Friday, January 29, 2016

Q&A with Manuel Maldonado of Alto Mando.

Lead vocalist and accordionist Manuel Maldonado of Alto Mando was here in the Rio Grande Valley this past week to talk about his band, his influences, and his new CD.

Eduardo Martinez: How did you first get interested in music?

Manuel Maldonado: I was about 15 years old, I'm originally from Merced, California. Over there, I didn't really listen to Mexican music. But when I came over here, to Texas, I started listening to it more because a lot more people listen to Mexican music over here. I was really inspired by Ramon Ayala and his accordion skills. I asked my dad to buy me an accordion 'cause I really wanted to learn his songs. So that's how I started with the music.

EM: What part of Texas did you move to?

MM: San Antonio, and I still live there.

EM: Other than Ramon Ayala, do you have any other favorite musicians that influenced you?

MM: Since my family is from Nuevo Leon, my favorite bands were like Los Invasores de Nuevo Leon, Los Cadetes (de Linares), Lalo Mora. Those were the main bands that I started liking.

EM: When did you first perform in front of an audience?

MM: Professionally, in front of a live audience, about an year ago. Before that, maybe two years ago, in the backyard, BBQ's, quinceañeras, weddings.

EM: How did Alto Mando come about?

MM: I live in San Antonio, started playing in backyards. Everybody in the city knows each other, and they started saying, "Well these kids play music." And that's how we started to meet other musicians, that were playing in bands. That's how we found our tuba player, and we ended up playing our style, the genre of norteño banda.

EM: What can you tell me about your new CD, Dime Que Si?

MM: It came out in late November, November 20th. It's doing really well, especially with our newest single "Dime Que Si". It's track number three. As well as other songs that we promoted in the last year.

EM: Is this your first time visiting the Valley?

MM: Yes this is our first time here in McAllen.

EM: What are your impressions?

MM: I really like the people here. They are laid back, chill, and they are really nice people. And they are fun. I've been to a lot of radio stations today and it's been fun.

EM: What are some of your longterm plans for Alto Mando?

MM: We are already in the studio recording our second album. We are starting to record it already, but we are still writing more songs to complete the CD. I am writing some songs myself, as well as other band members. We are planning to promote exactly the way we have been doing (the first CD).

EM: Any other update you would like to tell fans?

MM: I would like to give my Facebook page: Alto Mando Oficial. Also on Instagram and Twitter you can find us at: PuroAltoMando.

EM: Great, any last thing you would like to say?

MM: Yes, I want to say thank you for everybody that has believed in us, and that is helping us.

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