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Luis Chaluisan
Works at WEPAwebTV
Attended Amherst College
Lives in Bowling Green, Ohio
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Salsa Magazine History Dave Valentin Luis Chaluisan Salsa Magazine Dave Valentin suffered a stroke in March 2012. He has no medical insurance or means of support. We have had a lot of inquiries as to where Financial Aid can be donated for David. On Facebook his Niece, Debbie Valentin has a GoFundMe account. David is still unable to walk or talk. He is progressing slowly but has reached a plateau . With God and Our help, love and support further healing will be accomplished. Please share David's page and Debbie's GoFundMe so we can reach new people .This is David's main communication to and from You His many Fans and fFriends worldwide. Thank you and God bless you for all you do for him! 

Friends of Dave Valentin 
On March 3, 2012, Valentin was hospitalized after suffering a stroke during a performance at the Jazz Kitchen in Indianapolis. On July 01 2014, at Hostos Center in the Bronx, Under the Musical Direction and Recording Musician ~ Pianist Bill O'Connell, with Nelson González as the Assistant Musical Director ~~ PARA TI: A BENEFIT FOR DAVE VALENTIN took place. Many musicians friends of Dave performed pieces they had previously performed together. Performing musicians included Arturo O’Farrill, Valerie Capers, Rubén Rodríguez, Andy González, Papo Vázquez, Eddy Zervigón, Robby Ameen, Bobby Sanabria, Nicky Marrero, Anthony Carrillo, Roland Guerrero, and others. Richie Bonilla stated David "was grateful for the support of the community and his musician friends", and "looked forward to attending the concert at Hostos." David was doing well at that time and had regained speech and the ability to walk, as he showed those in attendance of the very well attended Concert. Sadly, David had a second stroke on March 16/17th of March 2015 which has made a setback in his recovery. We ALL are grateful for the years of strength and beautiful music David shared world wide. He also taught reading, math and music to students as a young teacher himself. He has performed at many charity concerts to help those in need. On Facebook is a group "Friends of Dave Valentin." It was started by the same Irene that shared those first scales. Fifty years later they are still Friends. Please join us there if you would like to post your stories, pictures, memories, and share how David influenced your life and/or musical careers. It is also a way to post a message and show your love and support as he works through the challenges that now faces him in his current recovery.

Dave Valentin (born April 29, 1952, in New York City) is a jazz flutist. Starting at 5 years old Dave learned latin percussion, and was an accomplished pianist before he entered JHS. His interest in flute started in 7th grade at JHS 133. He wanted to meet a girl that played flute. Her name was Irene. He asked her to show him a few scales. In a month, David was playing the flute and his first performance was in the School Spring concert. He performed "The Joker". He went to The High School of Music and Art as a percussion major. Valentin's teacher, Hubert Laws, suggested that he not double on saxophone because of his attractive sound on the flute. He studied at the Bronx Community College. He is of Puerto Rican descent. In 1977, he made his recording debut with Riccardo Marrero's group and he appeared also on a Noel Pointer album. Discovered by Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen, Valentin was the first artist signed to GRP and he has been a popular attraction ever since. Valentin has recorded over 15 albums, combining the influence of pop, R&B, and Brazilian music with Latin and smooth jazz to create a slick and accessible form of crossover jazz. In 2000, he appeared in the documentary film, Calle 54, performing with Tito Puente. He toured with El Negro and MioSotis. Since the mid-2000s, Valentin has been signed to Highnote Records releasing World On A String (2005) and Come Fly With Me (2006). He has done several collaborations with pianist Bill O'Connell and was a nominee for the Latin Grammy Awards of 2006.

Presented by: Irene DeRonda Orq Espada Tony Gonzalez David Goya Gonzalez Douglas H Long Tony Santiago Papo Vazquez William Fluker  Zaccai CurtisWillie Williams  WEPAwebTV - New Edge Theater WEPAwebTV Roughrican Productions Rocker Roller Rican vlog 2014 Recognition Awards Maria Hernandez Federico Chaluisan L.f. Chaluisan Batlle Editors WEPAwebTV - New Edge Theater El Extreme Luis Chaluisan

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Salsa Magazine History Noro Morales Vitamina Mash Up Luis Chaluisan Salsa Magazine
Mashup = Contemporary Salsa Dancers matched to 1959 Music by Noro Morales Puerto Rican Rhumba/Mambo Wunderkind. Born 4 January 1911, Puerta de Tierra, Puerto Rico. Died 14 January 1964, San Juan, Puerto Rico. One of the most popular Latin band leaders of the 1940s and 1950s. Morales grew up in a musical family, which was invited in 1924 to become the court orchestra of the president of Venezuela. Noro took over as conductor after his father died, eventually moving the band back to Puerto Rico. He moved to New York City in 1935 and within two years was leading his own rhumba band. Installed as the house band at the legendary club El Morocco, Morales was at the center of the rise of Latin jazz in the early 1940s. Xavier Cugat took Morales' composition, "Bim, Bam, Bum" and covered it for one of his earliest hits. Many of the great names in Latin music floated through Morales' band during this time: Machito, Tito Rodriguez, Tito Puente, and, later, Anglo musicians such as Doc Severinsen. Morales cut a distinctive figure on stage and off, with his large bald head and black mustache. One friend recalled that, "He was always well-dressed, shows shined, nails polished and reeked of expensive cologne....He loved women. He had to work steadily to pay the alimony his three wives collected." Morales remained a popular and successful act on the New York scene for over 20 years, appearing annually at the Daily News Harvest Moon Ball and working clubs such as the Copacabana and the China Doll. Although he was not averse to catering to popular tastes, Morales usually stayed true to his Latin roots, using a traditional line-up featuring a rhythm section that included bass, bongos, conga, timbales, and claves, with himself on piano. He returned to Puero Rico in 1961 to work at the Hotel la Concha, where he died in 1964 of the effects of chronic diabetes.

Presented by: Luis Chaluisan WEPAwebTV - New Edge Theater WEPAwebTV Roughrican Productions Rocker Roller Rican vlɒɡ 2014 Recognition Awards Maria Hernandez Federico Chaluisan L.f. Chaluisan Batlle Editors WEPAwebTV - New Edge Theater El Extreme Luis Chaluisan

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Salsa Magazine History Latin Rock Luis Chaluisan Salsa Magazine I get to spend a week running around to various Salsa Clubs in 1977 with Arcelio Garcia of Malo (Suavecito) fame. I meet him at The Village Gate where he has a killer band featuring a dynamite young African American Timbalero who just swings the beat in his solos. It comes in handy that I am with Latin NY and everyone at the night club entrances remembers Arcelio and "Suavecito".
Arcelio is an inexhaustible fan of the Salsa scene and is (in his own words) "a Salsa Freak!" Garcia is partiularly in a mood to celebrate given is fully recovered from an attack of yellow jaundice in 1974.
After the success of their first record, Malo toured with some of the biggest rock acts of the day, including Queen. But in 1974, Garcia contracted yellow jaundice and was forced to take a year off from performing. During this period, he moved to New York City, where he studied Salsa music and took a day job as an assembly-line fixer. Malo weathered on, enlisting Little Willie G from Thee Midnighters as a vocalist for one record.
The secret to Malo’s longtime success, says frontman Arcelio Garcia, is that the band is a family.
At one point, some people thought the tune — written by Richard Bean, Pablo Tellez and Abel Zarate — featured “white guys trying to sing Latin,” says Garcia, laughing. He added that Malo’s band members from the Mission district are indeed Hispanic.
But, he admits, “It was an American song with a Spanish name and a Spanish hook.”
Still going strong after four decades and numerous personnel changes, Malo’s current lineup includes lead vocalist Garcia, lead guitarist Jorge Santana, guitarist Gabriel Manzo, bassist Gus Bogios, drummer David George, keyboardist Daniel Cervantes, horn players Brian Beukelman, Pete Rodriguez and Jack Musgrove, and percussionists Gibby Ross and David Chavez.
Garcia says performances are like “one and a half hours of aerobics.”
Malo’s origins go back before 1972. In the mid-1960s, Garcia was in a group called the Malibus, which began to expand its sound with the addition of 17-year-old guitarist Jorge Santana, Carlos’ younger brother.
“People would say, ‘That’s bad,’” says Garcia, describing how they came up with a new moniker to reflect the group’s evolution. “It was just a cool name,” he says.
Garcia fondly remembers playing gigs at places like the Fillmore and Winterland, and the support of the late Bill Graham, a “good friend.”
“He was Jewish, and he loved salsa. He was a salsa freak,” Garcia says.
These days, Malo’s music has found success internationally, particularly in Guam and Japan, and Garcia, who has stuck through “the thick and thin” of the music business, still enjoys, and is thankful for, his ability to play for several generations of fans, people who keep bringing their grandchildren to Malo shows.
“I’ve been blessed,” Garcia says. Each time he appears onstage, he says, “I always look up and think to myself, ‘One more time.’”

Though Latin Rock wasn't a commercial force before Santana broke out of the San Franciscan underground during the late '60s, it had deep roots in the straightahead R&B (a style not especially affected by traditional Latin music) of brown-eyed soul/East L.A. bands like Cannibal & the Headhunters and Thee Midniters. Influenced by the Chicano movement emphasizing culture and heritage, an assortment of California-based bands began incorporating Spanish-language material and the percussion forms of Latin America. Though Santana and War were the only successful bands, great recordings were also made by Malo, Tierra, and El Chicano, as well as bands from New York (Ocho, Mandrill, Eddie Palmieri's Harlem River Drive) and even Peru (Black Sugar).

Malo's 1972 Top 20 hit single, "Suavecito," was written by timbales player Richard Bean, who initially wrote it as a poem for a girl in his high school algebra class. The song has been called "The Chicano National Anthem" and was arranged for Malo by Richard Bean, bassist Pablo Tellez, and Abel Zarate. Tellez and Zarate also received co-author credits on "Suavecito". Guitarist Abel Zarate gave Malo a distinctive two-guitar sound with intricate harmony and dual solos the norm. The band featured full horn and percussion sections in the style of contemporary bands Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago. Some of the best musicians in the Bay Area were featured in Malo, including Forrest Buchtel, Jr., Ron Smith, Paul C Saenz, Luis Gasca, and Tom Harrell in the trumpet section. Malo's music was also hugely popular in Central and South America, especially the songs "Chevere", "Nena", "Pana", "Cafe", and "Oye Mama".
After the release of their first album, many of Malo's original band members left the group in a rift widely popularized in the media. Buchtel went on to play with Blood, Sweat & Tears, Jaco Pastorius and Woody Herman; Harrell became one of the most lyrical trumpet soloists of all-time, working often with saxophonist Phil Woods; Abel Zarate went on to play with Latin-jazz legend Willie Bobo and continues to play Latin/Brazilian Global jazz in San Francisco with his group Zarate Pollace Project. Richard Bean formed the group "Sapo" with his brother Joe and still tours throughout Northern California; Jorge Santana embarked on a solo career and still plays frequently with the current Malo band, which is also still touring, featuring only two of its original members and led by Arcelio Garcia Jr., who took over the band in the late 1970s.
The 1972 "Suavecito" release was sung by Richard Bean with Abel Zarate and Arcelio Garcia on background vocals and Zarate playing the signature guitar riffs. Richard Bean continues to perform the single with Sapo and recently shared his story of writing "Suavecito" on Channel 9.
In 1995, Malo released a new CD entitled Senorita on the GNP Crescendo records label. The title track of the CD was written by new lead singer Martin Cantu, who like previous band members also grew up in San Francisco's Mission District. Martin went on to write "Take My Breath Away" with long-time friend Damon Bartlett and two other songs, "More Than Friends" and "Malo Ya Yellgo," with Arcelio Garcia. Since leaving Malo in 1998, Cantu has played with his new Gospel/Christian band, L-Rey.
A vocal section of "Suavecito" was included in the refrain of Sugar Ray's 1999 hit song, "Every Morning."

