"The Last of the Great Trios," Mexican trío romántico Los Tres Reyes (The Three Kings) celebrates a career of more than 50 years with the new album 'Romancing the Past' available March 27 from Smithsonian Folkways, the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian Institution.
The romantic trio's signature sound is characterized by three suave male voices, backed by two or three guitars, singing romance-drenched lyrics in lush, three-part harmony. The style rocketed to pan-Latin popularity in the late 1940s and 1950s, and Trio Los Tres Reyes is the last of the big-name Mexican trios to continue performing with the majority of its original members.
"The trío romántico is synonymous with intimacy" - Lead singer Bebo Cárdenas
'Romancing the Past' is a brand-new recording of Los Tres Reyes classics, such as "Ódiame", and new additions to the repertoire, such as "El Lunar de Maria".
Listen to the playful "El Lunar de Maria (Maria's Mole)" and a re-recording of "Ódiame (Hate Me)," the groups' signature song: http://goo.gl/Y7Gdu
Los Tres Reyes continues to make the trío romántico a mainstay of Mexican acoustic music, cultivating its own distinctive sound. Guitarist Gilberto Puente is credited for the creation of a new style of stunning, technically complex introductions played on the requinto (a small, higher-pitched guitar) with the martillo (hammer) style of plucking the string. An adaptation from flamenco, it is now the standard in this genre. Los Tres Reyes' pan-Latin musical repertoire includes boleros, rancheras, pasillos, Peruvian waltzes, Cuban guarachas, and Venezuelan joropos.
Los Tres Reyes began with the Puente brothers, Gilberto and Raúl, born fraternal twins in 1936 in the Northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas. They formed Trio Los Tres Reyes in 1956 but discontinued in 1966 at the end of the "golden era" of the trio romántico style. After performing on Linda Ronstadt's milestone album Canciones de Mi Padres in 1991, Gilberto and Raúl reformed Trio Los Tres Reyes, and the lead voice role is today held by Cuban vocalist Bebo Cárdenas. The brothers now split their time between San Antonio, Texas (where Cárdenas lives), and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. They continue to tour in the Americas, especially in Mexico and Colombia. In recent years, they performed with the San Antonio Symphony, at the National Folk Festival in Butte, Montana, at the Maine Folklife Festival, and at the Richmond Folk Festival in Virginia.
'Romancing the Past' is the 36th release in the Smithsonian Folkways Tradiciones/Traditions series since 2002. The series, a co-production with the Smithsonian Latino Center, showcases the diverse musical heritage of the 50 million Latinos living in the USA. More information available at folkways.si.edu.
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