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WEEKEND REVIEWS : Los Bukis Strike Bright Note : Pop

August 07, 1995|ENRIQUE LOPETEGUI | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Mexico's Los Bukis celebrated their 20th anniversary before 60,000 fans on Saturday night at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with a performance that showed why they are the undisputed kings of Spanish-language romantic groups.

The quintet has a unique sound that not only offers standard romantic songs, but also includes electrified compositions ranging anywhere from cumbia to bolero and huapangos .

Los Bukis, whose last album has sold more than 600,000 copies in the United States alone, have a simple format with drums, guitar, bass and keyboards. But the group's leader, Marco Antonio Solis, is one of Mexico's premier songwriters and producers. He's the one responsible for Los Bukis' catchy but elaborate sound--a glorious musical exception in a romantic genre that seems otherwise to be getting worse with time.

Unfortunately, the marathon, nine-hour concert offered little else. Norten~o groups Los Rieleros del Norte and Los Soles del Norte were strong, but provided no surprises, while groups Zeta and Mojado suffered from the same derivative disease of most romantic ensembles.

Only Jose Javier Solis (Marco Antonio's brother, and an ex-Buki himself), legendary Sonora Santanera and Ezequiel Pen~a appeared to try a little harder. The latter, singer for the successful banda Vallarta Show, picked things up midway through the show, despite a hapless rendition of "Rock y banda" ("Rock and banda"), one of his biggest hits.

But the evening's supporting cast wasn't the only disappointing ingredient in Saturday's concert. Early in the show, while introducing up-and-coming female group "Las cucucumbias," an emcee employed "jokes" that reflect the particularly gross rampant sexism in today's Latin entertainment world. Worst of all, the audience seemed to enjoy it.

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