Presented by: Luis Chaluisan WEPAwebTV - New Edge Theater WEPAwebTV Roughrican Productions Rocker Roller Rican vlɒɡ 2014 Recognition Awards Maria Hernandez Federico Chaluisan L.f. Chaluisan Batlle Editors WEPAwebTV - New Edge Theater El Extreme Luis Chaluisan

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Salsa Magazine History Celia Cruz Luis Chaluisan Salsa Magazine Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso nació en el barrio de Santos Suárez de La Habana el 21 de octubre de 1925, si bien algunas fuentes señalan su nacimiento cuatro años antes, un dato de difícil comprobación, dada la persistente negativa de la estrella a confesar su edad. Segunda hija de un fogonero de los ferrocarriles, Simón Cruz, y del ama de casa Catalina Alfonso Ramos, Celia Cruz compartió su infancia con sus tres hermanos –Dolores, Gladys y Bárbaro– y numerosos primos, y sus que haceres incluían arrullar con canciones de cuna a los más pequeños; así empezó a cantar. Siendo niña, cantando para un turista consiguió calzar a todos los niños de la casa. Solía observar los bailes y a las orquestas a través de las ventanas de los cafés cantantes, y no veía la hora de saltar al interior. Sin embargo, sólo su madre aprobaba esa afición: su padre quería que fuese maestra de escuela, y no sin pesar intentó satisfacerle y estudiar magisterio, pero pudo más el corazón cuando estaba a punto de terminar la carrera y la abandonó para ingresar en el Conservatorio Nacional de Música.
Mientras tanto, Celia Cruz cantaba y bailaba en las corralas habaneras y participaba en programas radiofónicos para aficionados, como La hora del té o La corte suprema del arte, en los que obtenía primeros premios tales como un pastel o una cadena de plata, hasta que por su interpretación del tango "Nostalgia" recibió en pago 15 dólares en Radio García Serra. Más tarde cantó en las orquestas Gloria Matancera y Sonora Caracas y formó parte del espectáculo Las mulatas de fuego, que recorrió Venezuela y México.
Inicios profesionales: Antes de ingresar en la orquesta Sonora Matancera, Celia Cruz participó en un espectáculo musical y comedia titulado «La corte suprema del arte» donde compartió escena con cantantes destacados de la época como Aurora Linchetti. Poco tiempo después participó en la Radio Cadena Suaritos, junto a una agrupación que interpretaba coros yorubas y ritmos de batá, logrando por esa época su primera grabación junto al cantante Obdulio Morales. Los temas que grabó en ese momento serían incorporados más tarde a una de las primeras compilaciones de su trabajo en formato de Larga Duración. En 1948, Roderico Rodney Neyra fundó el grupo de bailarinas Las Mulatas de Fuego y Celia fue contratada junto a este grupo como cantante, alcanzando un gran éxito. En Venezuela es contratada para grabar sus primeros discos de 78 rpm comerciales por la disquera Comercial Serfaty respaldada por la Orquesta "Leonard Melody".

Presented by: Luis Chaluisan WEPAwebTV - New Edge Theater WEPAwebTV Roughrican Productions Rocker Roller Rican vl?g 2014 Recognition Awards Maria Hernandez Federico Chaluisan L.f. Chaluisan Batlle Editors WEPAwebTV - New Edge Theater El Extreme Luis Chaluisan
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Salsa Magazine History Joe Cuba Sextet Remember Me Luis Chaluisan Salsa Magazine  
Remember Me 
I'm the boy who held you tight
And made your life seem bright
Will you remember me?
Remember me
I'm the one who loved you so
Then had to let you go
Cause you stopped needing me
I know you had to go
And try another
But, darling, let me say this one thing
There'll be no other
Oohh I need you
Even though you've gone away
But you'll need me someday
Remember me
Ohh I need you
Even though you've gone away
But you'll need me someday
Remember me

Gilberto Miguel Calderón, better known as Joe Cuba (April 22, 1931 – February 15, 2009), was an American conga drummer of Puerto Rican descent widely regarded as the "Father of Latin boogaloo".
Cuba was born in New York City, Cuba's parents moved from Puerto Rico to New York City in the late 1920s and settled in Spanish Harlem, a Latino community located in Manhattan. Cuba was raised in an apartment building where his father had become the owner of a candy store located on the ground floor (street level floor). His father had organized a stickball club called the Young Devils. Stickball was the main sport activity of the neighborhood. After Cuba broke a leg he took up playing the conga and continued to practice with the conga between school and his free time. Eventually, he graduated from high school and joined a band.
Musical career
In 1950, when he was 19 years old, he played for Joe Panama and also for a group called La Alfarona X. The group soon disbanded and Cuba enrolled in college to study law. While at college he attended a concert in which Tito Puente performed "Abaniquito". He went up to Tito and introduced himself as a student and fan and soon they developed what was to become a lifetime friendship. This event motivated Cuba to organize his own band. In 1954, his agent recommended that he change the band's name from the José Calderón Sextet to the Joe Cuba Sextet and the newly named Joe Cuba Sextet made their debut at the Stardust Ballroom.
In 1962, Cuba recorded his first album with the Joe Cuba Sextet called "To Be With You", featuring the impressive vocals of Cheo Feliciano and Jimmy Sabater Sr. The band became popular in the New York Latin community. The lyrics to Cuba's music used a mixture of Spanish and English, becoming an important part of the Nuyorican Movement.
In 1965, the Sextet got their first crossover hit with the Latin and soul fusion of "El Pito (I'll Never Go Back to Georgia)" . The "I'll never Go Back to Georgia" chant was taken from Dizzy Gillespie's intro to the seminal Afro-Cuban tune "Manteca." Sabater later revealed that "None of us had ever been to Georgia.
Along with fellow Nuyorican artists such as Ray Barretto and Richie Ray, Cuba was at the forefront of the developing Latin soul sound in New York, merging American R&B styles with Afro-Cuban instrumentation.[citation needed] Cuba was one of the key architects behind the emerging Latin Boogaloo sound, which became a popular and influential Latin style in the latter half of the 1960s.[citation needed] In 1966, his band scored a hit on the United States National Hit Parade List with the song "Bang Bang" — which helped kick off the popularity of the boogaloo. He also had a No. 1 hit that year on the Billboard charts with the song "Sock It To Me Baby"
Later years and death
On April 1999, Joe Cuba was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame. In 2004, he was named Grand Marshal of the Puerto Rican Day Parade celebrated in Yonkers, New York. He was also the director of the Museum of La Salsa, located in Spanish Harlem, Manhattan, New York.
Joe Cuba died on February 15, 2009 in New York City after being removed from life support. He had been hospitalized for a persistent bacterial infection. Cuba's remains were cremated at Woodhaven Cemetery.[5] He is survived by his 2 adult children from his first wife (Nina, married in 1960), son Mitchell and daughter Lisa, 3 grandchildren Nicole, Alexis and Rebecca; and his second wife Maria (Married in 1994).

Presented by: Luis Chaluisan WEPAwebTV - New Edge Theater WEPAwebTV Roughrican Productions Rocker Roller Rican vlɒɡ 2014 Recognition Awards Maria Hernandez Federico Chaluisan L.f. Chaluisan Batlle Editors WEPAwebTV - New Edge Theater El Extreme Luis Chaluisan

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Salsa Magazine History Orlando Marin Luis Chaluisan Salsa Magazine Orlando Marin still seems to live in the era of 1950s New York, with mambo celebrities like Tito Puente, Tito Rodríguez and Machito slamming dance halls with the Cuban-born beats. Mr. Marin recalls, at age 11, asking God’s help to  represent his fellow Puerto Ricans. Mambo, meaning “a conversation with the gods” in the Central African language Kikongo, was his answer.
After his first high school mambo dance class, he taught himself timbales — shallow, high-tuned drums — and started a neighborhood band in the South Bronx, with a future Grammy winner, Eddie Palmieri, then a 14-year-old prodigy.
That was more than 60 years ago, when Mr. Marin was 16.
“He still plays the old style — he hasn’t conformed to what you call ‘salsa,’ ” said Jose Conzo Sr., a music historian and former archivist for Tito Puente. Mr. Conzo lamented the new commercialized name that serves as an umbrella for mambo, cha cha and other Latin rhythms. “When you look at the definition of salsa, it’s tomato sauce — you can’t dance to it!”
Mr. Marin performed with Charlie Parker at the Hunts Point Palace in the Bronx, and with 100 other soldiers on the Ed Sullivan show after winning the All-Army Entertainment Contest while he served in Korea.
His orchestra graced the Taft Hotel’s hopping Saturday night dances, where Edwin Torres, now an 80-year-old retired judge, met his wife.
“It’s the most beautiful dance conceived of,” Mr. Torres said. “I’m greatly saddened that the younger Latino people aren’t into it like we were.” He added, “I guess it’s inevitable.”
When Mr. Puente died in 2000, Mr. Marin, who has released seven albums, proclaimed himself the Last Mambo King, and his surviving contemporaries allowed him the title. True, the music legends Eddie Palmieri and Johnny Pacheco are still performing, said Mr. Conzo, but Mr. Palmieri plays more jazz, and Mr. Pacheco does not play as often as Mr. Marin.
For Mr. Marin, who says he sometimes felt shut out of the record industry in the 1960s, this is his time to represent. In recent years he has won Latin music lifetime achievement awards, including the Bobby Capo Award.
But Mr. Marin does not plan on stopping.
“As long as I’m alive,” he said, “I’m like a little kid.”

