Janie) were just in Las Vegas and for the first time caught a couple of burlesque shows and I understand the ship features some Vegas-style shows, so we also look forward to seeing those at sea.

During this cruise, Sunny and every artist will be backed up by Calle Seis, the official Tejano Cruise band. Jimmy Edward had nothing but great things to say about his experience, solo que con mas ganas quiero hir (that’s all the more reason I look forward to going).

Another piece of good news is that this Tejano music hall of fame inductee is already in the studio working on his next album and hopefully it will be out in time to buy it as a Christmas present.

Remember when he would release an English album followed by a Spanish album and vice versa; and when he had various titles? i.e. “Little Brown Eyed Soul,” “El Monito de Chocolate,” “The Versatile …,” “El Charro Chaparro,” Young, Gifted and Brown,” “El Internacional,” “El Preferido,” and “El Orgullo de Texas.” Well, this one is titled “El Cancioncero” for his own Keylock record label.

“Es todo (It’s all) Mexicano and a little mariachi, like ‘No Te Vayas Palomita,’ which I originally wrote for Jimmy Edward. Joe Revelez did all the initial tracks on this variation of mariachi, conjunto and Tejano. Then there’s a great beer drinking song titled “’Botella Maldita.’ That means it will have horns with a little bit of accordion,” Sunny explained.

“It certainly has to have actual instruments because electronic generated sounds can never replace what a human musician can produce with has fingers. So when people hear, as an example, ‘Los Chismes,’ which I also wrote, they will go, wow!

“While I prefer the human touch, I want to go into a different level with some of the instruments. So the flutes and some voices will be duplicated electronically for a different upbeat effect that again, will have listeners going, wow. How was that sound created?”

This should whet your appetite on this production. As for the “Gira de Las Leyendas 2015” with Freddie Martínez, Augustine Ramírez, Carlos Guzmán and Joe Bravo, if you or any of your friends missed any of their shows in Texas, they will close out the year with a New Year’s Eve Dance at Casino del Sol in Tucson, Arizona.

The legends would also love to perform in your state, and/or area. All you have to do is to call Freddie at (361) 992-8411 or Sunny at (210) 653-4802.

In closing, don’t forget that you can get up close and personal with Sunny at the meet-and-greets, the question-and-answer sessions, photo ops, autograph parties, and after each performance during the Carnival Tejano Legends seven (7) day cruise, hosted by two-time Grammy Award winner, Raulito Navaira.

Other Tejano artists slated to perform during this cruise are Grammy Award winners, Rubén Ramos, Hugo Guerrero, Ricardo Castillón, Chente Barrera and Jess López; Latin Grammy Award winning Joe Posada, Grammy Award nominee Jonny Martinez, Latin Grammy Award nominee David Marez plus Anselmo Martínez, Patsy Torres, Joe Jama, René and Jessy Serrata, Chris Rivera, Nikki López and Crystal Caballero.

For more information, go to, call (512) 375-5711 or email

Tejano Cruise #3

This gallery contains 2 photos.


When you see the full page of color photos that accompany this article, those that didn’t go on the most recent cruise organized by Jacob and Marta Dominguez, will see what they missed out on.

Thus this article could have easily been titled “Mira lo que te perdiste” because as some Tejano musicians say, “So many women and so little time.” In this case there were so many beaches (not bitches), shops, flea market bargains and so much diversity in food, there was not enough time to see, buy, eat or do it all. However, there will be a Tejano Cruise #4.

It was snowing when the Illinois group left Chicago and the weather was gloomy and depressing when the Carnival Triumph cruise ship departed Galveston on the afternoon of Monday, February 13, but once inside, in what seemed to be a floating city, there was plenty to do.

By 6 p.m. people had already started to line up outside Club Rio for first performance of the cruise. And a light drizzle didn’t damp spirits or stop people from enjoying and dancing to the music of that night’s open air performances on the Lido Deck.

Los TexManiacs, Los Desperadoz, plus Rubén Ramos and his Mexican Revolution performed inside and Albert Zamora y Talento, Los Hermanos Farias plus Jaimé y Los Chamacos performed outside and Tejano music promoters such as Alejandro Ochoa and others used the cruise wore their talent scout hats to check out the band’s showmanship and pulling power.

