Local musician to join Grammy nominated group

A local musician is about to join forces with a nationally-recognized Tejano group.Chapo Cerda of Sweetwater will make his debut with Grupo Vida, a three-time Grammy award nominee, on Saturday, April 14, 2012 at the Salsa Fest in Three Rivers, Texas.Grupo Vida, also known as the Electric Cowboys, have toured with some well-known country acts like the Dixie Chicks, Willie Nelson, and Jo Dee Messina and Kevin Fowler. On the Tejano circuit, they have shared the stage with Little Joe, Texas Latino, and Emilio and Raulito Navaira.Based out of San Antonio, Cerda will be joining the thirteen-year old band as their accordion player. However, he is the second Sweetwater native in the group, as keyboard player/vocalist Michael Molini is also from the area.Other Grupo Vida members include Art Tigerina on lead vocals/saxophone, Jason Martinez playing the lead electric and acoustic guitar and assisting with vocals and keyboard, drummer/percussionist Tim Villanueva and Roger Vasquez on the bass and vocals.Cerda is no stranger to the world of music. He has been playing since the age of six and along with Steve Lujan founded "Thoze Guys Crunkjunto", a band which produces a combined sound of Texas country and conjunto music. He counts the group as one of his many musical influences, along with Jonny Martinez y Grupo Bravo, Grupo Conquista and local Tejano singer Anjelique. His music is also shaped by a number of genres--Tejano, jazz, R&B, rock and country.Cerda noted that the decision to join Grupo Vida was an easy one and he hopes that his presence will help as the band is trying to go mainstream. "I've always wanted to make a living playing music," he stated. "Opportunity came knocking, so I answered."Off the stage, Cerda involves himself in a number of community programs, like a reading program at JP Cowen through Ludlum Measurements. He also coaches Pee-Wee football and Little League baseball, and in his spare time he plays basketball, softball, football and golf.But he understands that this new chapter in his music career wouldn't be possible without a strong support base. He thanks God, his family and friends and his girlfriend for believing in his dream, along with others."Big thanks to my band T.G.C. [Thoze Guys Crunkjunto] and Joe Man, Davie and Lil Loc...I love you all."So when April 14 rolls around, Cerda's dream will take off with the intent of doing his best each time he takes the stage while making an impact on concert-goers--to leave them "with a smile and their lives changed."