Orlando Marin is an American band leader and timbales player born in the Bronx, New York in 1935. He formed his first band, Eddie Palmieri and his Orchestra, in 1951-52 with himself as director and Eddie Palmieri as musical director and later on the piano. He is of Puerto Rican descent.
After his first group broke up, Orlando got a contract at Sunnyside Garden for almost three years to play every Saturday. This was his first steady gig.
Along with his music, he studied as a commercial artist, or comic book illustrator.
He played with several different bands in the famous Palladium Ballroom.
Orlando went into the army in 1958 for service in Korea. While on duty, he won first prize in the All Army Talent Competition in the Pacific Command.[3] He then toured Korea and Japan and went to Washington DC for the final competition. This was followed by a performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. When stationed in California, Orlando sat in for Tito Puente on timbales at the Hollywood Palladium.
Orlando left the army in 1960 and formed a new band with many of his previous members.[1] He returned to New York. He again appeared at the Palladium Ballroom and other New York dance venues, including the Limbo Lounge, the Bayside Manor, the Hotel Taft, and the Bronx's Hunts Point Palace, among others.
Orlando was a contemporary of such greats as Tito Puente, Machito, and Tito Rodriguez. He is the only orchestra leader from New York’s golden era of mambo who still performs regularly.

Presented by: Luis Chaluisan WEPAwebTV - New Edge Theater WEPAwebTV Roughrican Productions Rocker Roller Rican vlog 2014 Recognition Awards Maria Hernandez Federico Chaluisan L.f. Chaluisan Batlle  Editors WEPAwebTV - New Edge Theater El Extreme Luis Chaluisan

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Presented by: Luis Chaluisan WEPAwebTV - New Edge Theater WEPAwebTV Roughrican Productions Rocker Roller Rican vlɒɡ 2014 Recognition Awards Maria Hernandez Federico Chaluisan L.f. Chaluisan Batlle Editors WEPAwebTV - New Edge Theater El Extreme Luis Chaluisan
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The Origins of Cuban Music and its Cultural and Spiritual Importance Within the Cuban Diaspora Community.
This paper explores how the Cuban Diaspora has formed connections and forged a new identity around music, meanwhile reinforcing the resiliency, adaptability, creativity and autonomy of the Cuban people in the midst of crisis and uncertainty. Arts and culture are not just forms of entertainment, but messengers and affirmations of culture and spirituality. These are all manifestations of a collective identity, which becomes personal. Popular music acts as a conduit that people filter their own experiences through. Throughout Cuban history, patterns of travel and emigration have molded the identity of the people and defined generations (Gleason 113).

The origins of salsa and its predecessor, son cubano, of which little is known, are also discussed. The Afro-Cuban son is rich with religious rituals and sensual dances, and there is a rich history behind its rhythm. My objective is to show the psychosocial importance of this genre as it helped to shape and preserve the sense of culture and identity that were stripped from the African diaspora that landed in the Caribbean as slaves.

I explore the son cubano and its offspring, salsa, as more than a popular genre of Latin dance music, but as an agent of cultural preservation emblematic of the Afro-Caribbean religion Santería (“the way of the saints” in English). Salsa music has its roots in the Afro-Cuban genre son cubano. The sundry rhythms of salsa can be adapted to any mood, for it can be romantic and soft, spiritual and reflective, fierce and passionate, melancholic and gloomy, or simply happy and energetic. There is usually a subliminal message embedded within each song. Underneath the layers of percussive horns and fast-paced, exotic rhythms there is usually a story that unveils the realities of the social struggles in the Hispanic community. These songs also reveal a fierce determination to cultural roots and traditional values. Salsa embodies the essence of Spanish speaking Afro-Caribbean culture, religion and history (Gleason; 113 Mancuso 28).

Historical and Ancestral Origins
Son music has roots in Yoruban sacred music which originates from Nigeria. African based religions arrived in Cuba around the late 1500s during the inception of slavery (Hodges 35; Leymarie 10). Its folkloric tradition is surrounded by mysterious rituals, burnt offerings and animal sacrifices to the Gods. In those days, Afro-Cuban slaves circumvented Catholicism, the new religion imposed upon them, by melding with their own to give the appearance of having assimilated Catholicism (Díaz; Hodges 18-19; Leymarie 12).

The slaves did not relinquish their culture; they substituted the names of their African gods with the names of the Catholic saints. For example, Obatalá became the Creator, God Himself as monotheistic religions describe this all-encompassing spiritual guiding force. Their god of war Changó was renamed Santa Bárbara or Saint Barbara. Yemayá, the sea goddess became the Virgin of Regla, an outlying suburb of Havana. Their native prayers were translated from Yoruba to Spanish; which later evolved into a liturgical language called Lucumí, a Cuban dialect of Yoruba.

This linguistic evolution was the birth of creolized Spanish in Cuba. Regla de ocha, another name for Santería, is an animist religion that combines Yoruban (e.g. Nigerian) rituals with Catholic ones. Regla de ocha means the rule of ocha. This forms the basis for the worship of the orishas or African gods. Santería faith is unique because it is truly a creation of the Americas. Santeros or shaman priests in Cuba speak Lucumí to this day. The slaves were so successful in their dissimulation of the Catholicism faith into their own that even some slave owners unwittingly participated in their slaves’ Santería rituals believing it to be a black form of entertainment. They were enchanted by the intoxicating sound of the drums, as female slaves performed intensely erotic movements during fertility ceremonies. Indeed, Santería music and dance is so beautifully hypnotic, it is easy to get lost in ecstasy, and fall into a trance (Concha-Holmes; Díaz; Gutiérrez 308; Gleason 114; Leymarie 10-13; Mancuso 28-29).

There are parallels between music, spirituality, food and sexuality in Hispanic musical forms. Music in Cuba does not just feed the soul and mind; but the senses as well. This explains the erotic and sensuous connotations to it. The five senses form part of a greater whole rather than compartments to be indulged in at different times; like clockwork that must be scheduled (Leymarie 4-5). Sandunga means elegance and grace in Spanish. Cuban musicologist Fernando Ortiz described the Africanized word as salt and pepper. The salt being from Andalusia (white) and the ndungu pepper (black) being from Africa. Just to clarify, Andalusia is a province in Southern Spain close to Morocco and Algeria with a strong Moorish influence. That province is where the majority of Hispanics of European descent came from.

This mixture reminds me of the traditional Cuban dish of moros y cristianos or Moors and Christians. The savory and aromatic dish is rice cooked in black beans, which is not the same as white rice and black beans. Moros y cristianos looks like a perfectly blended rice and bean dish because it is monochromatic. From a culinary standpoint, this is representative of the all of blends that took place across cultures. Cuba’s music combines the African languages (e.g. Abakwa, Yoruba and Congo among others) with Spanish. Very little exists of Cuba’s indigenous roots; except for güiros and the maracas (Díaz; Leymarie 9-17).

The Yoruban people, or Lucumí as named in Cuba, helped to establish present-day Cuban culture on the island. Before the Cuban diaspora could take their music and culture abroad, African slaves were the first group of people who saw themselves in the situation to take their culture wherever they were sent. They replicated the African musical instruments that they were forced to leave behind. They incorporated European instruments such as mandolins, guitars, tubas and ophicleide (in the brass family) among others into their repertoire. The African diaspora traveled through other mediums outside of the continent as evidence by the strong cultural influence in the Spanish Caribbean, e.g. Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Panama, Colombia Venezuela and others (Leymarie 10).

The Bantu people were also known as the Congos in Cuba. These people assimilated themselves more quickly into white society than other African tribes. As a result, their religious traditions watered down somewhat as the collective Cuban identity emerged. “Conga” means song and tumult in Bantu. Mambo means prayer, a conversation with gods and sacred dance; and “mamba” means water goddess in the Congo language. Congo songs are full of satire, piques and disparates or nonsense in English. Some Congo prayers incorporated the Arabic salute salaamu aleikum, which in Cuban Spanish became salamaleco.

The Araras, another African tribe, descended from the Fon people of the Dahomey kingdom or present-day Benin. Araras descendants can be found in the cities of Matanzas and Jovellanos, which are roughly two hours east of Havana. The remnants of their culture and religion were absorbed into the Yoruba tradition and pantheon. The Abakwa (e.g. Carabalí or more informally, ñáñigos in Cuba) hail from the coast of Calabar in southeastern Nigeria and comprise of people from Ibo, Ibibio Ejagham and other tribes. During the nineteenth century all of these tribes formed secret societies in Havana, Matanzas and Cárdenas. The cabildo evolved and took on a life of its own and a few still exist in Matanzas to this day (Concha-Holmes 490; Leymarie 15-17).

During the seventeenth century, free blacks in the outskirts of the cities resisted colonial leaders and created their own town councils or cabildos. These councils comprised of different African ethnic groups. The meetings were an organized affair and operated much like a club where people worshipped, played music, assisted each other, engaged in activities of recreation and eventually organized resistance movements. Colonial interference came in ebbs and flows as it was on a case by case basis.

Some political leaders tolerated the cabildos presence as a form of entertainment during carnivals as part of a comparsa or singing and dancing group; while at other times they were banned. Despite these uncertainties, Afro-Cubans persisted, even if that meant going underground. It can be speculated that in these secret meetings where the early sounds of son were born. Afro-Cuban culture continued to proliferate during slavery; and in 1831 there were three times as many black musicians as there were white (Concha-Homles 490-492; Gleason 113; Leymarie 10-11, 19).

The African tribes’ religious music later evolved into secular music in Cuba. The blending of the sacred with the profane is nothing new in Cuba. This bonding and sacred ritual in religion became part of the social contract for the nation forming its identity. The central theme of the thesis will be the son cubano, the backbone of salsa and Cuba’s heart according to Ibrahim Ferrer. Cubans took their religion, culture, musical traditions and souls with them when they emigrated the island in the 1960’s. They collaborated with the people of the country that now lived in be it the United States, Spain, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and created a cultural hybrid. This combination helped to create new musical forms such as salsa or bring another dimension to diverse musical genres such as Latin and American pop, jazz, disco and rhythm and blues (Leymarie 31, 208, 231).

The Merging of the American Gulf Coast with Cuba
New Orleans and Cuba have a virtually identical multiethnic background that consists of African, Italian, French, Native American and Spanish heritage. Both places lie on the edges of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. But the Gulf connects and disconnects these cultures not unlike the Mediterranean Sea which acts as its own unofficial “cultural confederation.” South Louisiana, Cuba, Mexico (e.g. the states of Veracruz and Tamaulipas), and other countries in this region share similar though not identical cultural elements. New Orleans is the first major city on the southern tip of the Mississippi River, which acts as a cultural launching pad in the United States. Similarly, Cuba is in the middle of the Caribbean Sea that connects with greater Latin America. The island nation has created many genres of music that have reverberated across the Hispanic Americas. New Orleans and Havana are only 694 miles apart from each other (Stewart 1).

Prior to the embargo, the cities of Havana and New Orleans were along twin trade routes crisscrossing the Gulf of Mexico. Goods not only traveled but so did people. This exchange enabled a broad cultural exchange between the metropolises. New Orleans and Havana were widely regarded at the turn of the nineteenth century as a prime tourist destination for entertainment. In 1809, nine thousand Cuban immigrants arrived in New Orleans. Of these first wave refugees, about a third were white (mostly of French descent), another third were free persons of color (usually ethnically mixed French Creoles) and the other third were slaves. These people were émigrés from the French colony of Saint Domingue which later became Haiti (Stewart 1-2).

