By Julie Wiessner
Jan. 21, 2013, is a date Daniel Tafoya of Winslow won’t soon forget, because that’s when he sold one of his songs to a top Tex-Mex singer, Domingo “Mingo” Saldivar.
Saldivar’s new CD will be released by the end of February or the beginning of March with Tafoya’s original song, We’ll Talk About It Some Other Time.
Tafoya plays his own AzMex music, a variation he developed on his own while playing with his father, Willie P. Tafoya, in his Ranchera band.
“It just seems like everything is falling into place now,” noted Tafoya, referring back to January when his son, Nathaniel F. Tafoya, graduated from Lackland Airforce Base on Jan. 17 and 18. He had already made plans to attend the graduation when he was contacted by high school friend Issac Hernandez regarding Ruben Castro, a man Hernandez had met in Texas.
Ruben Castro owns Ruben’s Place, a restaurant and bar in Selma, Texas. Well known singers including Freddie Fender, Rick Travino and Johnny Rodriguez have gone there to relax and feel at home in Castro’s welcoming environment.
Tafoya recalled, “Castro did everything for me, he is an awesome and humble man. He arranged for me to meet not only ‘Mingo’ Saldivar, but also, Max Baca of the Los Tex Maniacs and Mark Weber, who is an accordionist and also plays Conjunto style music (a northern Mexico style of music that includes at least an accordian and a bajo sexto 12-string guitar).”
“I feel very blessed to have been afforded the opportunity to try again with music. I have been writing songs since the ‘70s, and really didn’t know if anything would ever really come of that.”
Tafoya began playing in his father’s band when he was in his late 20s. He did not stay with the band, and became a time keeper/head counter worker at Bechtel Corporation for two and a half years.
His father would, “always be getting after me to come back to the band and play songs with them,” said Tafoya. Willie played for many years at the Winslow’s Standin’ on the Corner Festival until his death in March 2001.
Tafoya belongs to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), his demo is entitled Don Daniel Tafoya or D.D.T, and includes 11 songs he wrote, sang and arranged.
Another highlight of the trip was the reunion of five old friends, all of whom attended Alamo High School in Amarillo, Texas, including Tafoya, “Johnny Hernandez of Littlefield, Texas, Isaac Hernandez of San Antonio, Texas, Mike Martinez of Phoenix and Ben Montiel of Winslow. What made it special to me was that these people all came together during my son, Nathaniel’s graduation. I had not seen them all together at once since my high school days with them.”
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By Julie Wiessner