By Bill Blankenship


The band fronted by the father-son duo of Phillip "Big Flea" Ramirez and Phillip "Lil Flea" Ramirez Jr. were an instant hit on the penultimate night of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church's five-day fundraiser for Holy Family School. The fiesta ends Saturday with food sales starting at 4 p.m. and activities running to near midnight.

Although the San Antonio, Texas,-based group released its debut CD, "Te Voy A Dar" ("I'll Give"), on the Clearwater Music label just five months ago, the Ramirezes are no strangers to the Tejano / Regional Mexican music world, and it showed in their stage presence and music.

The father-son have sung and played backup in one of San Antonio's popular bands, Artie V. y Grupo Suave, before they were convinced to strike out on their own.

"Te Voy A Dar" was produced and arranged by Max Baca and Oscar Garcia, both of the Grammy Award-winning act Los TexManiacs.

Ray Ortega, chairman of the fiesta's entertainment committee, said he was able to negotiate a contract this year to bring in what he called two headliner-caliber bands and stay in budget.

Headlining Saturday will be Los Hermanos Farias (The Farias Brothers), the lineup of which includes another TexManiacs alumnus, David Farias. He, along with brothers Joe and Juan, were members for decades with the Tejano super group La Tropa F, which played the fiesta in 2004.

Los Hermanos Farias will perform sets from 8:30 to 10 p.m. and 10 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. on the Fiesta Stage, which is on the street a block east of the church.

Loz Fleaz played two sets Friday night, and even during the early one when the heat index was 93 degres, Loz Fleaz had folks dancing in the street to what "Big Flea" called the acts "hardcore conjunto." Conjunto is a style of music born in south Texas after German settlers introduced the button accordion.

Alex Perez played accordion with Loz Fleaz, as well as sang harmony.

"Big Flea" Ramirez, a tattooed hulk of a man and an ex-Marine, proved light on his cowboy boot-covered feet and shaking his jean-clad booty to a cumbia beat. Ortega said when he went to the Ramada Hotel and Convention Center, the fiesta's headquarter hotel, to meet the Ramirezes, he found "Big Flea" working out in the exercise room.

In addition to Tejano music, the band played Norteno, including a track from its CD originally done by the Grammy-winning Los Tigres del Norte.

Loz Fleaz also got its audience involved by staging an impromptu grito Mexicano contest. Gritos are to Mexican music what a good "yeehaw" is to a hoedown, except a grito sounds more like "aaayyeee" with some trills and other embellishments.

Raul Rubio Guevara, of Fredricksburg, Texas; Denise Torrez, of Lamesa, Texas; and Cynthia Rocha, of Topeka, threw down their best gritos for a T-shirt and CD, getting cheers and laughs from the throng. Before Loz Fleaz let them leave the stage, the trio had to join "Big Flea," "Little Flea" and Perez with their backs to the audience and put the junk in their trunk in motion.

Go to for a full entertainment schedule.

Bill Blankenship can be reached at (785) 295-1284 or
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