The Saint Domingues first appealed for refuge in Cuba in 1803 due to the Haitian Slave Uprising which spanned from 1791 to 1804. Their six-year stay in Cuba was marked with tensions and suspicion. Marquis de Somerueles, Captain General of Cuba, commanded that all of the “Frenchmen” or negros franceses be exiled as their presence may be a threat to the island. According to Stewart, “Frenchmen” comprised of anybody who originated from Saint Domingue (e.g. modern day Haiti) regardless of their social status or race. The remaining Haitians that did not set for Louisiana mainly settled in the eastern Cuban province of Oriente. They established their own recreational socities called tumbas francesas French paths. Some Haitian-Cuban communities practice vodú or voodoo with musical instruments found in Haiti to this day (Leymarie 18; Stewart 1-2).

The Saint Domingue immigrants made New Orleans their new permanent home. New Orleans suffered from a dearth of musicians in 1810. By 1811 the musical crisis improved a little, which suggests that “some of the refugees were musicians.” The ingenuity, adaptability and strength of Afro-Caribbeans cannot be underestimated. They found the way to turn the worst of circumstances into a new and beautiful sound (Stewart 1-2).

Afro-Cuban jazz musicians at the turn of the twentieth century collaborated with New Orleans jazz musicians. Culturally, two creolized communities in the Americas banded forces to enhance each other’s repertoire. In turn, the two societies reshaped their own ethnic identities on their own terms. Despite the fact that there are Cubans dispersed across the world, their music acts as an umbilical cord which gives their life sustenance, meaning and a sense of familiarity (Stewart 1, 8). Regardless of one’s spiritual affiliation or lack thereof, there are moments in a person’s life in which there are invisible and subtle forces at play that support one in this journey that is called life. That is the power of music at its best.

Cuba and New Orleans maintained their relationship from the 1930’s to the early 1960’s. Cuban entertainers traveled to New Orleans regularly and appeared “at both black and white music venues.” Wealthy Creole businessmen took frequent vacations to Cuba where racial divisions were less restrictive than the United States. Cuba’s color structure is reminiscent of French Louisiana or present-day southern Louisiana where racial boundaries were often blurry; and one’s family lineage and cultural background were of great importance. After the triumph of the Revolution, some Cubans with a New Orleans tie relocated there (Stewart 8).

A New Ethnic and Racial Identity
According to Assata Shakur, “El que no tiene de Congo tiene de Carabalí” (Leymarie 10; Safa 88). In English this means: If one does not have Congo in them, they have Carabalí. In other words, Cuba’s African presence is undeniable regardless of one’s actual ancestry. The ideal Cuban is mulatto or of mixed race. They embody the island’s African and European heritage. These mixed roots became Cuba’s national symbol. It embodied an image of true racial harmony irrespective of the nation’s complex and turbulent racial politics (Benítez-Rojo 179-180).

Although racial mixing in the Caribbean was encouraged, sometimes it became an act of necessity or survival. Most if not all of the colonizers were male and their families remained in Europe until the coast was clear to settle in the Americas. In the interim, some European men had relationships with indigenous and African slave women that produced offspring. This notion of national and ethnic identity runs parallel “with the negative view of race mixture in the United States” and enforced ethnic diversity (Díaz; Hodges 29, 33-34; Safa 89).

Despite the strong African roots that Cuba has, racism still exists. It is a contradiction that black religion, culture and music are revered, yet nobody wants to be moreno or negro, black in Spanish. These beliefs are rooted in colonialism and slavery where the madre patria or motherland is held in high esteem. Spain is universally seen in mainstream Latin America as the madre patria. For a sizeable group that place would be West Africa; while the remaining people of indigenous origin are already home. This is not counting the people of Jewish, Chinese, Filipino, Arabic and other non-Spanish European ancestry who settled into the Spanish Caribbean (Díaz).

Though Cuba and the Spanish Caribbean have a strong black presence, there are not many artists of color are represented in the mainstream Latin music market. The few artists of color that are represented remain the same, indicating a lack of diversity. The only reason that the socialist regime did not completely outlaw African based religions (e.g. Santería) was because they did not perceive it as a threat to the establishment. On the surface, it seems that there is acceptance for diversity, but it is more of an act of convenience and a way to appease the people in a society where religion was outlawed after Castro’s presidency. Afro-Cuban religion does not interfere with politics as it is not an organized religion. Thus, the Cuban people still had a spiritual life in spite of the new restrictions (Díaz; Sigler).

The Politics Behind Cuban Music
Politics and music are tightly interwoven throughout Cuban history. There were laws in the books that were religiously based and thus formed a collective morality which citizens had to abide by. Article 26 of the 1910 Cuban constitution stated that one was free to proclaim any religion as a form of worship without any respects so long as Christian moral values and public decorum were respected. The language of this article gave the government carte blanche to interpret and define what was “considered respectful, regarding Christian morals and the public order.”

The article embodied a contradiction with respects to son due to its connotations with animist African religions, far from the European Judeo-Christian model. African religions were the blueprint for secular Cuban music. Due to this backhanded language, the government could interfere in nonwhite cultural manifestations on the premise that they encouraged immorality. Although the majority of the opposition to son was the white Cuban elite, there was a sizeable black middle class that supported the censorship of son (Chambers 504).

The most vociferous group was the Afro-Cuban association named Club Atenas. This exclusive association had leading members of the black intelligentsia such as prominent Cuban sociologist Gustavo Urrutia, whom promoted the advancement and incorporation of Cubans of color in all branches of society. According to Alejandro de la Fuente many of the presidents of Club Atenas “were members of Congress or held important government offices at the national level or both between the creation of the club in 1917 and the end of the republic.”

The actions of the Club Atenas body were contrary as they rejected their African roots and assimilated European culture. Club Atenas viewed itself as promoting more prosocial behaviors in the Afro Cuban community. However, many leading members were politicians in close association with white Congress members. Thus, they were sorely out of touch with the average Afro-Cuban José or Josefina (Chambers 504).

From 1928 to 1933 Cuba’s leaders periodically banned playing son in public. “African” instruments were less tolerated than the “European” ones. Minister Rogelio Zayas Bazán banned movies, tried to shut down dance academies, and even fined men who flirted with women in public. In 1929, Gerardo Machado, the mayor of Santiago, prohibited congas and bongos. African musical instruments were treated like weapons of mass destruction not unlike the days of slavery. Cuba’s conservative movement restricted sexuality and creative expression. Music was a racialized affair during Cuba’s segregation era. The Europeans continued to manifest the attitude that the former black slaves as the other. Integration was impossible (Leymarie 44-45).

History as a tool for creating a new national identity was pivotal to the success of the Revolution as it symbolized a symbiosis of the island’s new and future collective experiences. This discipline was not treated like a spectator sport. It became an object used to impulse and mobilize citizens into action and feel a renewed pride in their heritage and culture. Castro rallied Afro-Cubans behind his Revolution and refashioned the island nation as an Afro-Latin nation or an appendage of Mother Africa.

This replaced the traditional notion of the motherland, at least for Cubans on the island. However, many Cubans in the United States still maintained that Spain was the madre patria. Interestingly enough, Fidel Castro is of Galician descent in northwestern Spain. The concept and irony of sandunga is not lost here (Díaz; Domínguez 8).

In the beginning of the Cuban Revolution, a vigorous censorship campaign was launched aimed at silencing two of the oldest and most intrinsically rooted religions in the island of Cuba: Santería and Catholicism. That was a tall order considering that the Spanish colonialists tried to erase Santería from the psyche of the African slaves that were shipped to Cuba in the 1500s with negative results. Despite the hostile political climate and harsh prohibitions, Afro-Cuban music could not be silenced (Díaz; Hodges).

Somewhere along the way, Castro had a change of heart. The reasons for this change are complex and are rooted in politics as much as personal values. It is suggested that El Comandante himself turned to the Yoruban faith as a means to find healing and protection from enemies (Boadle; González 264; Harvey; Sigler). His 1980 trip to Africa appeared to be a turning to point for him. He wore all white during his visit and was surrounded by Santeros. This is the color that Santería adherents use for their priests and their apprentices (González 261-266). Santería is a religion based on peace and palliative treatments (Sigler).

Remarkably, Afro-Cubans managed to outwit Castro’s sanctions on the practice of this religion and its associated music in Cuba. When one observes the parallels with colonial history to modern history, there are similarities in the way Afro-Cubans circumvented Spanish imposed Catholicism then and now. This time, they left out the Roman Catholic influence of Santería. The Santeros did this because the regime viewed most organized religions as a threat. Santería is not an officially recognized religion around the world.

This proved to the communists that their rituals were not a menace to the system; and thus they were able to evade censorship and possible incarceration. Since the government imposed great roadblocks to organized religion such as increased surveillance and harassment; Santería became a safer alternative to worship and have a sense of community in a new society that left many feeling disoriented (Díaz; Leymarie; Sigler).

One could argue that this is what the gods may have wanted for Cuba because the Santeros had to revert back to a more pure form of Afro-Cuban Santería (Boadle). They incorporated more religious music into their rituals, which spread throughout the island like wildfire. During this renaissance phase of Santería, the government became more lax in enforcing the ban (Harvey). This seemed to appease the Cuban people. It also gave rise to a revival of the Yourba-Lucumí culture with a Cuban twist. In many ways, this proved to be beneficial to Castro’s government because Cuba has excellent diplomatic and cultural relations with all African nations (Díaz).

As times changed and Cuban musicians arrived in the United States, the son cubano evolved into what today is known as salsa. Unlike any other genre of music, a paradoxical bond exists between Cuban son, Catholicism and socialism. This strange relationship has enabled it to endure the religious and political censorship in Cuba as it had done centuries before during slavery. The music and rituals have survived in spite of the socialist ideology and censorship of the last century (Sigler).

Beneath the surface of its intoxicating cadence and spiritual notes, the political and elements that hide beneath this art form transcends past and present folklore and culture around the world. Few musical genres have been able to achieve this seamlessly (Díaz).

New Avenues for Son to Be Heard
Son was “recorded and promoted by large American corporations such as RCA Victor.” The United States established an omnipresent presence on the island between the late 19th century and the turn of the 20th century. Interestingly enough, the Americans elite accepted the son and they had the political and economic influence to make this maligned form of music go global. And it did. The Cuban elites were nowhere near as receptive as the Americans.

In fact, they were hostile to the notion that Afro-Cuban music would define the Cuban identity. The aristocracy could only accept these Afro-Latin rhythms as a benign influence in Cuban dance and song rather than a symbol of nation. Had Cuba’s ruling class accepted the son in its inception, they would have had to accept its collective African heritage and propagate that abroad (Chambers 503).

Although music formed an avenue for transculturation in Cuba, the cultural transition was not smooth by any means. The background behind the sensual and exciting son perpetuated the frictions “between Cuban elites and the masses to define lo cubano” or what is Cuban. The elites looked to Europe and the United States “for representations of culture and modernity;” while the black and mulatto communities assembled a musical genre that became an icon of Cuban culture and identity (Chambers 497).

