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Mexican Music Ensemble Los Cenzontles
to Open 2009-10 Artists Series

RELEASED: Sept. 9, 2009

The Mockingbirds
The Mockingbirds

EAU CLAIRE — The 2009-10 season of the Artists Series at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will open Sept. 21 with the Mexican music ensemble Los Cenzontles. The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Fire Room of Davies Center.

Mexican-themed food and beverages will be available for purchase before the event and at intermission. Nachos, taquitos, churros and other items ranging in price from $1.50 to $5 will be sold by Blugold Dining, which will offer food and beverages for purchase at all of this season's Artists Series events.

Los Cenzontles — which means "The Mockingbirds" in the ancient Aztec language of Nahuatl — dig deep into Latino traditions to promote dignity, pride and cultural understanding. The band has pioneered revivals of Mexican roots music in California, bringing traditions to new generations. The group's core members also operate Los Cenzontles Mexican Arts Center, an artist-driven nonprofit organization promoting tradition, creative expression, dignity, pride and cultural understanding. Located in the San Francisco East Bay city of San Pablo, the center has been a leader in cultural arts promotion since 1994, training thousands of community youth and making beautiful music.

The Mockingbirds effortlessly mix electric bass and drums with traditional Mexican instruments — jarana, vihuela, requinto, pandero and quijada (jawbone) — creating a powerful contemporary sound infused with the gutsy soul of Mexico's rural roots music. Fronting the group is the vocal duet of Fabiola Trujillo and Lucina Rodriguez.

"Songs of Wood and Steel," Los Cenzontles' 2008 collaboration with David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, includes original and traditional songs in English and Spanish and features guest performances by Linda Ronstadt, the Estrada Brothers and Mexican roots fiddler Julian Gonzalez. The album was praised as "a flavorful, festive blend of musical worlds (wild applause)" by the San Francisco Chronicle. "The album revives the improvisation and anarchy of authentic Mexican music, presenting it traditionally at one moment then fusing it with rock and blues at another, reflecting the chaos and energy of contemporary Mexican American culture," wrote Vintage Guitar Magazine.

Los Cenzontles' new CD, "American Horizon," features David Hidalgo and Taj Mahal.

Admission is $17 for the public, $15 for those 62 and older and UW System or Chippewa Valley Technical College faculty and staff, and $7 for those 17 and younger and UW System or CVTC students. Student tickets are half-price up until the day of the event; on the day of the event, students must pay the full student ticket price. Tickets are available at the Service Center in Davies Center's east lobby.

Patrons also may charge their tickets to MasterCard or Visa when they order by phone. Call 715-836-3727 or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free 800-949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all telephone charge orders.

Season subscription information also is available at the Service Center. Subscription packages include "the works" package at a 25 percent discount or a build-your-own-season package of six or more tickets to Artists Series and Forum events at a 20 percent discount.

The Artists Series is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the state of Wisconsin. The Artist Series also is funded in part by Visit Eau Claire ... The Unexpected Wisconsin. Wisconsin Public Radio, WHYS Radio and Community Television have contributed generous promotional support. Best Western Trail Lodge Hotel & Suites (715-838-9989) at 3340 Mondovi Road is the exclusive accommodations partner for the Artists Series.

Funded by the students of UW-Eau Claire, the Artists Series is administered by the Activities and Programs office.

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JS/DW

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