Arts, Culture & Media

Global Hit - Cinco de Mayo

Today is Cinco de Mayo. And there are a couple of things you need to know about the big day. First of all, it's NOT Mexico's Independence Day. That's September 16th. May 5th is actually the anniversary of the day in 1862 when Mexican forces defeated the French in the Battle of Puebla. In many ways, the date has more significance for Mexicans here in the United States than it does for people in Mexico itself. In Las Vegas today, Cinco de Mayo is a good excuse for a music show -- but not the kind featuring mariachis. The World's Marco Werman explains in today's Global Hit.

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As far as Cinco de Mayo goes, Las Vegas has grown up. Tonight, the young latin hipsters won't be whacking a pinata by the pool. They'll be dancing to this. The last time musician Pepe Mogt played a show in Las Vegas -- over a decade ago -- it didn't go so well.

�When we played there there were only three people in the show.�

Pepe Mogt goes by the stage name Fussible. He's from Tijuana. And he's widely credited as the inventor of the style known as nortec: a fusion of norteno dance music from the north of Mexico and techno.

It's electronica meets mariachi.

When Fussible gets the nortec beat rolling tonight in Las Vegas at the Palazzo Casino, he's going to find a receptive -- and larger -- audience than the three people he played for fourteen years ago. And Cinco de Mayo has a lot to do with that.

�We see a continued evolution of the popularity of Cinco de Mayo in Las Vegas.�

That's Terry Jicinsky, the Senior Vice President of Marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

�The hotels do more and more special events, and we're seeing a larger audience of Hispanic visitors not only from Mexico, but also from across the United States coming to Las Vegas to celebrate the holiday.�

�It simply supports this fact -- Las Vegas has become the number one vacation destination for US Hispanics.�

Why that is -- is hard say Terry Jicinsky says Las Vegas has something for everyone. That sounds like a santized version of What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas. The bottom line says Jicinsky is that Las Vegas mirrors the rest of the America.

�As the population shift in America has grown to be a larger percentage of Hispanic residents, we've continued to see increases year after year in our reach to the Hispanic market.�

In other words it's simple marketing. Las Vegas has to provide Hispanics with what they want to see and hear. That where Nortec comes in.

"Mama Loves Nortec" is one of the tunes on the CD that Fussible and his colleague Bostitch will release tomorrow. Tonight's Cinco de Mayo Nortec show in Las Vegas is a release party of sorts for the CD.

Fussible and Bostitch expect to see people of all ages in the room tonight -- not just the usual young suspects. Again, Pepe Mogt of the Nortec Collective.

�We played like a month ago, and there was like 4000 kids, like 14 to 20 at the most. So they were very young and they were very crazy at the event.�

Contrast that with another gig Fussible played recently. He and his partner Bostitch saw a 70 year old man dancing near the side of the stage. They were worried because the man was waving his hands frantically, but he was also moving to the beat. Fussible says he thought the man wanted them to pull the volume down.

But in fact, he wanted it louder.

Tonight in Las Vegas for Cinco de Mayo, Pepe Mogt is prepared to play whatever the mood demands.

For The world, I'm Marco Werman.