The Emergence of a New American Music
Salsa emerged in New York City in the early 1960s, when a group of disenfranchised Cuban musicians arrived in the United States fleeing the censorship of the new communist regime in their country. These Cuban maestros also collaborated with some of the greatest jazz musicians of the times, such as Dizzy Gillespie (García 195). From those sessions Latin jazz was born and became a new genre. This called the attention of Puerto Rican band leaders such as Willy Colón, Tito Puente and other musicians.

At the time, the most popular Puerto Rican sounds heard were plena, bomba, and boleros. The name “salsa” was coined by Tito Puente, who appeared on TV commercials regularly advertising Goya Food products, such as “salsa de tomate” or tomato sauce. This product was one of Goya’s most popular products on the Hispanic market in those days, due in part to Tito Puente’s popularity and charisma. “Salsa” became a catchphrase that Puente used during his guest appearances to describe the essence of the new music that had emerged from his collaboration with the Cubans. That was the birth of salsa as the United States, and the rest of the world, as it is known today. “Salsa” gave voice to the Hispanic community during the post-industrial era of the late 1960’s through 1970’s when employment opportunities became scarce, neighborhoods and families disintegrated as a result (Díaz; Singer and Martínez 177-179).

The arrival of the son gave composers the freedom to innovate and improvise with Afro-Cuban lyrics. This genre of music is best viewed as part of the bedrock of “traditional musical forms of the Spanish speaking Caribbean.” It highlights the best integration of the religions the Afro-Hispanic community incorporated (African religion and Catholicism), which defined the culture in that region (Gutiérrez 297-298).

Son de la Loma by Trío Matamoros depicts a conversation between a child and mother. Lomas are hills; however, the song carries a multidimensional meaning because African spirits live in the hills of the wilderness. The woods are the designated place for the spirits and dead. The final interpretation can be derived that the “singers live with those sacred spirits” and that is the place where they derive their special talents (Gutiérrez 298).

Esa música que heredamos (This music that we inherit)

Hijos y nietos de los africanos (African sons and daughters)

La que mezclamos con la española, (That mixed with the Spanish,)

Con la francesa y la portuguesa, (With the French and Portuguese,)

La que fundimos bien con la inglesa (That we fused well with the English)

Los Van Van, “Somos cubanos” “We are Cubans” (Hernández-Reguant 31)

The Post-Industrial Effect on Music in Cuba and the United States
As the son morphed into salsa, post-Revolution Cuba was the breeding ground for timba, a blend of Ibero-American and Iberian musical styles such as the Spanish flamenco. Timba was created by and for black people in Cuba. It shined a light on Afro-Cuban heritage and pride as a lifeline to Cuban identity, “machismo and sexuality.” On the flipside, timba depicts “Cuban mulatto women as gold diggers, whores and race traitors.” This is not unlike some of the misogynistic themes found in hip-hop music (Hernández-Reguant 32, 35).

Curiously enough, both timba and hip-hop became popular in the 1980’s and served as a voice for sullen and disenfranchised young men. During this decade, the United States was gripped by a crack and cocaine epidemic as well as a job base that was outsourced abroad, and an administration that displayed a nonchalant and casually judgmental attitude with respects to the disadvantaged. Cuba also suffered greatly in 1980’s from the effects of the dissolution of the Soviet Union as the island’s embargo and socialist government’s policies nearly strangled its economy and people. This was the catalyst for the Special Period in Time of Peace era of the 1990’s where the government instituted strict rations on the consumption of fuel, food and resources (Hernández-Reguant 31).

It was not a surprise that some beautiful women on the island left with and sometimes married white Europeans as a way to improve their dire circumstances. As a result, Afro-Cuban men felt abandoned and cast out. The true nature of said problems lies in broken economic policies and politicking rather than loose and materialistic women. Although men in both countries may have been aware of the scope of their tribulations, women became “a scapegoat as she is the last thing that he can try to control and identify a common heritage with.” It is also important to note that women play no significant role in timba. Despite the strides that feminism made in Cuba and the U.S., women were still the weakest link and became a popular target in arts and entertainment (Hernández-Reguant).

Although the United States and Cuba had certain post-industrial similarities in their society, there are key differences between the lives of blacks in both countries. Cuba instituted a requirement to provide free access to vocational programs, medical treatment, sports and the arts that benefitted the community and reduce social endangerment. These measures were successfully carried out despite their budget shortfalls.

On the other hand, post-industrial (i.e. late 1970’s and beyond) United States began to see sharp contrasts between well-to-do African-Americans climbing a corporate ladder that became available for them to climb post-Civil Rights Era, and their socioeconomically disadvantaged counterparts (Díaz).

Timba was the Cuban man’s response to post-feminist society. The same could be argued for American hip-hop. I want to clarify that chauvinism is nothing new in Cuban or American music. However, in pre-Revolution Cuba and pre-sexual revolution America it was cloaked in veiled romanticism sometimes mixed with perilous passions in the name of love for a woman. Now that women have more sociopolitical mobility, some men took the regressive route to respond to the perception of loss of authority in their lives and that of women (Hernández-Reguant 33, 35).

Beyond Latin America and the United States
These collaborations went beyond the Spanish speaking world. Afro-Cuban music became Senegal’s song during the Independence period of the 1960’s when that generation assumed power. Embracing Latin music embodied a zeitgeist tropical attitude not unlike the feelings that the balmy beaches of West Africa can elicit. This newly created set of acceptable norms by the Senegalese formed a solid base for a sustainable post-colonial society.

Preserving Afro-Cuban music in Senegal maintained and solidified these traditions; thus allowing the newly liberated nation to act as free agents political life. Viewing and participating in the Afro-Cuban performance created a safe space “where generational rivalries and differing notions of cosmopolitanism” are acted out and mediated in a controlled environment (Shain 187-188).

Culture is one of the only means that marginalized groups found to be included into the mainstream in post-colonial societies such as Cuba and the United States. They created their own capital and culture is its biggest and most valuable export. One would hope that the creators of these valuable works would become financially wealthy. Instead, people of European descent appropriate African-derived cultural such as dance, music, food, and religious practices. (Chambers 497).

In Closing
The African diaspora arose from “several centuries of institutionalized slavery.” That was the motor for “cultural, racial and ethnic” exchanges and mixtures which still serve as a blueprint in the arts today. “African languages make up an intrinsic part of many Cuban music genres.” For five centuries, Cuban music is the end result of the unique meetings that emerged from diverse cultures “that reached the island in one way or another” (Gutiérrez 295-296; Hodges; Leymarie).

The orishas have mutable qualities and have no boundaries because they are spirits (Concha-Holmes 490). For devotees of Santería and other African based religions, these gods are eternal. Yemayá can be found in Lagos, Nigeria as much as Miami or Madrid. She is wherever you invoke her (Gleason). Spirituality is like water, one sees it but may not know or understand the molecules contained in it. Achieving and maintain that purity lies in the practitioner and the forces one chooses to blend with. If the person neglects their water, it will dissipate into the atmosphere. Once that happens, the person loses an intrinsic part of their history.

Afro-Cuban musical history can teach musicians and vocalists irrespective of genre and language that there is so much more to this craft than meets the naked eye. One becomes an interpreter and bridge to another world, both past and present. Devotion and sacrifice is required of the artist in order to receive a gift that can be shared with others. It is important that musicians distance themselves from the notion of grooming themselves for a fickle marketplace in order to have lasting impact and success.

Presented by: Luis Chaluisan WEPAwebTV - New Edge Theater WEPAwebTV Roughrican Productions Rocker Roller Rican vlɒɡ 2014 Recognition Awards Maria Hernandez Federico Chaluisan L.f. Chaluisan Batlle Editors WEPAwebTV - New Edge Theater El Extreme Luis Chaluisan

Luis Chaluisan

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Salsa Magazine History Bio Ritmo Luis Chaluisan Salsa Magazine Blazing a trail by playing some of the hardest hitting and far reaching modern salsa for 23 years now, Bio Ritmo have grown into one of the most intriguing and influential Latin dance bands of the last two decades. They are true rebels who have defied being pigeonholed. They have helped pioneer a new generation of musicians (aka nueva generación) that thrive on the spirit of experimentation that once defined the 70’s Latin sound that came to be known as ‘salsa’. From hipster rock clubs in Brooklyn to ‘salsa bars’ in Cali, Colombia, Bio Ritmo keeps the bodies on the dance floor with their nitty-gritty, vintage grooves while turning heads with their experimental synth tones, innovative harmonies and thought provoking lyrics. They convert the skeptics who only know the overly commercialized, tacky veneer of Latin music and challenge the purist who hitherto believed the genre died during the 90’s. They have a fierce, almost punk rock DIY ethos that pervades their attitude and style, releasing their records either by themselves or on indie and hip hop labels like Merge, Fat Beats and, Electric Cowbell. They cite Stereolab and Brazilian psychedelic music as influences in the same breath as name-dropping Ray Barretto, Roberto Roena and classic Fania records. It’s no surprise that their new record, “Puerta Del Sur,” (Vampisoul LP & CD release: June, 24, 2014) is coming out on a Spanish label whose mission is to resurrect ‘lost’ Latin music.
“Our mission from day one was to write original music in the classic salsa style,” states Bio Ritmo’s lead singer and composer Rei Alvarez “and experimentation is as much a part of the tradition as the wide-ranging Afro-Cuban genres that it’s based on.”
Alvarez, a self-taught musician and artist, spent his formative years in 1970’s Ponce, Puerto Rico. His strong opinions about aesthetics and style have undeniably shaped Bio Ritmo’s look and sound thru the years. “Working on ‘Salsa System’ (2006) with the legendary engineer Jon Fausty (Fania Records) was like going to salsa boot camp,” Alvarez says. This experience boosted the group’s confidence and gave them the vision to persevere and embrace their identity. “On ‘Bionico’ (2008), we stopped trying to be a salsa band,” he adds. That is to say, the group realized that it wasn’t about proving themselves as much as they simply wanted to be authentic to themselves. Then on ‘La Verdad’ (The Truth) (2011, Electric Cowbell) with veteran producer Aaron Levinson (Spanish Harlem Orchestra) it all came together. Cited as “one of the most life-affirming albums of the year,” by, it launched Bio Ritmo on a European festival circuit – including an invitation to The Republic of Georgia – and inspired a ‘salsa bar’ outside of Cali, Colombia to name themselves after the hit song “La Muralla” (The Wall)
“The band was born out of this raw, thriving artist community that still characterizes Richmond today,” adds pianist, composer and producer Marlysse Simmons. She stands head strong, with a unique flare and represents one of a few Latin women pianist and composers in the industry who also leads the band and its 9 eccentric male members. “Richmond definitely nurtured us, but we also come from all over the map culturally and musically speaking,” adds Simmons whose mother is from Chile. “But we all share a passion for ‘salsa’ – a music that encompasses so many different styles and influences. It’s rooted in the experimentation of blending rhythms and sounds and this is exactly what we love to do.”
“I sing about my experiences,” proclaims Alvarez.
“Something negative has happened in my life and it gets processed internally and I share the experience. It’s almost like I’m giving advice to myself. I find the songwriting process and working within the soneo sections (improvisations within a call–response format) a healing experience.” Alvarez isn’t the only member who gets healed from the music. Percussionist Hector “Coco” Barez, claims he cures himself with Bio Ritmo. “It’s a detox of everything that’s wrong with music today and also a great workout.” Barez, a Puerto Rican native has clocked years touring and recording with some of the world’s most popular reggaeton and alternative Latin artist such as Calle 13. “It’s a family environment of good musicians. When I was asked to play with Bio Ritmo I jumped at the opportunity.”

