Hovering around five feet tall, Rose Reyes may be hard to spot in a crowd, but, if it is a significant music function in Austin, she is sure to be there somewhere. As director of the Austin Music Office in the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau, Reyes is responsible for promoting Austin music within the city and to visitors from around the world.
The ACVB recently released the tenth volume of its Austin Music album, which Reyes produced. Each year, her office puts together this compilation to feature some of the best musicians that Austin has to offer, and each year it is a diverse mix of genres.
No matter what, Latin music is always represented on the compilation. This year, it is by singer-songwriter Gina Chavez and Ocote Soul Sounds, who describe their sound as “folktronic funklore.” Latin artists featured on past volumes include David Garza, Brownout!, Tish Hinojosa, Maneja Beto, Haydn Vitera, Vallejo, Del Castillo, Rich Trevino, Mary Welch y Los Curanderos, and Grammy award-winning Grupo Fantasma.
“Grupo Fantasma’s Grammy win this year helps shine the light on the Latin music scene in Austin. Latin artists are such an important part of the overall music scene,” said Reyes, who describes the Latin music scene as eclectic. “The bands run the gamut, from very traditional, mariachi, and romantic trios to electronic, indie, ska and everything in between.”
Rise to royalty
Who would have thought that a short girl from the Texas valley would grow up to become part of the Austin music scene royalty?
Thanks to her upbringing in Edinburg, Texas, Latin music was the “soundtrack of her childhood.” Even today, her favorite music is conjunto.
Promoting the Latin music scene is very important to Reyes, not just because she is Latina, but because it’s always been something in which she has been deeply involved.
Before her position at ACVB, Reyes worked for the statewide non-profit Texas Folklife for twelve years, which she describes as her “formative years.” She produced an annual music series at the Paramount Theater called “Texas Folk Masters” and a ten-city tour of “Canciones y Corridos de la Frontera” in South Texas. Her experiences there helped her build a sense of artistic development.
El futuro de Latin music
Where does Reyes see Latin music going and where does she want it to go?
“I think it’s just going everywhere. I see bands like Amplified Heat and La Guerrilla. It is exciting to see that these bands are thriving, recording, touring. They’re making names for themselves not just in Latin music, but in music, period,” said Reyes.
“It’s fun to see all these young bands incorporate elements of traditional music into what they’re doing. That’s something that makes Austin’s live music scene more dynamic. There are these real solid roots here with conjunto, Tejano, and mariachi music, and those sounds are making it into lots of other inventive music forms.”
Reyes would like to see Austin bands have a platform at conferences like South by Southwest and the Latin Alternative Music Conference. “I want to see more of it,” said Reyes. “That’s what we try to do. That’s why we have these compilations.”