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Los Bukis take Spanish-language music to the next level with Las Vegas residency

The Mexican group has begun a series of concerts in the entertainment capital of the world, performing in the same venue that has seen the likes of Lady Gaga and Maroon 5

los bukis en concierto
José Javier Solís and Marco Antonio Solís, during a Los Bukis concert in Las Vegas.Eduardo Cardoza (LOS BUKIS)
Luis Pablo Beauregard

Two golden-dressed groups converged on Friday night in Las Vegas. One was made up of thousands of hockey fans, who came to the stadium to watch the Golden Knights play out the season in the NHL playoffs. Just a few meters away, on the opposite sidewalk, the second group was made up of people wearing shiny gold jackets. The name of the back of the jacket made it clear what had brought them out that night: Los Bukis. This group spoke Spanish.

Los Bukis was one of the most important bands of the Mexican grupero scene that took off in the 1980s. The band catapulted singer Marco Antonio Solís, who is today one of the most successful artists in Latin America. And as of Friday, the group has strengthened its legendary status by becoming the first Latin group to have a Las Vegas residency completely in Spanish. The group will play 15 concerts between May 3 and September 21.

”Tonight we will only play songs by Los Bukis. Out of respect for them, only Bukis songs,” Solís told the audience at the Dolby Live theater, minutes after the concert kicked off with in style with the song Loco por ti (Crazy for You), where the group was revealed behind flying curtains. Every member of the band was dressed in a blue sequin suit and blue dress shirt. They each wore a belt buckle with the name of the band, and a thick gold medallion.

Los Bukis, Las Vegas, Nevada
The Mexican group Los Bukis during a concert in Las Vegas.Eduardo Cardoza (LOS BUKIS)

The singer’s message made it clear that his hits as a solo artist such as Más que tu amigo (More Than Your Friend) and Si no te hubieras ido (If You Hadn’t Left) — the song that Solís wrote in 1984 for the Mexican-American singer Marisela which gained worldwide fame thanks Alfonso Cuarón’s movie Y tu mamá también (And Your Mother Too) — will not be played during Los Bukis’ residency in Las Vegas.

The news didn’t matter to the public, who sang almost every song that the band played in their first concert of the residency. It was a two-hour journey through the varied style of Los Bukis and the characteristic sound of the Guadarrama brothers’ synthesizers. From their first songs, influenced by the Spanish rock groups of the 1960s, to more regional genres, such as tambora and cumbia. In Mi najayita, for example, Solís put down the guitar and switched to percussion

Solís’ announcement that only songs by Los Bukis would be played is also a recognition of the group’s bitter split in 1996, when record label executives chose to separate the charismatic Solis from the group that launched him in the mid-1970s. After the star’s departure, the rest of the band continued playing under the name Los Mismos. Today, the musicians claim to have left their differences behind.

The original Los Bukis reunited in 2021, after the pandemic, for a successful tour of the United States. They performed nine concerts in six stadiums with the tour Una Historia Cantada. They filled the 70,000-capacity SoFi in Los Angeles more than once. In Las Vegas, they also sold out the Allegiant, which hosted the Super Bowl in February. They made close to $50 million, making it the sixth-highest grossing tour in the U.S. that year, according to Pollstar. Los Bukis extended their tour into 2022. And as if that were not enough, Marco Antonio Solís went on a solo international tour in parallel to the Los Bukis tour.

Los Bukis, Las Vegas, Nevada
Marco Antonio Solís during the concert.Eduardo Cardoza (LOS BUKIS)

Despite the success of their U.S. tour, Los Bukis did not sell out their first night of their residency in Las Vegas, where tickets cost between $80 and $900. Several empty seats were seen in the theater, which has capacity for 6,000 people. It mattered little to the audience, many of whom had come in from states such as Texas and Utah. Ramón Juárez, a local, said that that night there was no better place in Las Vegas for a Mexican. Juárez, a 52-year-old originally from Zacatecas, came with his mother, wife and daughter. He broadcast much of the concert live on Facebook and even gave a couple of cousins permission to post videos of the concert on social media, so people would think they had gone with him.

A Los Bukis concert is a somewhat religious experience. Solís — who thought about being a seminarian when he was young — has cultivated his resemblance to Jesus Christ. Every Easter, he makes jokes about the resemblance between the two. On stage, the singer, with his long dark hair, drinks from a silver chalice and between each hit song, he talks about faith to the audience. “God is good, and he proves it to us every day, little brothers,” he said at one point.

Los Bukis are quick to identify their diehard fans, who have been following them for decades. The bassist, Eusebio Cortéz, greeted construction workers at the concert. and at another time, winked at the single mothers in the audience.

In addition to Yo te necesito (I Need You) and Tu cárcel (Your prison), two of the group’s most successful songs, the audience sung at the top of their lungs Morenita, an emotionally stirring song for those who left their country of birth to migrate to the north. “I had to leave / and I could barely resist, walking with my pain,” Solís sung. The song is filled with nostalgia and sounds like the regional anthem of Zacatecas, one of the Mexican communities that has seen the biggest migration to the north.

Los Bukis, Las Vegas, Nevada
Bassist Eusebio Cortéz during the concert.Eduardo Cardoza (LOS BUKIS)

Los Bukis’ first concert in the United States was in Chicago at the dawn of the 1980s. After having made a name for themselves in bars and cafeterias in the Zona Rosa neighborhood of the Mexican capital, they released their second album, Te tuve y te perdí (I Had You and I Lost You) in 1977. They then began to conquer the Mexican public in the north of the country. Forty years later, they are in the entertainment capital of the world, in the same venue that has seen the likes of Lady Gaga, Maroon 5 and Bruno Mars. And they are performing in Spanish.

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