Presented by: Luis Chaluisan WEPAwebTV - New Edge Theater WEPAwebTV Roughrican Productions Rocker Roller Rican vl?g 2014 Recognition Awards Maria Hernandez Federico Chaluisan L.f. Chaluisan Batlle Editors WEPAwebTV - New Edge Theater El Extreme Luis Chaluisan

Luis Chaluisan

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Salsa Magazine History Joe Cuba Sextet Luis Chaluisan Salsa Magazine Cheo Feliciano "Como Rien" - Q.E.P.D.- Juntos con los miembros originales de el sexteto de Joe Cuba  y Jimmy Sabater  Q.E.P.D 
Joe Cuba: Gilberto Miguel Calderón Cardona, conocido artísticamente como Joe Cuba (Nueva York, Estados Unidos, 22 de abril de 1931 - Ibídem, 15 de febrero de 2009) fue un cantante y percusionista de jazz latino estadounidense, de origen puertorriqueño, que recibió el apelativo de "Padre del Boogaloo".
Fue hijo del matrimonio de Miguel Calderón y Gloria Cardona, ambos puertorriqueños. Hasta los 15 años estudia educación secundaria en el instituto Cooper Junior High School, donde se destaca como deportista en el baloncesto y el béisbol. Sin embargo, sufre una fractura que le impide continuar destacando en los deportes. Aunque no tenía interés en la música, éste se le despierta tardíamente tras escuchar el tema "Abaniquito" tocado por la orquesta de su compatriota, el músico Tito Puente, así que abandona los estudios de secundaria y el deporte1 para dedicarse en lo sucesivo a la música. Tras aprender a tocar la conga gracias a los músicos Víctor Pantoja, Santos Miranda, Papi Torres y Wilfredo Vicente y convertirse en un reputado jugador de stickball,2 comenzó en 1950 tocando en un grupo llamado Alfarona X, procedente de Puerto Rico. En 1951, deja este grupo para tocar en la orquesta del músico Elmo García y después en la de Marcelino Guerra. Luego, el bajista Roy Rosa lo contrata para el grupo Quinteto de Joe Panamá, dirigido por el pianista de ascendencia panameña David Preudhomme quien adoptó el seudónimo que llevaba la agrupación. Pero el director se retira al estar en desacuerdo con la ausencia de temas latinos en el repertorio. El grupo debuta, después de varios cambios, con el nombre de Cha-Cha-Cha Boys. En 1954, a instancias del promotor artístico cubano, Catalino Rolón, se decide que este nombre cambie al de "Gilberto Calderón y su sexteto", pero este nombre no le gusta al dueño del salón Starlight y el promotor renombra al grupo como Joe Cuba y Su Sexteto, nombre que cambia a "Joe Cuba Sextette en el ambiente estadounidense. Con este nombre debuta en el Stardust Ballroom.
En 1956, la agrupación es presentada en el único programa de variedades latino de un canal neoyorquino “El Show de Don Pessante”, actuación que se extiende por 18 semanas consecutivas. Este mismo año es contratado por el sello estadounidense Mardi-Gras con el que realiza su primer álbum LP titulado "I Tried to Dance All Night". En 1957, el músico Tito Rodríguez hace contacto con Gilberto Calderón, ahora apodado Joe Cuba para que contrate como cantante de la agrupación al cantante y percusionista puertorriqueño José Luis Vega apodado Cheo Feliciano, quien debuta el 5 de octubre de ese año, fecha en que contrajo matrimonio. El contrato con el sello Mardi-Gras, se extiende hasta 1961, cuando el grupo es contratado por el sello estadounidense Embajador.
En 1962, Joe Cuba y su grupo son contratados por Seeco Records y graban el álbum "Steppin' Out", con los cantantes Cheo Feliciano y Jimmy Sabater. La banda se convirtió en muy popular, entre la comunidad latina de Nueva York, en parte porque sus letras estaban escritas en slang hispano-inglés.3 En 1965, logró su primer éxito de ventas con una tema que fusionaba la música cubana y el soul, llamado "El Pito (I'll Never Go Back to Georgia)". La parte cantada de "Never Go Back to Georgia" fue tomada de una introducción que el trompetista de jazz Dizzy Gillespie había hecho anteriormente para el tema "Manteca".4 También ese año, renuncia a Seeco Records y firma con Tico Records y mientras graba el álbum " We must be doing something right" (1966) se produce la separación de Cheo Feliciano del grupo por sus problemas de consumo de drogas. Feliciano después diría que sentía que no se le reconocía como artista, mientras estaba en la agrupación.
Junto con colegas como Ray Barretto y Richie Ray, Cuba fue una de las figuras más mediáticas del estilo latino de Nueva York de los años 1960, que utilizaba temas propios del R&B, con bases cubanas, dentro de lo que se llamó boogaloo. En 1966, su banda logró un éxito de ventas destacable, con el tema "Bang Bang". También logró el número 1 en el Billboard Hot 100, con la canción "Sock It To Me Baby". Charlie Palmieri, que había sido su director musical hasta ese momento, falleció en 1988.5 En 1976, se incorpora al sello Fania Records, sin embargo se margina del género musical de la salsa por lo que fue perdiendo arraigo y popularidad, aunque siguió activo en el mundo de la música.
Últimos años
En abril de 1999, Joe Cuba fue incluido en la International Latin Music Hall of Fame. Fue también director del "Museum of La Salsa", situado en el Spanish Harlem, en Manhattan.
Joe Cuba murió en 2009, tras ser hospitalizado por una persistente infección bacteriana, y cremado en el Woodhaven Cemetery.

Presented by: Luis Chaluisan WEPAwebTV - New Edge Theater WEPAwebTV Roughrican Productions Rocker Roller Rican vlɒɡ 2014 Recognition Awards Maria Hernandez Federico Chaluisan L.f. Chaluisan Batlle Editors WEPAwebTV - New Edge Theater El Extreme Luis Chaluisan
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Excellent new work from Salsa Magazine Salsa Awards Top Forty Fan Favorite Carlos Jimenez #18. 173,860 Votes Yonkers NY.
Carlos Jimenez "This is my first hip hop tune. When I was a kid I loved NWA, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, The Getto Boys, BDP and Eric B & Rakim. There were many more but these guys had great beats and I hope that Ice Cube & Dr. Dre come across this one. It's a demo for now but later on I will have a nice video and special guess hip hop artist. This is to get them started with the beat and the lyrics they will prepare for. Enjoy!"

Presented by: Luis Chaluisan WEPAwebTV - New Edge Theater WEPAwebTV Roughrican Productions Rocker Roller Rican vlɒɡ 2014 Recognition Awards Maria Hernandez Federico Chaluisan L.f. Chaluisan Batlle Editors WEPAwebTV - New Edge Theater El Extreme Luis Chaluisan

Luis Chaluisan

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Salsa Magazine History Cucco Peña Luis Chaluisan Salsa Magazine Músico, Arreglista y Productor. FECHA DE NACIMIENTO: 1 de septiembre. LUGAR DE NACIMIENTO: Santurce, Puerto Rico. Más de dos décadas en la música confirman su talento, versatilidad y visión. Grabaciones junto a figuras como Lunna, Glenn Monroig, Franco de Vita, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Marc Anthony, Celia Cruz, Jerry Rivera, Manny Manuel, Chayanne y Ricky Martin, entre tantos, revalidan su importancia y trascendencia. Su dirección musical ha engalanado los especiales del Banco Popular desde su debut hace seis años. En fin, Angel "Cucco" Peña nació para hacer música.
Cucco lo lleva en la sangre, ya que la estirpe Peña es sinónimo de música. Tanto Lito como Cucco y Angel Joel viven y sueñan en el pentagrama. Es una forma de vida, de manifestación, de expresión, de madurez y de crecimiento. Para Cucco ha sido una forma de elevar el nombre de Puerto Rico allende los mares.
Desde que dio sus primeros pasos en la música en la escuela elemental, la música ha sido todo para él. Producto del Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico, este talentoso artista ha sabido darle a sus obras un sello de indiscutible calidad. Ya sea en la publicidad como en el canto popular, su intuición y entrega han sido las armas que le han abierto las puertas al éxito.
Hoy por hoy, la experiencia de haber sido parte de una institución como la Orquesta Panamericana no tiene precio. El tocar géneros musicales tan variados como el bolero, el blues, el jazz, el rock, el pop y los ritmos autóctonos del país allanaron el camino para que Cucco pudiera mirar las diferentes expresiones como oportunidades de expansión.
Desde 1983 Cucco ha recibido sobre 60 premios "Cúspide" por sus trabajos en la industria de la publicidad. A estos se suman otros 40 premios "Addy" y ha sido reconocido en el Festival de Cine de Nueva York con otros 20 premios desde 1979. En 1984 fue uno de los finalistas en el Festival de Cannes por el comercial "Ice" para el Ron Bacardí. En 1993 fue reconocido por los premios Agüeybaná como el "Director del Año".
En la música Cucco ha trabajado junto a figuras como Willie Colón, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Ricky Martin, Chayanne, Rocío Jurado, Justino Díaz, José Feliciano, Celia Cruz, Franco de Vita, Daniela Romo, Marc Anthony, Glenn y Gilberto Monroig. En la música ha ejercido como compositor, arreglista, productor y director musical. En fin, Cucco ha sabido conectarse con la sensibilidad de estas figuras desde muchos ángulos, ya que para él, "es importante ver que la música tiene tres perspectivas: la del artista, la de la disquera y la mía. Es saber bailar entre las tres y encontrar algo en consenso y que apele a lo que la gente desea escuchar".
Combinando a la perfección la faceta de productor de música con la publicidad y la composición, hoy los grandes sacrificios que ha realizado han sido recompensados con creces. De hecho cuatro de sus trabajos musicales fueron nominados al Grammy en 1999: "Contra La corriente" de Marc Anthony; "Atado a tu amor" de Chayanne; "Vuelve" de Ricky Martin; y "Mi Vida Es Cantar" de Celia Cruz, siendo la producción de Marc la que cargó con la presea en el género tropical.
"Todas las nominaciones son importantes, ya que tanto la de Lunna en 1988 como éstas han significado mucho. En el caso de Marc pude tener un papel más visible porque trabajé todo el disco. Ya con Chayanne fueron tres piezas en calidad de arreglista y coproductor; con Ricky fue poner los metales en una pieza y con Celia fue componer dos piezas. El 98 fue mi mejor año, ya que unido a esto estuvo la grabación de Franco de Vita, el proyecto de "Salsa sinfónica" con Gilberto Santa Rosa en Venezuela y el especial del Banco Popular. En la medida en que se pueda aportar al crecimiento y evolución de los músicos de aquí y de aportar nuestro talento, seguiré haciendo lo mejor que pueda", sentencia.
Logros y Acontecimientos
• Nominaciones al Grammy con las producciones "Contra La Corriente" de Marc Anthony; "Atado A Tu Amor" de Chayanne; y "Lunna" de Lunna.
• Director Musical de "Salsa Sinfónica" de Gilberto Santa Rosa en el Teatro Teresa Carreño en Venezuela y "Live In Carnegie Hall" en Nueva York.
• Director Musical de los seis especiales que ha realizado el Banco Popular en esta década.
• Director Musical de los conciertos "La Magia del Ritmo" de Olga Tañón, a celebrarse en febrero en el Coliseo Roberto Clemente.
• Compositor y Director Musical de las ceremonias de apertura y clausura de los Juegos Centroamericanos.
• Compositor de las bandas sonoras de las películas "La Gran Fiesta" y "Nicolás y los Demás".
• Premio Agüeybaná en 1993 como "Director del Año".
• Finalista en el Festival de Cannes por el comercial "Ice", del Ron Bacardí.
• Presentaciones en el Puerto Rico Heineken Jazzfest como Director de su grupo de Jazz.
• Director musical de figuras como Lunna, Willie Colón y Gilberto Santa Rosa, entre otros.
• Compositor, tanto como solista como junto a Guadalupe García y Tato Rossi, de más de 100 composiciones.
• Productor de discos para figuras como Lunna, Jerry Rivera, Chayanne, Marc Anthony, Gilberto Santa Rosa y Franco de Vita, entre otros.

