of Latino Businesses and Services
La Prensa Stories
a Letter to the Editor
Liga de Las Americas
Another week in
the spotlight for La Familia Ruiz and La Revancha
By Alan Abrams
La Prensa Senior Correspondent
a week it has been for La Revancha, the hot Latin
Folk/Fusion band that can easily be called U2 with a spicy side of
Bowling Green-based band, featuring talented songwriter/vocalist
Leonardo Ruiz, kicked off a spectacular week with a show-stopping
performance at the Diamante Awards at Lourdes College Fri.
Sept. 9. Their appearance, marking the third year in a row the
band has performed at the prestigious awards dinner, also featured
performances by the legendary Jesse Ponce** and a flamenco
show by Liliana Ruiz, Leo’s talented sister.***
Leo Ruiz of La
The next day saw the group at the Black Swamp Arts Festival
in Bowling Green, where they appeared on the Huntington Bank stage
on Saturday afternoon with a another powerful flamenco performance
by Liliana Ruiz. This marked the second year in a row that the
group has appeared at what has become one of the biggest arts
fests in the nation.
La Revancha wasn’t content to bask in their success. The group
played a date at a popular club in Columbus near the Ohio State
campus that night.
Midweek saw the group celebrate Mexican Independence Day on
Thursday with a stellar performance at El Zarape in Bowling
Green. The group played to a full house at the popular Mexican
restaurant. Among those who came out to see and hear the group was
talented sculptor and artist Emanuel Enríquez.
the group was off to play a Saturday evening club date at the
Café Del Mar in New York's West Village. This was the group's
eleventh booking in New York City. The Cafe Del Mar is located on
MacDougal Street at the corner of Bleecker, a spot considered to
be ‘holy turf’ during what musician and author Dave Van Ronk has
termed “The Great Folk Scare of the 60s.” For those who can
still remember, it was there that Bob Dylan first saw God.
During a break
after a set that began with a stunning presentation of the
haunting Tu Voz (Your Voice), Ruiz took a few moments to
talk about the origin of the group. “We started the group in Jan.
2003 in Los Angeles,” recalled Ruiz, “and that June we brought out
an EP titled Locura (Insanity). The CD, with six songs on
it, was released in México City and immediately started receiving
in airplay in México City, Los Angeles, and New York.”
La Revancha released their second CD, El Zarape, in March,
2004. It is named after the BG restaurant which gave the group its
start on their road to fame with their first show in Feb. 2003.
They have played at the popular restaurant many times since (they
played there every week at one point) and now perform at El Zarape
at least once every month.
met the trumpet player and the percussionist all on the same day,”
says Ruiz. I went to El Zarape to hear the mariachi band that was
playing there. I thought maybe I could play with them, but as it
turned out they were from Indianapolis.”
group is comprised of Leonardo Ruiz on vocals and rhythm guitar,
Josh Smith on bass guitar, Mike Dooley and Blane Smead on
electric guitar, Joe Zimmet on trumpet, Kathleen Jara on violin,
and Jason Parritt on drums.
They’ve played at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland for
Latino Heritage Day in Aug. 2004 and at the Bronco Bash at Western
Michigan University in Kalamazoo. They’ve appeared at LatinoFest
and played FifthThird Field among local venues.
Liliana Ruiz performing at the Diamante Awards.
also appeared for events hosted by La Prensa, including a
postgame bash after the Latino Scholarship Day with the Toledo Mud
Hens, co-sponsored by the Spanish American Organization and La
Prensa, and El Grito Ceremonies at SS. Peter and Paul Parish
Revancha has played four shows in Central Park at the Tavern on
the Green stage for the New York Marathon. Last year, they
filmed their video Esta Amor at the site. The group has
also appeared on local and national television.
group’s hectic schedule continues through the fall. On Fri. Sept.
30, they play Seattle’s Coffee House in Wooster, Ohio as part of
the WoosterFest weekend. Then, on Sun. Oct. 2, the group
performs at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester NY for Family
are back in BG on Fri. Oct. 15 for BGSU’s Latinopalooza Fest,
sponsored by the Latino Student Union. Later that evening they
perform at Howard’s Club H.
Sat. Oct. 29, La Revancha performs at the Sofia Quintero Art
and Cultural Center in Toledo for Día de Los Muertos
group returns to New York again for the New York Marathon and a
performance at Columbus Circle on Sun. Nov. 6, after having just
performed there this past weekend.
La Revancha’s Kathleen Jara on violin.
“NYC was great!”
Monday morning on
his return to BG. “We packed the Cafe Del Mar... a semi
outdoor concert as the place has windows wide open to the NYC
streets, and a set up like a concert where we performed Saturday
“They want us back, and we are talking about doing two shows in a
row on Nov. 4 and 5, and then playing Central Park on the morning
of Nov. 6 for the ING NYC Marathon. La Revancha is one of the
official bands for the 2006 NYC Marathon.
ING New York City Marathon is one of the world’s great road races,
drawing more than 85,000 participants. During that day,
families, runners and the community of NYC gather together as a
whole. More than 200,000 people get to be involved across the
City,” says Ruiz.
appeal to a lot of different crowds, the school crowd, the bar
crowd, restaurants,” continued Ruiz, adding that some critics have
termed their sound “Mexican jazz.”
should come as no surprise—Ruiz was born in México City and came
to Los Angeles as a teenager “to look for work.”
was a student at UCLA, and then made the decision to go to Bowling
Green State University. I had the opportunity to attend the
University of Michigan or the University of Toledo, but I’m glad I
chose BGSU and Bowling Green. The people are wonderful and we have
become a community favorite here,” says Ruiz.
Joe Zimmet on trumpet
According to its Web site—www.larevancha.com—La
Revancha is “a blend of rhythms created by an acoustic guitar,
base, and drums, fussed with colored melodies from a violin, a
trumpet and an electric guitar. The result is a Latin folk/fusion
mix” and its “main purpose is to create an experience of inner
spiritual peace and freedom.” [See
** La Prensa
did a review of Jesse Ponce’s CD in is July 20, 2005 issue. See
the review on line at
Liliana Ruiz was born in México City and began to study ballet
when she was six. She has performed with Julio Iglesias in México
City and at the Auditorio Nacional with Placido Domingo performing
the opera Carmen. She moved to the U.S. in 2000 and has performed
in New York on Broadway and in Central Park. She performed in
Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, home of the Philadelphia Orchestra,
with two-time Grammy Award-winning pianist Peter Nero and the
Philly POPs. On line, see