Los Palos for me / by Randy Ortiz

[youtube width="600" height="360"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_hdtoOEYWE[/youtube]Being from any culture comes with it's treasures and history especially in music, my family comes from the beautiful Dominican Republic and I would like to share with you some of our Afro-Dominican heritage. The music is called Palo (sticks) and has traces originating from central Africa and found a home in Villa Mella, DR. It's folkloric sound and mesmerizing drums was and is sometimes used in religious ceremonies and special gatherings, some will try to dispel it's content and question what it was used for in a negative manner due to it being used in certain religions. Known for it being a part of the Dominican culture some sum it up to be the music of Santeria or Voudu then in turn commenting that it is used to call upon demons or other ignorant statements. The lyrical content is mostly praise to the saints and or asking for guidance and help along life and or pleasing the gods.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EI1r42djcUA[/youtube] I understand that peoples views on certain religions will never change or make sense to them, but what I do want to point out is that it's part of our culture and shouldn't be attacked or ignored due to indifference of religions or lack of knowledge. I am in no way associated with these religious practices so I am an outsider looking in as well, more for cultural reasons and the love of music. I can still hear and enjoy the beautiful rich history that my people have which were deeply rooted in religion and music. I embrace the sound of Palo, Gaga, Salves, etc. because without it we lose part of our cultural identity especially with the Spaniard and European influence in the Dominican Republic. The sound has also been used now for rhythm reasons in Merengue and HipHop which keeps alive the sound of our past to the new generation which you can see below.

[youtube width="600" height="360"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7HzbZg7zpM[/youtube] [youtube width="600" height="360"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqtMJNAsTMk[/youtube] I hope for the love of culture that we keep these treasures alive and well amongst our youth so they know where they came from and how it has shaped their present history and sound. For those that dismiss their origins is to be one without soul and mind.