Once out in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, the weather cleared up and the sun was shining brightly when all the bands woke up, went up to the 12th deck and competed against each other in a miniature golf tournament. Following the tournament, fans were delighted to take pictures with their favorite musician now clad in a tee, shorts and flip flops or sandals.

As for the food, don’t get me started, there was an abundance of gourmet meals served at the Paris and London dining rooms – everything from escargot (snails), to frog legs and alligator. And did I mention the scrumptious mouth-watering steak, seafood and desert choices? As Rocky Hernández would say, “noombre, shut up.”

Those that chose comfort food had the option of the 24-hour buffet which featured various ethnic food choices plus good ole American grilled hot dogs and burgers. So there was no way for anyone to go to bed or wake up on an empty stomach. And it was all free, well, actually included in the price of the cruise and that’s just as good.

The ship had already docked at Progresso, Yucatan and everyone seemed to have gotten up on time for the first port call on Wednesday morning. Progresso, as we found out, was a shopper’s delight and women were in heaven as they purchased sun dresses, blouses, bathing suits and sandals for as little as two to five dollars in the downtown stores. The flea market featured great looking high-quality cotton tees at the rate of eight shirts for $20. A tour on a two-deck bus went for $3. With prices like these, everyone stocked up on clothes, souvenirs and novelty gifts.

As for the food here, there was a choice of burritas, burritacos, salbutes or cachetadas plus fruits such as ataulfo, manila and manililla, which are all in the mango family.

Staying in this port city was one option since tours to Merida and Mayan ruins were also made available at half the rate offer by the cruise line. The down side was having-to return to the ship at 4 p.m.

That night the same groups performed, but in opposite venues. Then fans were treated to surprises galore as Albert Zamora got on stage to squeeze out and trade accordion licks with Jaimé De Anda and vice versa. Max Baca, for example, played bajo sexto with Los Hermanos Farías and drums with Rubén Ramos.

When the sun rose the next morning, the ship was secured to the pier in Cozumel between two other cruise ships; and many early risers were snapping pictures of a beautiful sunrise from the portside of the ship.

Again, there were more options as to what to do with your eight hours on this luscious and still raw island. The majority of those who went as a part of the Tejano Cruise group chose to attend the beach party at Sancho’s where all you could eat and drink was available for those that signed up for this private party.

If I seemed like a lush because I was downing one piña colada after another, as early as 9 a.m., it was because I told the bartenders to make me a piña descolada, without the liquor. Besides I was the designated photographer and I better be able to focus.

This is the place where fans from all over the United States got to see Rubén Ramos, the George Clooney of Tejano music, without a shirt, kicking back with Tina and frolicking in the water with Rick Fuentes kids.

Mike and Lee of Los Desperadoz flexed their muscles each time they lifted a tropical drink to their lips and of course there were plenty of sexy, now bronzed, ladies in bikinis that left little to the imagination, but as the single guys said, “too bad they’re married.” So they settled for daydreaming of them.

By 1 p.m. everyone’s face was red, those in the sun, from sunburn; and those in the shade, from all the booze they drank. Surprisingly, no one had to be dragged or carried back to the ship and everyone was in high spirits as they got some last minute shopping in the many stores in the portside terminal.

On the last night, after a long day of sipping tropical drinks at the ship’s casino bar, De Anda, Mike and Lee of Los Desperadoz plus other musicians – much to the delight of their fans –went into party mode and gave an unexpected impromptu concert.

By the time the ship sailed through a thick fog and into Galveston, where it was raining and streets were now flooded, we had taken over 2,000 pictures. And only thirty appear on this month’s centerspread.

Putting our normal humble personality aside, I can honestly say that my wife, Diana, and I took hundreds of awesome travel photographs in Progresso, Yucatan and Cozumel, but how can you take a bad picture when the sea and skies are blue and everything is so bright and vivid that the colors just seemed to burst out as fireworks.

However, the subject and purpose of this cruise was to capture the good time had by those on the Tejano music cruise. For this spread, I left out all the typical scenic tourist photos, pictures of people rubbing elbows with the stars and performances since those could have been taken at any venue and on any stage.

