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Regional sounds: Carlos Medina Conjunto to perform as part of virtual concert series

The Carlos Medina Conjunto, from left, Armando Fernandez, Carlos Medina and Ryan Cordova, will perform a virtual concert on Friday, May 22. (Courtesy of Carlos Medina)

Carlos Medina wears a variety of hats as a performer.

His daily comedy show, “The Norte Saying of the Day,” pokes fun at the culture, traditions and dialect of northern New Mexico, while his original compositions showcase the area’s musical influences. Audiences can get a taste of Medina’s talents at 7 p.m. Friday, May 22. The Carlos Medina Conjunto will perform a virtual concert as part of “Our Fair New Mexico – A Virtual Concert Series” presented by the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with state museums, historic sites and cultural institutions.

“There’s always comedy in everything I do, because a lot of the songs I do have a backstory, and I like to share those with people,” Medina said. “So I suspect I’ll be doing those backstories as we move along. But this particular concert is specifically music. Although there will be some comments and funny stories behind the music, the main emphasis is music.”

Medina’s music is influenced by artists he listened to growing up, including New Mexico musicians Darren Cordova and Al Hurricane, norteño favorites Ramon Ayala and Los Tigres del Norte and mariachi icon Vicente Fernandez.

“My music is unique in that I write and compose most of it,” Medina said. “I consider it regional Mexican music, and I perform in different styles, including mariachi, trio and conjunto. And the group I will be performing with (for the virtual concert) is kind of a hybrid of a trio and a norteño conjunto group. Sometimes it’s a hybrid of a trio and a mariachi in that we use mariachi instruments, but this particular concert we’re using instruments that are specific to conjunto music.”

The Carlos Medina Conjunto features Armando Fernandez on bass, Medina on vocals and accordion, and Ryan Cordova on bajo sexto, a 12-string guitar commonly used in norteño music.

Medina recently released an album in the style of mariachi called “Carlos Medina: El Cantador.” It features six original songs and four traditional covers. The album was produced by Meow Wolf, where Medina was an employee before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I will say that Meow Wolf always supported and continues to support me,” Medina said. “My album and CD are still available at carlos.mw, and I still continue to have a working relationship with Meow Wolf, just not as an employee. I was the concept director, which basically means I developed my brand, my comedy and my music brand. It’s comedy based on growing up in northern New Mexico. It pokes fun at our customs and traditions and our version of Spanish as it mixes with English.”

“The Norte Saying of the Day” can be found on YouTube and on Medina’s Facebook page, facebook.com/CarlosMedinaComedy.

“It has become quite popular with people throughout the world and all over the place,” Medina said. “People who at one point were from here or still have roots in northern New Mexico, so they understand where I’m coming from and feel very fortunate to stumble on my comedy because it reminds them of home, wherever they may be now. It does contain some social commentary, political views, and sometimes I can push the envelope and it creates some interesting reactions. For the most part, I try to keep it very focused on tradition.”

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