Texas Folklife Presents “Una Noche Romantica” with World-Acclaimed Mexican Trio Los Tres Reyes
and Austin Legend Manuel “Cowboy” Donley
and Reception to be held at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural
Center on February 14
PURCHASE TICKETS HERE
- Melodic three-part harmonies, guitar picking delivered with the precision of
a master classical guitarist, and passionate lyrics sung perhaps by the
smoothest voices in the history of romantic Latin American music. This is the essence of Los Tres Reyes—The
Three Kings--masters of the Mexican trío romántico music genre.
Texas Folklife will present Los Tres Reyes in a special Valentine’s Day concert at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center on Thursday, February 14th. Doors open at 7:00 PM for a chocolate, wine and hors d’oeuvres reception; concert begins at 8:00 PM. General admission tickets are $50 and $35 for Texas Folklife members and are available at lostresreyes.brownpapertickets.com.
Gilberto Puente (75,) Raúl Puente (75,) and Bebo Cárdenas (54) make up Los Tres Reyes, which gained international acclaim in the 1950s and ‘60s. They are called “el último de los grandes trios”—the last of the great trios—because they are the only surviving trio from the Golden Age of Mexican cinema and the romantic music that served as its backdrop.
After studying classical guitar in Mexico City, twin brothers Gilberto and Raúl Puente of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, kicked off their musical career accompanying Texas border songbird Chelo Silva. They returned to Mexico City to accompany another female vocalist, Puerto Rican Virginia Lopez, and soon afterward, in 1958, formed their trio with Puerto Rican Hernan Avilés, who was formerly the lead vocalist for the popular Trio Los Panchos. For ten years they performed and toured, earning several gold records for album sales in the process.
Gradual changes in popular music forced them to disband in 1966, but their music was not to be lost forever. Los Tres Reyes regrouped in the early 1990s, with trio veteran Johnny Albino on lead vocals. Over time they were to have several lead vocalists, the most recent is classically trained Cuban vocalist Bebo Cárdenas. Performing with them since 2004, Cárdenas considers his experience with Los Tres Reyes as “catching the last train in trio musical history.” The trio has produced a total of 19 albums to date. The latest was released this year, through the Smithsonian’s Folkways Tradiciones/Traditions, “Los Tres Reyes: Romancing the Past.”
The trio stands out for their mastery of vocals and guitar. Gilberto is considered one of the best requinto players in the world. He has garnered numerous awards and tributes, and luthiers worldwide have copied his requinto design. Vocally, the group has achieved a uniquely blended sound that has come through years of dedicated practice and meticulous attention to pronunciation and execution. Their musical excellence has led them to collaborations with noted Latino artists such as Agustin Lara, Pedro Vargas, Lola Beltrán, Miguel Aceves Mejía, Marco Antonio Muñiz, Selena, Vicky Carr, Linda Ronstadt and Shakira.
The group has experienced a recent resurgence in popularity, and although based in San Antonio, has been keeping an impressive international touring schedule in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe. In the U.S. they are in high demand among Latino music enthusiasts particularly in Miami and Los Angeles. Texas Folklife was proud to present this Texan group in our nation’s capital in September 2012 in concerts at the Library of Congress and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and now is happy to present them in our state’s capital.
A noche romantica in Austin would not be complete without its very own king of bolero, Mexican-American trailblazer and Tejano music legend Manuel “Cowboy” Donley. Spanning a musical career of over 60 years, Donley, now 85 years of age, continues to perform with the passion of his early days in Austin’s 6th Street and East Side. Heavily influenced by trio music in the 1940’s, Donley solidified the orquesta Tejana sound with his band, Las Estrellas, but in classic Austin style – blending Mexican rancheras with big band classics, rock and roll, and blues. His tutoring of many musicians, his sophistication in layering musical arrangements, and his distinguished voice earned him the title of Godfather of the “Brown Sound” when he was inducted into the Tejano Hall of Fame in 1997. Nowadays he’s known as one of the few musicians in town who can belt out boleros such as “Sin Ti” or “El Reloj,” classics which he recorded in his most recent album “The Brown Recluse Sessions: Manuel Cowboy Donley and his Trio Romantic-o.” Mr. Donley is delighted to join the platform with friends and colleagues he admires, Los Tres Reyes, in a one-of-a-kind musical evening in Austin.