What we wanted to show our readers is what the Tejano cruises are really about and all the fun that was had by 934 people who came from 22 states plus some that came from Iran and Afghanistan. This validates why it is worth signing up for Tejano Cruise IV, which will be a seven-day cruise with stops in Cozumel, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica.

Onboard the ship, their photographers were selling ‘one’ 8X10 print for $19.95. With this in mind, we are offering a two-CD ROM set of the best 500 high-resolution digital photographs for a mere fifty dollars. To order, e-mail me at

Valentine’s Day Present Turns Into Business Venture

Next weekend, Jacob Domínquez will give away a pair of Oceanview cabin tickets to Tejano Cruise III every night during the Tejano Music Fan Fair.

All anyone has to do is to register at the Tejano Cruise booth.

The innovative travel agent has generated so much hoopla that on Friday, March 18, he will be interviewed by Shaun Stevens during his live morning Fox TV-27 weather broadcast from Market Square – and this is what started it all.

In January 2010, Domínquez decided to take his wife, Marta, on a cruise as an advanced Valentine Day’s present.

“We went to Mexico, but there was no Mexican music and no Tejano music,” Domínquez said during an interview at his southwest San Antonio home.

This void gave Domínquez a brainchild. “What if I could put a Tejano cruise together for 50 of my friends and family?” he asked himself.

Domínquez, who was lead vocalist for Los Jovenes from 1990 to 1991 and later did second voice for Eddie Gonzales, then asked Gonzales if he would do a cruise and he quickly agreed.

“Next I invested $2.95 to start a Web site called and it was intended to be for friends and family only,” the young entrepreneur continued.

However, within an hour, this personal Web site, which listed his personal home telephone number, popped up for anyone that went to Google and typed in ‘Tejano.’ The result is that he was bombarded by telephone calls from Arizona to Michigan and Wisconsin, just to name a few states.

Capitalizing on the national interest for a Tejano music cruise, Domínquez started calling on his peers and got commitments from six other bands to participate in a cruise.

“Once it was set up for 2011, we started by word of mouth. Then we invested $300 for 10,000 postcards which we distributed from Market Square to the Rivercenter Mall,” the 36-year-old travel agency owner said.

“Once the word was disseminated on the World Wide Web, the next day, we received calls from the Tri-State area of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan plus other Tejano music deprived states and in fifteen days, 1,100 people signed up for this cruise when I had initially planned for 50 friends to join us,” Domínquez said in amazement.

At first, cruise ship line officials asked “What is Tay-jah-no?” But when they saw the market potential, they quickly came to know and respect Tejano music because it turned out to be their fastest selling group in twenty-five years. In layman talk, it was their money maker.

The result is that they had to break up the Tejano music fans into two cruises of 550 each. The first one, from January 22-27, featured Desperadoz, David Lee Garza y Los Musicales and the Tex Maniacs. The second one, from January 27 to 31, featured the Da Krazy Pimpz, Jaimé y Los Chamacos and Jay Pérez.

For Tejano music fans from faraway places such as Idaho, Oregon, Washington and 29 other states, it was as though they had died and gone to heaven since there was something for everybody.

“Everybody was so hungry for Tejano music that they were dancing during the sound checks and others showed up two hours before the dance,” Domínquez said.

At sea, in addition to the concerts, Domínquez made it a point to sit Jay Pérez, David Lee Garza and other artists among their fans in regular tables where everyone dined on lobster tail and an all-you-can-eat buffet. There were also formal dinners, 24-hour room service and a shipboard casino.

Another highlight of the cruise was a humongous beach party at a private beach upon their arrival in Cozumel where fans got up close and personal with all the artists and all the performers were available to autograph their purchased souvenir tee shirts.

Meanwhile all alcohol was free as unlimited quantities of tequila, beer, margaritas, other mixed drinks and straight liquor flowed freely for all to enjoy.

“Some people took a well-deserved advantage of the ‘all you can drink’ booze and all these bands had never done this before, but they’re ready to go and do it again,” the Tejano cruise founder said with a smile.

That’s how this business venture got started. For more information check out and a more detailed article on the actual cruise will soon follow.

PHOTO by Briana Domínquez