Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lencho Presente! The Concert of a Lifetime

This past Saturday Newmanistas experienced the concert of a lifetime. For nearly two and a half hours Ceiba performed their magical folk tunes from South and Central America. Nearly a hundred people enjoyed this very special event. Newman Park Neighborhood Association Vice-President, Becky Friesenhahn, reported that there were even people who came to Newman Park from the Lower Valley and the West Side, thanks to Newspaper Tree.

This is the fourth time that I have heard Ceiba and this was the best performance that I have heard yet. They played their hearts out. They played their hearts out because late on Wednesday night June 10, band founder Lorenzo Guel passed away after a long fight against cancer. Throughout the concert, his wife, Jena Camp, told the audience stories of Lorenzo's (Lencho's) last days at home, surrounded by his family.

One of the more touching stories was about Lencho's request one night when the band was singing to him. He asked them to turn away and sing not to him on his bed but to those standing outside the window, to people unseen by his family, but ones nevertheless who were there to be with him and to listen. In spite of having a very dry throat, Lorenzo sang in a strong voice about soledad—his conditionand spontaneously composed many verses.

Jena told the audience that Ceiba is now in the midst of a transition. They were joined that magical evening by a percussionist from Uruguay and a strings player from the State of Sonora in Mexico. Ceiba already plans to take part in the opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. this Thursday, June 18, at the Centennial Museum at UTEP for the opening of the show, Los Desaparecidos - The Disappeared.

Lencho was a talented muralist as well as a musician. His work decorates Mercado Mayapan on Texas Avenue in south El Paso. This Friday evening, June 19, the Mayapan will have a memorial for Lencho at 6 p.m.

When the Newman Park concert was over, Jenna called out, "Lencho presente!" (Lencho is here!) She and the other members of Ceiba had just performed the concert of a lifetime—a concert and tribute to Lorenzo Guel, father, husband, friend.

Entry written by Lee Byrd and Jim Tolbert


Anonymous said...

I'm touched by this story. Lencho and I admired each other. Our love for music and people brought us togther on many stages to support many causes over the years. I'm sad, yet better knowing Lencho and the love he shared with all of us

Mark Alvarado

Aurolyn Luykx said...

I hope everyone will take the opportunity to go see the exhibition of Lencho's paintings at Mercado Mayapan (2101 Myrtle) during the next few weeks. He never got the recognition he deserved as one of El Paso's most talented painters -- maybe because he never did the gallery route, simply painting in the service of his community and his ideals. Te extra├▒amos Lencho...

Anonymous said...

Lorenzo, dear brother, now I know what is life: it is unfair. Why a beautiful person like you had to go? This is your sister Guadalupe. I just can't get used to living without you, though we did not see each other frequently. I know that you would be very upset if you saw me crying for you, because of health condition. Seeing you dying from cancer, was like watching a son drowning and not knowing how to swim. We went through a nightmare but now it's over, and I want assure you that even though I have a failing heart, it will work incredibly well to love you forever. The fact that you left your artistic works comforts me.

Hasta siempre