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Long time coming: Trio Los Andinos will make New Mexico debut after half-century of performing

Puerto Rico-based Trio Los Andinos will make its New Mexico debut with a performance at the National Hispanic Cultural Center on Saturday, May 25. (Courtesy of Ruth Silva)

Good things come to those who wait.

In the case of Puerto Rico’s Trio Los Andinos, after more than 50 years of performing, the trio will make its New Mexico debut on Saturday, May 25, at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

“We’re excited to be there,” says Ramón Arturo Rodríguez Maldonado. “We’ve had a very long career and there are still places that we haven’t performed. It’s amazing.”

Maldonado is known as Machi and is the lead guitarist and vocalist, as well as the musical director of the trio.

Joining him in the trio are his father, Ramoncito Rodríguez Guzmán (El Andino) and brother, Ramoncito Rodríguez Guzmán (Manolo).

The Grammy-nominated trio has been performing around the world since the 1960s.

In 1962, El Andino founded the trio, along with Felín Justiniano and Manny Rivera. Through the years, many distinguished artists have been part of the trio, including Norman Casiano, Nate Rodríguez, Carmen Delia Dipiní and Juan Carlos Rodríguez.

Los Andinos interpret music of Latin American composers such as Rafael Hernández, Juan Gabriel, José Alfredo Jiménez, Pedro Flores, Sylvia Rexach, Julito Rodríguez and Tito Henríquez.

El Trio Los Andinos has shared stages with artists such as Miguelito Alcaide, Tito Rodríguez, Vicentico Valdés, Marc Anthony, Johnny Albino, Tito Lara, Santitos Colón, Sandro de América, Manny Manuel, Andy Montañez, Chucho Avellanet and Mariano Morales.

Joining them at the NHCC performance will be Mariachi Nuevo Sonido and pianist and violinist Mariano Morales.

“We enjoy performing with other musicians,” Maldonado says. “Recently, we performed with the Puerto Rico Philharmonic Orchestra, and it brought another dimension of sound to the music.”

Maldonado says the trio tours as much as it can in the United States, but has slowed over the past few years.

“My father is 80 now, and the number of shows in the States is decreasing,” he says. “My father started the group in the early ’60s, and he’s been working ever since. He doesn’t want to retire, because it’s his life.”

Maldonado says that when it comes to putting together records, the decisions are made by majority rule.

Then he arranges the music and directs the trio in the studio.

“We’re in the process of making the next record,” he says. “We’ve got a lot of big names in Puerto Rico working with us on the album. Hopefully, it will be out later this year.”

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