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Michael Ramos: A Sideman Breaks Out

Michael Ramos returns to his Tex-Mex roots, and the accordion, with his new group.
Michael Ramos returns to his Tex-Mex roots, and the accordion, with his new group.

Michael Ramos grew up in a small Texas town, listening to loping cumbia music with his parents and Bad Company with his friends.

For years, he tried to be the ideal sideman. He learned to play synthesizer, percussion and trumpet. He mastered the soundbending techniques of electronica. Before he started a group called Charanga Cakewalk, Ramos recorded with the likes of John Mellencamp, the BoDeans and the Rembrandts.

For the series Musicians in Their Own Words, Ramos describes how the instrument that got him his biggest breaks was also the one that brought him back to his roots: the accordion.

The first CD from Ramos and Charanga Cakewalk is called Loteria de la Cumbia Lounge. The title reflects his desire to create something that's part electronic, part organic and also owes something to the spirit of Mexican bingo.

Musicians in Their Own Words is produced by David Schulman and NPR's Jeffrey Freymann-Weyr.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

David Schulman