Local legends Frank Castro, Lupe Trinidad, and Johnny Flores turned up September 16, 2014 to show the ‘young upstarts’ how Spanish music is supposed to be performed. The Open Mic Night’s are held 5:50 p.m. to 10 p.m. every Tuesday at La Galería de las Américas, 1224 Broadway, Toledo, which is located across from the Quintero Center. The event is open to the public and there is no charge.
“It’s amazing to see how much talent we have in our community,” said María Rodríguez-Winter, the center’s interim executive director.
Monica Carillo, the event’s weekly mistress of ceremonies, said the event is a chance to bring the community together and enjoy the Latino culture and food. Non-Latinos are also welcome to attend and share poetry, stand-up comedy, and perform various styles of music. Storytellers and artists are also welcome to take the stage. Attendees are invited to bring a dish to pass, but food and refreshments are also available.
“Coming out and jamming is a way to distress for me; it’s therapy” said local Toledo musician Jacob Estrada who occasionally attends Open Mic Night and performs by himself and with other musicians. Jacobs also plays full-time with his own group, Los Mariachis Locos, an Ohio/Michigan favorite [They performed at the 2014 MidWest LatinoFest last Aug. 30].
On this night he performed several songs on piano before joining Castro, Trinidad, and Flores for an energetic impromptu jam session where they performed several popular Latin American songs. They also tossed in a couple of well-known English cover songs – Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire and the Tito Puente 1963-penned Oye Como Va, which was made popular by Santana.
The occasion was also a bit of a reunion for Castro and Trinidad who once played together in Castro’s own band, Frank Castro y Los Amigos. The once popular conjunto band, which performed nationally, disbanded decades ago. Flores, an accomplished accordion player, who played in several bands for many years, took the stage for the first time in nearly 40 years.
“It’s just in my roots,” said Flores, explaining his performing. “My dad and uncles all played, and so did I; it’s in the blood.”
Toledo poet Rebecca Wood was also a crowd pleaser; taking the stage to recite poems of unrequited love and tossing in a few humorous poems that had the crowd chuckling.