Los Lobos

Will these wolves survive? Not only have they survived but they have prospered. As this East Los Angeles-based combo approaches its third decade as a group, there could not be a more quintessentially American band. Their mix of rock, doo-wop, bolero, corrida, norteña, ranchera, zydeco, mambo, blues, rockabilly and good old R&B traverses most every popular music boundary of America with an authenticity that can never be questioned. Screaming electric guitars, tear-in-your-beer-drenched accordion and dainty acoustic trills all flow naturally from inside the soul of Los Lobos, bespeaking a love and respect for the very roots of the music. Cover songs by Ritchie Valens, Louis Prima, Fats Domino and the Grateful Dead fit right in alongside the elegant songwriting of David Hidalgo, Cesar Rosas and Louie Perez. The wolf is at times a solitary creature, but when this pack howls, you can’t help but join in.

Los Lobos plays on the Main Stage Friday at 6:30 p.m., at Chene Park in downtown Detroit (at Atwater and Chene, on the Detroit River). The official concert schedule can be found at www.concertofcolors.org.

Be sure to check out the rest of MT's special features in celebration of the Concert of Colors:

  • "Mixing the waters" — An introduction to the Concert of Colors (and some of the artists performing there), where exotic world sounds mingle and flow across boundaries and borders.
  • Amina — Defying categorization, this Tunisian Parisienne’s sensual and tender voice seems at ease floating between the worlds of drum and bass, jungle, Asian and traditional West African beats.
  • Burnt Sugar — Having updating Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew with a multilayered mix of electric, dreamy funk, this ever-evolving jazz-session collective just keeps getting deeper.
  • Cheb Mami — An Algerian native whose return to the desert breaks musical borders. Sting calls him “one of the greatest voices in world music today.”
  • Cibo Matto — Japanese-born master sound chefs who serve up an irresistible stew of funk, hip hop, hardcore, melody and fractured pop.
  • Lágbájá — A colorful, enigmatic post-Fela phenomenon, mixing elements of Afrobeat and drumming with Western pop twists.
  • Lo´ Jo — A French group that brings Europe and Africa together with the sweet strains of a seductive dance ... a musical trance.
  • Poncho Sanchez — This Latin-jazz bandleader extraordinaire keeps the Cal Tjader flame alive with his Afro-Cuban pulsations.

Larry Gabriel is a writer, musician and former Metro Times editor. Send comments to [email protected]