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Ohio/Michigan-based Grupo Fuego reveals upcoming CD release via web-streaming

By Kevin Milliken, La Prensa Correspondent


Dec. 7, 2014: Yvonne Ramos-Ybarra and her band Grupo Fuego is having a big year and is now topping it off with an upcoming CD of Tejano music via web-streaming.


Ms. Ramos-Ybarra revealed the project during an interview with radio host Bob Olivo Sunday evening on bnetradio.com/tejano, a Houston-based bilingual internet webcast that plays classic Tejano music for a mostly Latino audience.

Grupo Fuego’s lead singer also appeared on tejanofm.com, which played the musical act’s debut single “Baila Conmigo” (“Dance with Me”) off the CD, which is entitled “Nosotros” (“We”). She has two more radio interviews scheduled Wednesday with midwesttejanoradio.com and tejanosbest.com based in Dallas.

Yvonne Ramos-Ybarra

Sunday's interviews were sandwiched around a quiet family celebration at home now that the CD is finished and the band has a complete lineup of musicians. A new guitarist was added earlier this year.


Grupo Fuego has developed a huge regional following over the past few years, capping it with a live performance of original songs and a tribute to Selena during MidWest LatinoFest in downtown Toledo last Labor Day weekend. The group plans a CD release party, although no date is set yet.


Ms. Ramos-Ybarra told the radio station she got her start “unwillingly” when her father recruited her into his band (La Familia) at a young age. She was a classical pianist by training as a young girl.


“All these years later, I thank him so much,” she said with a laugh. “He's always been a huge supporter of the group and it means so much to share this day with him, my mom, and my family. It means so much to us.”


Ms. Ramos-Ybarra retold the story of how she joined Grupo Fuego through a budding romance with her husband Michael, with whom she “had crossed paths” many times over the years. She recalled that he told her the group needed a singer, which she jokingly referred to as “a pickup line.”

But she also explained the group has been influenced by many genres of music, based on the personal tastes of its members.


“We have a heavy metal background, we have a blues background, we have a jazz background,” she said, explaining that she listens to all of those types of music, along with hip hop, country, and just about anything else. “We kind of fused it all together on this project, which I think is wonderful.”


Ms. Ramos-Ybarra stated Selena was a big influence on her when she started singing, crediting her with establishng a “new era” in Tejano music. Other influences included Elida Reyna of Mercedes, Texas (her favorite singer) and Elsa García of Houston, who would let her sing with her anytime she performed in Toledo.

“She [Elsa García] had this confidence and always looked very comfortable on stage-- yet she was so approachable,” said Ms. Ramos-Ybarra. “I would look at her and just admired her a lot. She really paved the way for me, thinking about what kind of artist I wanted to be.”


She called it “a personal goal” of each band member to record a CD and credited “an up-and-coming” producer with a diverse musical background for keeping everyone on track.


“We weren't afraid to go back to the drawing board and I think the CD took a little longer because of that,” said Ms. Ramos-Ybarra. “Now that we see the finished product, as a band, I think we were glad we decided to do that. We had a listening party right after the CD was done and I think it was by track four that I started crying.”


The CD's are being pressed and printed now and should be available shortly, according to Ms. Ramos-Ybarra. The seven-member band mainly hails from the Toledo area, but does include some musicians from Michigan. They've been together for four years.


“We're here to keep Tejano alive in the Midwest,” said husband Mike Ybarra, the band's leader and keyboard player.


Ybarra explained that Grupo Fuego recorded the CD through the independent label Triple Nickel Records. Distribution and sales will be handled both online and in Tejano record stores across the country. The group is targeting a mid-January release date and party at a location to be announced.


Ybarra also described the band's first single as “really upbeat and what the band is about today” while introducing it on Olivo’s radio show. Grupo Fuego plans to tour extensively to promote the new CD throughout 2015. The group hopes to include Texas on its tour.

Copyright © 1989 to 2014 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 12/09/14 20:02:41 -0800.




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