ATAM 2008: Posada, Baca, Solis among early winners

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Coming up: 

Weekender: salsa, Tex-Mex and church fests

Update: 7:41 p.m.

Special Photo Essay: 

David Lee Garza, Ramiro Herrera, and Joe Posada were among the familiar faces and top winners at the 2008 Academy of Tejano Artists & Musicians Awards held Thursday at Villita Assembly Hall.

Academy TejanoAwards11x17POSTER-1.jpg

One of the early awards was a special "Special Accordion Tribute" that was presented to accordion legend Steve 'Esteban' Jordan who has been quite ill recently.

Best bass player award went to the late Roy "Pia" Ramos and Steve Roth. Austin's Ruben Ramos accepted the award on behalf of "my little brother, que en paz descanse.

"It gives me great pleasure and it is a great honor to accept this award on his behalf," Ruben Ramos said.

Best drummer honors went to Richard Solis of the Roger Velasquez & Latin Legends band.

"Thank you all so much, to the board of directors, thank you," Solis said. "This event just keeps getter better and better."

Dozens of Tejano artists dressed in suits and glitzy evening gowns wandered the packed hall which was at about 90 percent capacity.

Performers included Stefani, Joe Posada, Shelly Lares, Eddie Perez, Eddie Gonzalez, all backed up by the all-star  Tejano Academy Band.

The event marked the 5th Academy of Tejano Artists and Musicians awards.

Yet the spirt of celebration was tempered by the shocking news earlier in the day that pioneer songwriter/record promoter Luis Silva passed away Wednesday night in Dallas.

"It was sad to to hear about Luis Silva's passing," said Jesse Degollado, one of the awards presenters during a pause at the podium. "But as others have said before, his music will be with us forever." 

Award officials also showcased a 10-minute audio/video presentation presented by KXTN DJs that featured many of Luis Silva's hits. More details on Silva: Top Tejano songwriter Luis Silva dead of heart attack at 64

Delia Gonzalez, a singer from the '90s group Culturas, was also at the podium to present an award. But before that she talked about her recent kidney transplant, "a transplant that save my life." After she introduced Emma Martinez, the kidney donor, a 10-minute video was screen that explained Gonzalez' journey toward recovery in the kidney transplant program. The entire hall fell silent - you could have heard a pin drop. It was a gut-wrenching, spell-binding moment.

Best keyboard honors went to a very surprised Gabriel Zavala, who's also waiting for treatment after being diagnosed with a brain tumor.

"What an honor. First of all thanks to God. It is an honor I didn't expect this at all," said Zavala. "I truthfully, would like to dedicate this to the keyboard player who inspired since I was a chavalon. His name was Jerry de La Rosa, que en pas descanse. Where would we be without Jerry De La Rosa."

Joe Posada was named best horn player, accepting the award from horn pioneer Gilbert Escobedo.

"What can I say. Give it up for Gilbert Escobedo, I used to listen to these guys in the Latin Breed," said Posada. "Everybody in the category is a winner. Thank you very much for al the nominees." Complete list follows below.

The awards are designed to recognize the most popular artists and musicians as determined by members of the academy. The academy's larger goal is to educate and raise public awareness of the excellence and quality of Tejano music.

Brothers Mike and Lee Villarreal of Los Desperadoz served as masters of ceremonies. Los Desperadoz also won best conjunto and vocal group honors.

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This year's awards were special this year said ATAM Executive Director Chayo Zaldivar, because "this is a milestone celebrating the 5th Annual Tejano Academy Awards."

The Academy of Tejano Artists & Musicians organization was founded in 2004 by several musicians including Donald Garza, David Lee Garza and Stefani.

Like the Grammys, the ATAM is an association of musicians and only musicians, artists, engineers and other music professionals are allowed to join and vote on the awards.

Back in July, the ATAM held their 2008 Fan Fair which featured more than two dozens artists including Grupo Maldad, Ricardo Castillon y La Diferencia, Latin Express, Agnes y Arturo & New Variety Band, Ram Herrera & the Outlaw Band and Los Palominos.

Another touching 10-minute video presentation that included nostalgic images and early hits of the pioneer groups Los Fabulosos Cuatro and Los Unicos, who were presented with the Legacy Awards for their lifetime contributions.

Post-award thoughts:

One positive aspect about Thursday was how far the ATAM awards have come. The scheduling was tight, speeches were relatively short, and the intriguing video presentations added a new dimension.

Further consideration should be given to what some may call a problem - that is the fact that several artists have won the same category for 3-4 years in a row. Not sure how to solve that problem, other than the academy continuing to get more members to spread the wealth around. If not, they run the risk of alienating  the younger generation. Looking at the winners list Thursday, it's easy to see many are pioneers who have been performing for decades. Nothing wrong with that, but we need to keep young bloods coming in.

BTW, where are the best new artist categories?

The need for young talent is more urgent that ever. 

Thursday night, officials kept harping their new term life insurance they worked hard to obtain for members. That's good. But the awards remembered several musicians who died recently and at least three artists are recovering or have recovered from recent illnesses. All this serves only to remind everyone of their mortality, and the larger need to make every moment count.


1. CONJUNTO - Los Desperadoz    
2. GOSPEL- Paulino Bernal       
3. GRUPO - David Lee Garza and Ram Herrera

4. ORCHESTRA - Rubén Ramos
6. VOCALIST - MALE Ram Herrera
7. VOCALIST - FEMALE Stefani Montiel

8. VOCALIST - GROUP Los Desperadoz  


9. ACCORDION: Steve Jordan
10. BAJO SEXTO:  Max Baca
11. BASS: Roy "Pia" Ramos and Steve Roth 
12. DRUMS: Richard Solis
13. GUITAR: Gilbert Velasquez 
14.  KEYS: Gabriel Zavala 
15.  PERCUSSION: Jorge Alejandro
16A. HORN (trumpet): Al Gomez-Trumpet.

16B. HORN (saxophone): Joe Posada

17. BEST SONGWRITER: Art Guillermo


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Thank you so much for the special recognition given to my father.....I wish you would have let him know by contact so that he could have been present to accept it.

I did, however, contact him as soon as I was told (thanks Stefani) and he was extremely honored.

Perhaps we can make an effort to include him in the list of attendees so that he may be there next year among all of his admirers so that he may share how humble and thankful that he feels for such a honored recognition.

If you need my help in any way you are certainly assured that I will be there to assist you with all phases of the show.....

Anita Jordan

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Ramiro Burr published on October 23, 2008 7:41 PM.

Top Tejano songwriter Luis Silva dead of heart attack at 64 was the previous entry in this blog.

Luis Silva Service details released is the next entry in this blog.

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