By April Bourie

Mexican vibes coming through his grandmother’s radio were Ted Ramirez’s first musical influence, and the sounds were fascinating to him. Also during his youth, he was taught to value his family history through his parents’ stories of his first ancestor who arrived in Tubac in 1752. “His job was to serve as an interpreter between the Spanish, the Tohono O’Odham living in the area and the church,” explained Ramirez. “This experience gave my ancestor great respect for the indigenous people living in our area, and that respect was passed down through the generations of my family.”

These experiences are reflected in the music he performs today, which he calls Southwestern Folk Music. It’s a combination of Mexican, Waila, classical guitar, gypsy, folk, and ethnic sounds that often tells stories of Hispanic and indigenous cultures. He attempts to cross cultural barriers in his original songs by focusing on the feelings that the people featured in his songs feel. “It’s very easy for people to get defensive about the negative truth in history, but if I can get them to relate to the characters’ feelings, then it becomes a human situation, and the listener feels they are more a part of the story,” said Ramirez.

Those interested in hearing Ramirez’s Southwestern Folk Music will have an opportunity in June when he performs along with guitarists Ismael Barajas and Domingo DeGrazia at the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum.

Ramirez has been friends with Barajas for many years. “Ismael is a very powerful musician,” said Ramirez. “He is one of the best classical and Flamenco guitarists in the world in my opinion. When he started to play as a child, people got excited about his abilities, and the local community got together to figure out ways to get him the most experience they could. This led to him being admitted to the University of Arizona to study music while he was still in high school.”

DeGrazia is the youngest son of artist Ted DeGrazia, who built the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun. He has been performing classical and Flamenco guitar as well as songwriting for 30 years. He is also a Representative in the Arizona House of Representatives from Legislative District 10 in addition to being an attorney in juvenile law and a licensed pilot. Ramirez invited Domingo to perform in one of his concert series a few years back, and they have played together several times since then.

Performing at the Presidio Museum holds a special appeal to Ramirez. “The cultural and historical connections at the Presidio Museum are a great backdrop for this concert, as it reflects those same themes found in our music.”

The concert is part of the Presidio Museum’s Troubadour Concert Series and will be held on June 12. The museum is located at 196 N. Court Ave. in downtown Tucson. The doors open at 7 pm and the concert begins at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $25 per person and can be purchased online at

April Bourie has been in marketing and writing for over 20 years. Her background is in tourism marketing, and she is the owner of Montage Marketing, through which she promotes the Presidio Museum, locations and activities in Tubac, Arizona, and writes for several magazines and tourism educational programs.

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