The group of musicians were gathered together for band practice on a stormy, rainy Taos evening when they heard a loud crack. They rushed outside to see what had happened. Lightning had struck a cottonwood tree near the house. Looking up, they saw a sky dark with thunderclouds. The band was newly formed, and members were looking for a name to call themselves. After that night, Lluvia Negra (Black Rain) was a natural fit.
Lluvia Negra is an award-winning, Taos-based band that plays country, Spanish, rock, and gospel music. Listen to them Saturday (March 3) from 8-11 p.m. at the Sagebrush Inn, 1508 Paseo del Pueblo Sur. No cover is charged for the show.
All the members of Lluvia Negra are longtime musicians. They are Uvaldo Olonia (lead guitar and vocals), Juan Rivera (drums and vocals), Mike Dominguez (rhythm guitar and vocals), Ricardo Medina (bass guitar and vocals) and Radu Georgescu on violin. Georgescu recently retired as violinist with the Nashville Symphony, a position he has held since 1996.
"We're very lucky to have him," Olonia said.
The other members of the band have known each other and played music together since they were children. Since 2001 they have performed as the St. Francis Choir of the famous Ranchos de Taos church. They have also played gospel music for the Taos Fiestas for close to two decades. This past summer, they performed at the Taos Fiestas for the first time as Lluvia Negra.
The parents of Lluvia Negra's members were also musicians who performed in and around Taos at venues, such as El Gaucho Bar, La Contenta Bar, El TP's (Old Martínez Hall) in Ranchos de Taos and Visarrigas Lounge in El Prado. Lluvia Negra proudly carry on that tradition.
The year 2017 was a big one for Lluvia Negra. The band was selected for Los Quinces Grandes de Nuevo Mexico, considered the most prestigious award in the New Mexico Latin music industry. The awards ceremony took place in Albuquerque in November at Route 66 Casino Hotel Legend's Theater. Lluvia Negra won an award for "Chile Verde Rock," its song about our state's favorite food.
In October 2017, Lluvia Negra released its second CD "Rancheras Sinfonia." The CD was nominated for six awards by the New Mexico Hispano Music Association (NMHMA), including CD of the year.
In addition, one of its songs, "Maria Angel de Cielo" reached No. 1 on KANW-FM 89.1, and stayed there for six weeks.
"I wrote that song," Olonia said. "It's about my mom; she passed away."
Olonia also wrote a song on the same CD, "Flavio's Polka," for his father. The song was nominated for polka of the year by NMHMA.
Drummer Juan Rivera and Uvaldo Olonia are the songwriters for Lluvia Negra. For their most recent CD, Rivera wrote "Café con Leche," which was nominated by the NMHMA for crossover song of the year, and was played on both Spanish and English radio stations. He also wrote, "Nada Mi Falta Con Dios," which was nominated for gospel song of the year.
"I've been selling CDs left and right all over into Texas, Colorado, Arizona and even California," Olonia said.
He has sold close to 6,000 copies of Lluvia Negra's first CD "Locura de Amor," which has the award-winning "Chile Verde Rock" song on it. The band's second CD, "Rancheras Sinfonia" has sold 800 copies since October.
In addition to its Saturday show at the Sagebrush Inn, Lluvia Negra will be playing March 17 for a St. Patrick's Day party at the Eagles Club from 8 p.m. to midnight. They also have a number of private events booked: weddings, graduation and anniversary parties. To book an event, call Olonia at (575) 779-7320.