Posts in Latino
Such a Lovely… Suicide Note?!

0-E0FxOlfyvhuWN8f9In my (insert astronomical number) listen to Mercedes Sosa’s cover of ‘Gracias A La Vida,’ I decided to see exactly who created this masterpiece of a song. It’s the creation of Chilean great Violeta Parra whom was a base for the reinvention of folk music in Chile, which then the reach of her ‘Chile’s New Song’ (Nueva Canción Chilena) spread to the world over. Further reading into Violeta’s history filled with culture, music and political meaning, she ended up committing suicide (after a previously failed attempt) due to episodes of loneliness, political differences in her country and mostly the separation from her husband Gilbert Favre. Before that happened she made two songs that will forever resonate with her tragic end, both were ‘Run Run Se Fue pal Norte’ where she speaks on her husband leaving and ‘Gracias A La Vida’ a celebration of life and/or suicide note. They say ‘Gracias A La Vida’ might have been her last thank you note to life before committing suicide and celebrating what it has given her but at the same time a mirrored twist to what pain she felt and how the new part of her life was playing out. At first listen you think “wow what poetry and beautiful lyrics,” but insert a little real life and it can take a totally different meaning. I still think this song is one of the best life celebratory lyrics given ever regardless of what it might truly be about, thank you Violeta Parra for giving us such beauty amongst the pain.

“Cuando miro el fruto del cerebro humano, Cuando miro al bueno tan lejos del malo.”

Originally posted on Medium.

Revisit: Fania All Stars in Africa

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2-ZmO13_dI[/youtube] Nothing says good morning on a Saturday like watching the Fania All Star greats perform but since we either can't see them or some artists physically can't perform this might be the next best thing. This was on 1974 in the Statu Hai stadium at Kinsasha, Zaire, it was also filmed and released as “Fania All Stars Live in Africa.” Amazing times for music.

For more information on Fania All Stars visit Fania's site or if interested in purchasing the dvd visit their shop.

You've Come A Long Way Bachata

Que Fria! By Randy OrtizFrom the dusty floors of the local Dominican dive to sold out seats in Madison Square Garden, Bachata has seen it's fair share of criticism and huge success throughout its history. I remember the big Bachata boom and when I first started liking it (early 90's) where it welcomed acts like Antony Santos and Luis Vargas amongst others, also the overall opinion folks had in DR years ago told by my father. He used the term "música de barra" which translates to bar music, according to him you would only hear that in places where the alcohol runs as loose as the women did. Not necessarily family friendly or a place that people spoke highly of, it was embraced by campesinos and mostly ignored by middle-class or those with money. In recent years it has skyrocketed into something that goes beyond being enjoyed only by Dominicans or Latino people.

Bachata songs are mostly about heartbreak or love and some have incorporated more modern-day electronic instruments into its bitter-sweet sound as well, to best compare the type of lyric or basis you can say it's our version of country music or Blues. From its beginnings and ties to the bars it was perfect to go along with your visit to heartbreak city, it was also looked down upon in society due to its nature and sound. It went under the same bashing/scrutiny Rock, Punk and Hip-Hop went thru and some people from older generations still won't think of it as good music. When you first listen to a Bachata song the first thing that you'll notice is the high-pitched guitar play and bass which dictate the dancing rhythm (step 1, 2, 3 front, step 1, 2, 3 back) and swaying of the dance floor. By the time the 90's came around it already went thru certain transitions, from bar music to double entendre (Luis Segura comes to mind) to highly requested party music and now stadium acts.

It's gone from Ramon Cordero being the faint backdrop sounds of a heartbroken man looking down at a bottle to Romeo Santos selling out MSG and the concert being played on HBO, quite a gigantic feat for a genre from a small tropical country. Now you see people from all sorts of backgrounds AND countries enjoying what many of us have been for quite some time, no longer is its home a place of sadness and despair. I'm sure the roots were firmly placed in releasing the pain from within but now it's all sorts of emotions and stories, it can be highly infectious and loved once heard.

It shows the power of music and natural progression of society embracing something which was unnecessarily frowned upon and that my friends is a beautiful thing.

What's Going On Dominican Republic?!

Image courtesy of WGMeetsToday is a bit saddening... I've been reading a good deal of DR news and media issues going around recently, unfortunately it seems that Dominican Republic is in need of some major society help and restructuring now more than ever. It doesn't help that there's a poverty issue as well, the youth concentrate on materialistic ideals and certain media personalities are acting a fool publicly. Couple these issues in with lack of knowledge in certain instances and you can have a major problem with delinquency, energy spent on the wrong things and shameful portrayals in the media. It truly makes me sad to see this unfolding because it's a beautiful country and I know my Dominicans are better than this. We tend to be a bit loud and usually ready to party but in the end you will find people who are kind, honest, family oriented and always willing to help someone. Certain family ideals are being tossed out the window because money is at dire need, dishonest (muggings, robbery, drugs) work is rampant at an alarming rate from what I keep seeing/reading... but where do you go and make things better? More and more kids are hitting the streets with horrible (if any) schooling and bad intentions, I think it might be wise to concentrate on getting thru to them before we try the adults. Corruption in government isn't new especially in the Dominican Republic but with strong young voices in positive action, I think things can start to turn around for the better and much of the crime can turn towards a productive future which can disseminate throughout the country. Yes the adults are the ones in positions to dictate but the youth can truly make a change as it seems they are in control of society right now, the problem is that the older folk (set in their ways) just wrap it up with "damn kids messing everything up" but don't help or see why they do it. I am vowing to do my part to help with what I can from the US to the country I love so much and care about, I will be looking up resources to get something started over there for a brighter day for kids as they are the ones that will govern in the future.

If anyone has any information that would prove beneficial to this cause, please email us with it and hopefully less misguided youths stay in the streets. If you are an organization or group interested in collaborating feel free to inform us about your company or movement.