Presented by: Luis Chaluisan WEPAwebTV - New Edge Theater WEPAwebTV Roughrican Productions Rocker Roller Rican vlog 2014 Recognition Awards Maria Hernandez Federico Chaluisan L.f. Chaluisan Batlle Editors WEPAwebTV - New Edge Theater El Extreme Luis Chaluisan
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Luis Chaluisan The Rise Of Salsa Magazine


As one of the Staff writers for Latin NY Magazine (1977-1982) and Music Editor (1978-1979) I am blessed to have been privy to many of the events central to the Worldwide Salsa Music Explosion spearheaded by the magazine's coverage of the Latin Music scene (1973-1985/The Golden Age Of SALSA. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be part of world history. Along with being one of the young poets performing at the original Nuyorican Poets Cafe (1977-1979), Joe Papp's Public Theater (1977) and touring with Felix Romero's "Teatro Otra Cosa" (a bomba street theater group housed at the legendary "Teatro Puerto Rico" in the South Bronx 1977-1979) I now look back on those days with extreme exhilaration. At the time it is just the thing to do to survive as an artist. The seventies experiences lay the foundation for me to enter mainstream media when I land at job at CBS affiliate WFSB TV in Hartford Ct in 1979. For the next twenty years I have the opportunity to produce television shows, go to Hollywood, have my own rock and salsa bands, release two LP's, do radio work at the NY State Senate, ride the Internet bubble, and manage a Telemundo Affiliate Station in Washington State. And the roller coaster ride is not over. In 1997/98 I return to my seventies roots when I end up as part of Connecticut's State Team at the National Slam Poetry Championships in Austin,Texas and Chicago, Illinois copping 5 and 7th place nationally out of 200 teams each. (You can catch a glimpse of my performance and the Ct. team at the Nationals broadcast by 60 minutes on the 10th anniversary Slam blowout in Chicago.) Thanks to the support of my family - particularly my brother Ron - I am able to put together my memoirs in 2000 ("Newricane") which in turn (through God's grace) results in the Off Broadway production of "SPIC CHIC" (2001-2004) inspired by a Latin NY editorial written by Publisher Izzy Sanabria in January 1977 also entitled "Spic Chic". That show took myself, Maria Hernandez and Classical Composer David Amram to the Bonn Opera House in 2004. (I meet David while working for Latin NY in the seventies and it is a lifelong friendship since then; without Maria Hernandez (Lola Magdalena) I don't know where I would be today. Her calmness balances my manic being. I'm grateful that my father saw all this success before he passed in 2006. And likewise that my mother is still alive witnessing the next chapter of her crazy artist son's career - telling you this story (contained in the publication of "Spic Chic" as a book of poems and stories covering work from 1975-2009 inspired by another set of great mentors: Cardinal Hayes English teacher Bill Kerrigan (editor) and Steve Cannon (Fly By Night Press/A Gathering Of The Tribes NYC.) And now comes the payoff putting all these elements together: establishing WEPAwebTV in 2001 and reaching back to film a documentary on MR SALSA Izzy Sanabria, which has ultimately become the story I have been searching for during 53 years of a life that sums up an American experience as a Puerto Rican. Pa Que Lo Sepan! WEPA!

LOSalon: A Salon is a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine taste and increase the knowledge of the participants through conversation. Salons, commonly associated with French literary and philosophical movements of the 17th and 18th centuries, continue to flourish worldwide through the Internet that provides a new way to collaborate.
I owe a great deal of thanks to my brother Ronald Chaluisan who proposed conducting Salons in the early 1990's when he lived in Brooklyn. He suggested to study the French Salon movement in the 17th and 18th centuries.

LOSalon: Un Salón es una reunión de personas bajo el techo de un huésped inspirador, que se celebra en parte para divertirse entre sí y en parte para refinar el sabor y  aumentar el conocimiento de los participantes a través de la conversación. Salones, comúnmente asociada con los movimientos literarios y filosóficos Franceses de los  Siglos 17 y 18, siguen floreciendo a nivel mundial a través de el Internet que proporciona un nuevo medio para colaborar.
Le debo mucho gracias a mi hermano Ronald Chaluisan? quien propuso la realización de un Salon en la década de 1990's cuando vivía en Brooklyn. El me sugirió a estudiar el Movimiento de Salon Francés en los siglos 17 y 18.

Johnny Boy is back in town
A creeper in bruised lives
A trader in sultry secrets
He has absolutely
No right to know
A metropolitan skyjacker
Taking hostage
The stray adventurer
He preys out of emptiness
A modern vampire of emotions
Johnny Boy has arrived
Brought by powers unseen
To change the course
A necessary evil
In a dirty little town
Of ruined directions
Skyscrapers amuse him
Pits invite the taste of his special
Have you seen him?
El Loco Cantinero
Of hyperventilated thoughts
Have you seen him?
He arrived naked at the party
Trying to check his clothes
And announcing to all
He seduces
The confused poet
The isolated lover
The struggling woman
The ambitious teacher
To tell him their stories
Johnny Boy dismisses boundaries
And uses the tragedy
Of a comedian
To ejaculate his venom
He performs on stage
Fully in charge
Sparks fly from
His steel tipped heart
Creating icons
Of indignity
Of impulse
Have you met him?
His eyes tongue a red haze
Of silver spikes and
Black velvet fury
A Catholic boy on
A rampage through Hell
A new-age saint
With a customized Rosario
Who sweats benedictions
As he rides her
On an elevator rooftop
With a pistol strapped to his back
Each thrust setting off a bullet
Up between her legs
Through her stomach
Past her heart
Coming out her lips into his ...
A wild shot of cold-hearted lust
As soot falls on them
Like soft black petals
Raining on both
The living and the dead
A rogue dusky
Decadancing on the edge of razors
He stalks runners with his boy
Yo Yo Montalvo
And tries ways
To avoid their own stalkers
Night bombers in silk shirts
And four-hundred-dollar shoes
Searching for keys broken off
Long ago in forgotten locks
Searching for
The Great Game
While compromising every truth
Along the way
Searching for a way in
He's been speeding so long
Marking time
Paying cops
Burying partners
Tricking queens
Cruising shadows
Whacking even priests
In dreams reality cuts loose
Avenues slice into boulevards
D-D-D-D-D-Dodge City
He jumps into his
Third-world club car
Reeking of polo and reefer
An artillery strapped
On every extremity
He's headed for a
Sell - A - Bray - Tion
Yo Yo is spinning
Dead eyes
Crazy glued on everything
A plastic mask for a face
Fifth in one hand and
Eight Ball in the other
A new kind of pool game
Without a cue
On guard
From what
He supposes
Yo, let's go visit the savages
In Brooklyn
But they never get past the border
Johnny goes for a hit
Takes a drink
Forgets to steer
And BAM!
Rams the highway divider
The savages aren't
In Brooklyn
They're trapped
They're in the car
They're on the mainland
They're here
They're Ussssssssssssssssssssssss
Now I ask you
Have you met him?
Have you met him?
Have you met him?
I have ...
He calls collect
From way

Por qué tú sufres
Si tú no tienes
Porque sufrir
Por qué tú lloras
Si tú no tienes
Porque llorar

Stop Look Listen
It’s now New Rican Village time
On Avenue A off Sixth
Alphabet City
New York New York
Big Butt Lulu
Slides across the dance floor
Earthquake thighs keeping time
With Andy Gonzalez' bass
As Nestor Torres' flute
Unleashes a dance hall trance
With a Valentino smoothness
Hilton Ruiz
The high priest of the piano
Arches in the darkness
Responds with tinkling caresses
That stream in between
The steady clave keeping time
For Jerry Gonzalez' drums
While Papo Vasquez fills with riffs
Notes thrust from
Every angle in the room
Lay sweltering
Just below my stomach
I absorb all eagerly
As music and being
For the climax
Welcome to Eddie Figueroa's
New Rican Village
Loisaida N.Y.
Temple of the New
Rican Renaissance
Lola Magdalena
Mambo smiles
Showing more teeth than Jaws
Yo Yo Montalvo
Swallows the evening
He's awaken to hunt
Billie Zombie passes joints
Laced with dust
And cases club members
To rob later
Suzie Sidewinder hovers above all
Mussolini in high heels
Little Lucie Blue Eyes
Waits for her Man
With the patience
Of a practiced killer
Wilfredo the Anointed Apostle
Is surrounded by a sea of estrogen
A man drowning on dry land
Kept afloat by Santa Ana
The turquoise dressed martyr
As Carmen Baby sits at home
Murmuring her mantras
To saints and candles
Behind blessed glass
And Johnny Boy
"El Malote del Bronx"
Well, he feeds his lovers
A thousand yards of tongue
Stingray shocks his prey
Then disappears in the mist

There’s one who can speak
The truth at all times
In the court
Of the Spanish King
During the days of
The Old Empire:
The Jester.
So is my role in the court
Of the New Empire.
The Light guides me,
I say what's on my mind
And at the end of the day
I dream Truths.
That way when I pass
From this Old World
I'll march right up to
Him in heaven and ask
What the hell was that all about?
And with my luck
The Elusive One will answer:
Do you remember when
We are together then before as One
You ask for IT — A human experience!
Do I deliver on your curiosity?
Travel on there’s more …
Just go ahead through the looking glass.
But, I’m scared Abba.
Trust me I walk with you.

