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Family band builds audience after move to Chicago

Life changes are scary.

Sometimes they have to be made.

This is the situation Juan Lucero found himself just over two years ago.

The New Mexico native decided to pack up his wife and children – seven to be exact – and move to Chicago.

After spending years performing and building a solid following in New Mexico, Lucero says, it was a scary moment.

“The thought of starting over when we’ve worked to hard to have a following in New Mexico was crazy,” he says. “But we did it.”

Flash forward two years, and Lucero and his family are hitting their stride.

The family is known as Cielito Lindo, and being in a bigger city has provided more opportunities.

The group focuses mainly on mariachi and the traditional music of Mexico. Along with Juan Lucero and his wife, Susy, the band consists of Diego, 15, Miguel, 14, Antonio, 12, Carlos, 11, and Lilia, 8.

The members incorporate the guitar, vihuela, guitarrón and trumpet.

In the past two years, the group has been invited to perform with two Grammy-winning artists and at the National Museum of Mexican Art.

It also performed the national anthem for a Chicago Bulls game.

“I’ve never been much of a sports fan,” he says. “I never would have imagined that when we were packing up to move from Albuquerque that we would be playing in front of 24,000 in the center. And it’s even more when you add in the broadcast on WGN.”

Susy Lucero grew up in the Chicago area and says it’s great to be back and giving her family the opportunity to absorb the melting pot of cultures in the area.

“There’s so much to see and be influenced by,” she says. “What’s great about being back home for me is that my children get to experience the same things that I did growing up. It’s been a big transition, for sure. But the community has embraced us, and it’s getting easier to get gigs.”

Although the family has left the Land of Enchantment, Juan Lucero says there are plenty of opportunities to return home for some gigs. He’s working with the National Hispanic Cultural Center on some dates in 2018.

“One of the goals I have for the family band is to do some traveling with the music,” he says. “It’s so my family can see the world outside of the United States.”

Susy Lucero wants to grow the brand.

“We get approached a lot about education,” she says. “I think having these opportunities to perform are the best.”