Latin Flavor

Family is everything in the Latino culture, whether through a genetic link or simply part of a neighborhood. That “everybody is welcome” vibe is always alive and well in every aspect and it extends to the musical community, too.
A relatively new band, Nuevo Sentido, is proud to be a part of that family of Latino musicians. The band is part of the lineup of concerts with a Latin flavor at the Avi Resort & Casino, which started first with the group, La Ruleta Norteña, followed by Adrian Crush. Nuevo Sentido takes the stage on Sunday, Aug. 18. The last band, Banda Destructora, finishes out the series on Saturday, Sept. 14.
Tickets for Nuevo Sentido start at $10, and the show takes place in the Avi Grand Ballroom. Must be at least 21 years old to attend.
Nuevo Sentido translates to “new sense.” In searching for a name, band members wanted it to reflect their individual musical “tastes,” that created a new sense of music.
“I started this group when I was in high school,” said Morris Valdez, lead singer and guitarist. “I was a senior and I just started with a couple friends and then it just started getting really popular playing with my friends and for my friends.
“We’d be playing at our friend’s parties, and someone else would want us to play for their party. People liked us and from there, things just kept going up.
“We’re all from Vegas, but our parents are all over Mexico,” he added.
“We try to do traditional norteño music with sax, but we also like to put a little rock and a little romantic in there,” Valdez said. “We all like different types of music, so we pretty much try to put that into the traditional norteño music — like a little part of everybody’s type of music that they listen to. We put a little bit of rock, we put a little bit of romantic, a little bit of jazz.
“Right now we have six guys in the group and we want to put in a seventh member,” he said. “I’m the lead singer and I also play guitar, then we have Alejandro Plasecca and he plays the accordion — he’s the second vocalist. Roy Ruiz plays bass, Gio Lopez plays drums, and we have Javi Martinez, who plays the congas, bongos and that type of thing. Then there’s Luis — he’s new. He’s only been in about a month, but he plays the sax. That’s pretty much it.”
In between the covers Nuevo Sentido performs, they slip in some original music.
“It’s about 50-50. We have our written music but we also do covers,” he said.
In a town that offers so much variety, the band finds places to perform on a regular basis.
“Honestly, we play in every place in Vegas that Latino music is available,” he said. “The cool part is that all the bands here get along really good, our type of bands, so like the club owners hire them as well. But they rotate and we don’t fight for the job or say things like, ‘Hey, we’ll charge you less if you hire us.’ It’s not like that. Everybody gets along and everybody tries to help each other out, which is really nice.”
But then young people performing traditional music is very respectful in the Latin culture.
“That’s why, I think, they refer us, because we’re young and we’re really hyped up on energy on stage. We dance, we move around and we put that energy into the music. We just have fun,” Valdez said. “We’ve been together for five years. I’m 24, our youngest member just turned 21 and our oldest member is 26. Most of us are single,” he laughed.
They’ve been performing throughout the Southwest but the coolest thing is performing with groups they respect.
“I think for me, just collaborating with other bands, especially a bunch of bands that motivate you at first, and then you finally meet them, is the best thing. Then it’s like, ‘Oh, my God, I can’t believe I’m actually playing with these guys.’ I remember it’s because of that guy, I started playing music and he’s talking to me right now.
“I think that’s like the best part when I collaborate with them — sometimes we make songs with them, and we film video clips and all that. It’s pretty cool.”
He credits their manager with helping them to maintain their focus on the music.
“Our manager, Saul Valdez, he’s like a big part of our band,” he added. “He has pushed us to realize our full potential, always making us get along, sometimes bands fight all the time — it’s like a marriage — and he’s the one that tries to fix everything. We fix stuff between us. We always try to keep together, everybody has the same goal, so we all remember why are we are there.
“For some people, there are some tough times, like when money’s not good, or someone wants to leave, or this and that, but at the end of the day, we always come back ’cause it’s the thing we love to do. It’s what we love and that’s probably why we’ll stay here for a long time.”


Grand Ballroom at the Avi

Sunday, Aug. 18 (9 p.m.)

See “Showtimes” for ticket info