Band tries to keep old style


Martin Chang

Los Inolvidables del Norte, a Norteno music group, demonstrate their playing, the group are, left to right, Luis Campos, bass, Israel Perez, accordion and Andres Rocha, Bajo Quinto.

Martin Chang, Editor in Chief

The local Norteno group Los Inolvidables Del Norte celebrates the tradition and positivity of the Norteno genre.

The group consists of Israel Perez, who plays the accordion; Andres Rocha, who plays the Bajo Quinto; Luis Campos, who plays the bass; and Rafael Centeno, who plays drums.

The group has been playing together for about five months. Perez, who goes to Bakersfield College, has only been playing for five and a half months. When he became interested in playing, he had a discouraging experience asking for help.

“I was in a restaurant one day and asked if he was willing to teach me,” Perez said. “He told me to give up that I would never be a musician. I didn’t. I just kept practicing on my own.”

Then Perez met Arturo Campos, Luis Campos’s father, and he was much more encouraging. Perez considers Arturo Campos a mentor for the group.

“He said that he was a music teacher and that he would be willing to give me classes and go from there and that’s when I really started to mainly focus on the instrument. He saw something in me and took the effort to teach me. To be able to learn in five months he must be a really great teacher.”

His father similarly encourages Luis Campos.

“He had confidence in me. He knew that I could do good and play instruments. Every day we would practice new songs and that’s how I got started.”

For the group, the tradition of Norteno music is important.

“We want to bring back the old music, from the old groups, from the ’60s, which is good music.  You just got to change a little bit of the beat and that’s pretty much it,” Perez said. “Nowadays everyone just changes the tone of the music. They play a lot of minor chords. They talk about killing, how they’re going to execute someone. I don’t think that’s cool teaching kids about murdering and killing.”

Luis Campos said he wants the music to “imply the traditions from back then and keep them going for the future generations.”

Perez has found that the older generation shows an appreciation for the traditions of the music they play.

“When you ask people that are 60 to 65, they like those songs, but you ask the new generation to play them they don’t know them,” said Perez. “That’s what we want to bring it back. We all have that same mentality.”

The group plays at quinceaneras, birthday parties and private parties. At these events they get a good response, especially from the older crowd.

“They go wow, you actually know that song?” said Perez. “You just see that smile on their face and they go ‘wow I have not heard that song in such a long time.’ It motivates us to actually want to learn more older songs.”

Luis Campos finds similar good vibes from the audience.

“The feeling that we get from the people we play for, they show their happiness, that’s a motivation for us to keep playing to learn more from songs from the past,” he said.

The group believes that music is a positive influence in their lives.

“It teaches responsibility, being focused and staying out of trouble,” said Perez. “If you’re not playing a sport or doing something productive you’re going to be out and about and getting into trouble.”

Campos agrees.

“If you look at most teenagers out there in high school all they talk about is partying. They’re getting into bad habits and we don’t want to do that for us. That’s why we chose to play,” Campos said.