True to its musical roots deep in Colombian history, Cerronato creates music for people who live their lives passionately, treasuring every momentâ€”especially those spent celebrating. Every time they perform, Cerronato strives to recreate the fervid spirit of the Colombian parranda (translated as revel or jam session). Cerronato has taken their music to surprising new places, appearing twice on national television (on a Food Network show on barbecue and the Oxygen Networkâ€™s reality show Real Weddings which featured new guacharaca player Gus Manzurâ€™s Jamaican wedding). Cerronato was invited to return to the Texas Folklife Resources-sponsored Accordion Kings festival in Houston, which featured multiple Texas-based accordion musics. When Cerronato was invited to the Viking Festival in Waco, they donned horned helmets to performâ€”certainly a first for a vallenato group.
In recommending Cerronatoâ€™s performance at a huge, monthly First Thursday celebration, the Austin American Statesman described their music as â€œhot Colombian Tex-Mex.â€ A further accolade for the group was their inclusion in a broad survey of Texas accordion music in Texas Highways magazine. In 2004 Cerronato achieved third place in the â€œLatin Traditionalâ€ category of the Austin Chronicle's annual music poll. The members of Cerronato were featured in the Austin Latino Theater Allianceâ€™s production of La Pastorela, a centuries-old Christmas tradition in Latin American cultures, which attracted large audiences.
The story of how group leader Mike Maddux discovered vallenato is almost as fortuitous as some of the new directions this venerable style is taking in contemporary music. [See background information on the vallenato style.] Shortly after Maddux switched from playing piano to accordion, a friend played for him a recording, featuring vallenato, from a series called â€œAccordions that Shook the World.â€ The music shook Madduxâ€™s world; he was immediately captivated by the â€œraw, energetic qualityâ€ of the vallenato sound. He also â€œliked the smallness of the groups, leaving a lot of room for each of the instruments.â€ This appealed strongly to avid and virtuosic accordionist Maddux, who wanted the accordion sound to be prominent. After years of playing a mix of Latin music in various popular local groups, he realized his dream of concentrating on vallenato, by forming Cerronato.
The style vallenato, which is believed to be over 100 years old, draws its name from Valledupar, the Colombian city that is the center of the area where it originated. The word vallenato can be translated as â€œnative to the valley.â€ In contemplating a name for the group, Mike Maddux looked for a word connected with hills, since Austin is located on the edge of the Central Texas Hill Country, an area renowned for its creative spirit. Echoing the name of the musical style the group plays, the invented name Cerronato means â€œhill bornâ€ or â€œnative to the hills.â€
Describing the experience of playing with Cerronato, Maddux enthuses: â€œItâ€™s the biggest thrill, sort of like sky diving or driving a race car. It has that same kind of excitement that people want to get out of driving fast. You have to be skillful; it demands that you be aware and alert and doing the right thing at the right time. If you succeed, the result is something good. One nice thing is that you donâ€™t actually die if you make a mistake.â€
Check out the artist's website:
1. El Ritmo De La Guacharaca
2. AcompÃ¡Ã±ame A Sufrir
3. El Mejoral
4. Pena Y Dolor
5. Ta' Pilla'o
7. Amor Sensible
8. La MÃºcura
9. No Llores Negra
10. La CaÃ±aguatera
11. Cumbia De Los Locos
12. La Gota FrÃa