Live music, games, piñatas, to be featured at eastern New Mexico celebrations

By Jesse Wolfersberger: Freedom Newspapers

When a band has been together for more than a dozen years, it’s only natural that every once in a while they get sick of each other.

“It’s kind of like being married,” E.J. Rodriguez said. “You have some good days and some bad days.”

Zumbale, a Clovis dance band, has been together in some form for 13 years. The band will play in Clovis Community College’s Cinco de Mayo celebration Saturday at American Legion Post 25.

Rodriguez, a vocalist, said Zumbale performed at the college’s last two Cinco de Mayo celebrations, and both were great experiences.

“Last year’s turnout was awesome,” Rodriguez said. “The food was tasty, and a variety of listeners came out and let their hair down. We feed off the energy of the crowd.”

Patrons of the event can enjoy dancing, pinatas, giveaways, and a dinner donated by area Mexican restaurants.
The headline act is singer Perla Batalla. Batalla, of Los Angeles, also performed in last year’s event.

Batalla toured and sang backup with Leonard Cohen. She has also performed with artists ranging from K.D. Lang, to the Gypsy Kings, to Iggy Pop.

Batalla released a self-titled album in 1993, and has released a second album, “Bird on the Wire/The Songs of Leonard Cohen.”

Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday, celebrating a battle in 1862 when an outnumbered Mexican army defeated the French, setting the stage for Mexico’s independence from France.

Phillip Ulibarri, a guitarist and keyboard player in Zumbale, said the celebration is about more than Mexican heritage. It is a time when people from all backgrounds can come together and have a good time.

“It’s something to bring the people of Clovis together,” Ulibarri said. “And people across America really. I think it’s something we need right now.”

Zumbale has performed all over the region, but as the band members have aged, they have toured less and less.
Ulibarri said they are content to play only Clovis engagements.

“We don’t have to travel,” he said. “It’s nice to be in town.”