Cinco de Mayo celebrations and beloved spring festivals such as the Cine Las Americas International Film Festival are typically cultural events I look forward to in May.
Since the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve seen that although the Latino cultural arts scene might look drastically different than what we’re accustomed to, our community’s creative spirit is stronger than ever with artists and musicians launching new ways to keep connected.
Can’t miss livestream by Haydn Vitera
The last live show I attended before music venues shut down was on Feb. 23 at Antone’s. I saw Puerto Rico’s Ileana Cabra, better known as iLe, give an electrifying performance. At the time, I thought the concert would serve as a kickoff to a slew of back-to-back shows I would enjoy at South by Southwest.
Now, like many of you, I’ve turned to watching livestreamed virtual concerts to get my music fix. I’ve noticed the ones I’m most drawn to are the ones where musicians bring you in and not only share their music but pieces of themselves. We’re all in this together, and the more authentic the virtual concert feels, the more I find myself leaning into the music. Without live-audience energy to absorb, I imagine it’s not easy for the musicians to connect so easily.
But some artists, such as Austin rocker Haydn Vitera, make it look effortless. His charisma and authenticity shine through the screen, making his virtual concerts feel like you’re right in the room.
As a trailblazer in Austin’s Latin rock scene and a former member of Asleep at Wheel, Vitera brings distinct and diverse musical offerings to his 90-minute virtual concerts weekly at 6 p.m. Thursday and Sunday. Find Vitera’s virtual tip jar on Venmo (@Haydn-Vitera) and PayPal (Haydn Vitera Band). Music lovers can also check out band merchandise including Vitera masks online at freshbakedtees.com/vitera.
New May music releases
We won’t have Cinco de Mayo festivals this year, but we’ll still get to enjoy new music on that day by Latin acts Tequila Rock Revolution, which is fronted by Vitera, and local veteran party instigators El Tule.
Tequila Rock Revolution, a metal-meets-mariachi outfit, plans to drop its latest single, "Canción Del Mariachi," on May 5. The band infuses the classic song featured in Robert Rodríguez’ 1995 film "Desperado" with its signature mariachi/metal spin. The track, which will be available on Spotify and other digital platforms, features impressive guitar work by Texan rocker Gabriel Guardian and shredding electric violin solos by Cassandra Sotos and Vitera.
Also, get ready for the latest single by El Tule, "Mil Mascaras," inspired by growing up in Monterrey, Mexico, during the 1970s.
"Hot summer Saturdays were spent sitting in the middle seat, next to Dad, in his blue Impala headed to see movies like ’Santo Contra las Momias’ at the Rio 70 theater downtown," the band says. "On special occasions, Sunday evenings were spent cruising to the Coliseo to experience Lucha Libre."
From its lyrics to rhythms, the band pays homage to 1970s pop culture on both sides of the border. Some fans may be surprised, El Tule says, that the group takes a nostalgic funk and Afrobeat detour with this single. "Mil Mascaras," which was recorded at Leche House Studio in Buda with Beto Martinez of Brownout and Money Chicha, will be available on digital platforms May 5.
El Tule’s band merchandise can be found in its online store at eltuleband.com.