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Emilio Is Back!

Emilio Navaira, simply known as Emilio in the country and western market, is back.

The soon-to-be 48-year-old popular musician made his first appearance in front of a Tejano crowd of almost 3,000 during the 30th Tejano Music Awards. His birthday is August 23.

It was hard keeping the surprise under one’s hat, but as they say in the U.S. Navy, “loose lips sink ships.”

Emilio, his wife Maru; his sons Emilio III and Diego plus his little brother Raulito arrived accompanied by Orlando Salazar at approximately 7:15 p.m. However, after taking a quick peek at the backstage area, they went back outside to smoke a last cigarette before entering the non-smoking facility. There, they were joined by yours truly and Ramiro “Ram” Herrera.

That was a reunion of sorts since Emilio replaced Ram when “the most wanted man” quit David Lee Garza y Los Musicales. Nine albums later, Emilio also quit to go solo and enlisted Joe Rios Sr. a.k.a. “The Tom Parker of Tejano Music” to guide him into becoming a household name – that’s where this writer came in since I was the publicist for CJ Talent and helped Rios come up with an image and gimmicks to set each artist apart and stand above the rest. That was back in late 1988.

However, that’s history. Getting back to the present, by the time Emilio came back inside the word was out among the female artists and he was quickly surrounded by Stefani Montiel, Elida Reyna and Shelly Lares for a quick photo opportunity before entering his own dressing room. There Emilio held court with Pete Astudillo, Joe Sánchez of Los Dinos and Chente Barrera.

Out front, Paul Rodríguez was being his normal silly self and the audience was eating it up. Danny Trejo sat in a front row table directly across the aisle from Abraham Quintanilla family and Ram was sitting to his right.

On stage, a musical tribute to Latin Breed took place at the beginning of the show when Adalberto Gallegos, Jay Pérez, Roger Velásquez and Pee Wee sang a melody of Breed tunes. Gibby Escobedo, saxophone; Alex Hernández, alto saxophone; Frank Pérez, trumpet; and Donald Garza, trumpet; all former Breed musicians were part of the Tejano Music Awards Band. Out on the floor, George Cantú, trumpet; Pete Garza, bass; and Catarino Estrada, roadie; also former Breed members sat and watched until they were introduced and stood up to be acknowledged with the sound of thunderous applause.

During the show, the Tejano Music Awards Orchestra also backed up Ram on “Amor Querido.” Ram got the “1980s Awards.” They also backed up Raulito, his son Rodrigo and his daughter Destiny on “Bajo De Tu Sombra.” That was the lead in to the biggest surprise of the evening – Emilio stepped on stage and the crowd went wild. The brothers hugged as though they had not seen each other since the March 23, 2008 accident, then Emilio sang during the bridge of “Cómo Le Hare.” Their energy level was at a peak and it was contagious as the audience stood up to give them a standing ovation as Emilio did his shuffle and Raulito did his pasito.

In what seemed like seconds, it was all over.

“I love them,” Emilio exclaimed of his fans as he walked off into the wings. “It was great.”

“It was something special, something historic,” Raulito said. “I felt as though we were back in 1995.”

If any of our readers missed seeing Emilio, although it’s a bit strenuous, he, Los Musicales de David Lee Garza, Intocable, Jimmy González y Grupo Mazz, Los Desperadoz, La Tropa F and Jaime y Los Chamacos, Los Aguilares, A.C.T.S. Band and Grupo Visión will be performing at the United Music Festival this Sunday, July 18th at the Poteet Festival Grounds. Admission for this star-studded event to benefit the late Margie Montemayor is a mere $10 donation.