There are two things
God knows that
Carmen Baby knows
She is beautiful
The value she places
On her life
And on the lives
Of the ones she loves
I glide precariously
Alongside her path
At once tender
Then off-center
When touched by
The moonlit madness
That fuels my mind
Two binary stars
Dancing in the night sky
Drawn in and then out
Held together by the magnetism
Of our daughter Chasan
The ark of the covenant
Wherein Carmen keeps my soul
Three universes drawn together
By a special mystical plan
Which I manage to corrupt
With the panache
Of Foghorn Leghorn
On steroids:
I Do I Say I Do I Say I love you
Carmen replies You say You do
But at night I cry and
No tears come from my eyes
Carmen prays
And drifts to another place
In that world
Chasan is safe to roam
I am at ease
And she is free to love
But those dreams are corrupted
By my impetuosity
Corrupt fascination
Bent Brilliance
She doesn’t lose her temper
She finds it
And yet she still loves
Because she has the
Blue Eyed Ark with her
Because she has
The Princess tucked away
As I travel the byroads
Writing my lines
As a Dantian reporter
From the underworld

An unbroken cowboy
In love with
The open ranges
In love with
Small town
Dance hall girl
Known as
“Delilah Blue”
A sensuous comet
Streaking across
My sky mind
22 Raven
On her hip
In her pocketbook
A stiletto hidden
By the prosthetic
Of her Little Leg
The sun rises
Every time
Delilah’s eyes open.
She speaks
And my soul is fulfilled
Delilah can figure out
My little boy secrets
With her spirit
We meet
In a mountain desert
But are far
From being dry
On our first date
I ask Delilah
Hey Baby
How you lose
Your leg
She wryly responds
I tire of it
It weighs me down
Bathed in incense
And the
Bittersweet smell
Of love-making
I peek into
Delilah’s soul
Witness a lifetime
Of breaking
And resetting
A body that God
Does not quite complete
One leg shorter
Than the other
A spine
That can’t support
Her height
Which rises
Above the turmoil
The final straw
Comes at the hands
Of five drunken marines
Who rape
Torture her
At the hospital
The doctor says
We can save your life
But maybe not the leg
Cut it off immediately
Cut away the past
Walk into the future
I cry that first date
Hearing HER story
And lay the foundation
For a year of
Twisty Love
I understand her wildness
She consecrates my abandon
Our need to
Be bad
Be with each other
Be in love
Outweighing the risks
At the Metropolitan Museum of Art
As I dive into the torture
Of Van Gogh’s face
Delilah robs a Belgian tourist
Of 3000 dollars
Presents it to me
Here Poppy
Here’s my dowry
Past indiscretions
Come calling
For Delilah and me
During a
Rum and cocaine-choked
Of our first
Year anniversary
I find Delilah
On the bedroom floor
Boozy sighs pouring
From her lips into my ears
Oh, poppy
The pain is so bad
Even my conscience hurts
It’s spring
We’re blind
I know I have to act
And lay a path
For Delilah to escape
And save myself
Who can always figure out
My little boy secrets
She walks into
A local bank
Makes a .357 withdrawal
Leaves me a note
Flies back west
To rest
Under the Volcano
Thanks for the star-spiked rodeo
But I’m fatigued
It weighs me down
I cry reading that note
But understand
Because Delilah shows me
By her example
By her courage
Cut away the past
Walk into the future
You see
You can’t enjoy
The light of reason
Unless you first
The Dark Night
Of the Soul.

I spend my days
Making vertical and
Horizontal calculations
Along crooked streets
Of lights and shadows
Possessed by an
Arrogant ambition
To read
The mind of God
But there's a price to pay
Pain the toll
As I divide my time
Between chasing God
And chasing the Dragon
Combining lethal doses of
Horse beat with cane
A perverse boy meets girl
The gravity of my situation
Bending the light of reason
Cut off from others
Oblivious to their
Opinions and prejudices
I remain
A child at heart
Asking the simplest of questions
But obsessed
With the human equation
How did God make the universe
How did God make it right
How does one plus one equal
Solitude my choice
Because no one
Can take that from me
But as the temporal music
Of my solitude unfolds
So come
The visions and the voices
I listen and I’m transfixed
I am here before it starts
I am here after the end
I’m a hidden treasure
That desires
To Be Known
I create you
The Creation
In order to be known
Trust me
I walk with you
An interior illumination
That allows me to see
Through my soul’s eyes
Becomes messages in “g” forces
That rip the air around me
Becomes a deep well I fall into
Eagerly drinking from its waters
Making a lasting moment
Out of a singular incident
Becomes a shrine
All have access to
I am exhausted
After all that spiritual stuff
I lay down
Perfumed in stolen flowers
Sodden lust
Rocked to sleep
By the cadence of
The Elusive One's
Here's the secret
You have to know life
To recreate life
One more thing
I love you
I love you all


The Literature of the Latino/a Experience and its Relevance
in the English Classroom WEPAwebTV

The literature of the Latino/a experience in the United States of America closes the gap on education in the United States. Voices of concerns have been depicted in newspapers, websites and statistics across America. On November 30, 2003, Fox television featured a segment on its series on education to vividly document stories of children with problems with standardized testing. Even the United States Department of Education has opened an Office (White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans) that is designing, coordinating and finding ways to improve the educational excellence of Latino children. The American educational system is looking for answers and embarking on a journey of redefining its solutions. An alternative to the teaching of literature is the integration of the literature of the Latino/a experience in the English curriculum. 
According to the 2000 United States Census statistics, there are 35.8 million people of Latino origin living in the United States mainland. The ones that migrated to the United States before, during and immediately after World War II, and those who were born and grew up in the United States have come out of the melting pot and have become a vital force developing a voice in American letters today. Latino/a authors have developed a literary voice of their own and are being anthologized by mainstream publishing houses like never before. Piri Thomas, Esmeralda Santiago, Julia Alvarez, Sandra Cisneros, Tato Laviera and Abraham Rodriguez have become household contemporary names that are not only being published and read in American schools but have broken paradigms by interacting, sharing, reading and positively influencing young adult audiences in schools and colleges in the United States.
The study of literature is the only real academic situation in which students have to explore issues that are relevant to their interests. Latino/a literature combines the language, history and the cultural _expression of the Latino/a experience that allows students to examine these themes and make language their own by making personal connections with their lives and background information. The characters in the story, the settings within the conflicts and the poetic language all express the experiences of the recently arrived, and even portray universal situations that all teens go through. Themes include education, identity, varied approaches to race, self-acceptance, self-esteem, peer-pressure, family, domestic violence, sex, mother-son-daughter; father-son-daughter relationships, just to mention a few. Effectively used and integrated, Latino/a literature may improve academic outcomes and provide the preparation needed for students to enhance their scores on city, national and state testing requirements.
Although Latinos have been migrating to the United States since the middle of the 19th century, it is not until the publication of Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas in in 1967 that their presence with a literary awakening became evident. People from all the Caribbean, Central and South America came to the United States inspired by "job opportunities, low air fares and the expectations of those that had already pioneered the way (The Nuyorican Experience, Eugene Mohr p.25).” The sudden and unexpected growth of the United States Latino population brings forth interesting yet unanswered questions. How will present and future governments address the staggering high school dropout rate amongst Latinos? What specific educational proposals will be developed to empower American Latinos to face critical social, economic and political issues in the up-coming years? What strategies, methodologies and innovative ideas will be developed to help Latino teens improve their scores on city, national and state testing requirements? In order for Latinos to have an active role in the world of cyber-space, high-tech and global entrepreneurship, the educational system must produce critical thinkers who can become pro-active participants in society.
Today’s critical thinkers are required by the educational system to be pro-active and master reading and writing skills. Recent studies indicate that there is a strong relationship between reading and writing. Two scholars in the area (Noyce and Christie, 1989) state that the mind assimilates information to explain the missing link between skills and reading/writing. The new Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) will have three sections: reading, writing and math. The changes will provoke spontaneous and widespread curriculum changes in the United States that will without a doubt affect the education of Latinos and other American teens as well. Therefore it is up to teachers to include additional instruction to help students fill in those missing links. Closing the gap on standardized testing means going beyond the classics and traditional literature. The classics will always be part of our curriculum, but Latino/a literature provides children with choices and helps create interest in reading and writing which will in return augment scores in the nations report card, the National Assessment of Educational Progress
 Additional research in the study of young adult literature demonstrates that language is learned through use rather than through practice exercises. Second, children need to be given opportunities to make language their own by making connections with their lives and background information. Finally, A well-designed reading and writing program should provide opportunities for diverse daily reading and various types of writing. There is no need to hide or deny that recent arrivals are confronted with the issue of assimilation.
Assimilation comes in different forms and different colors. In Piri Thomas' short story "The Konk", a young boy straightens his hair to be accepted by friends and family, but once he meets their standards, he is faced with hostility and rejection. In the process of assimilation and belonging, Latinos are faced with situations of race, identity and culture when they adapt and adjust to a new way of life. American Jewish Puerto Rican poet Aurora Levins-Morales explores multiple identities in "Child of the Americas":
I am a child of the Americas
a light-skinned mestiza of the Caribbean
a child of many diaspora, born into this continent at a crossroads

I am a US Puerto Rican Jew
a product of the ghettos of New York I have never known
An immigrant and the daughter and granddaughter of immigrants
(Latino/a Literature in The English Classroom, Manuel Hernández, p.318)

The so-called new literature is like a mirror where teens will be motivated to reflect upon and analyze personal experiences. Before students develop reading comprehension, literary appreciation and written communication skills in another language (English), the student makes a personal connection first. While they develop interest, the appropriate literary environment is created. Then, the transition is established, and Latino/a literature becomes a tool/facilitator whereby the changing in literary lanes occurs systematically and spontaneously with the encouragement and support to drive across the bridge to the other side: the classics.
The literature of the Latino/a experience is not only a bridge and relevant but also essential in the English classroom. I strongly suggest that it should be used to supplement classical literature in the English curriculum in the United States. It is time that this new literature (1967-to the present) be studied at a higher level of literary appreciation and analysis. Especially, over the last twenty years, the stories, poems, novels and plays written by Latino/a writers have become overwhelmingly popular not just in schools and colleges in the United States, but throughout the world.  Just a few years ago, Nuyorican writer, Miguel Piñero was the central figure of a motion picture, and short stories, poetry and essays written by Latino writers frequently appear in major magazines and in numerous classroom anthologies and textbooks. Julia Alvarez's novel, In the Time of the Butterflies, and Josefina Lopez's play, Real Women Have Curves have become major films. PBS recently documented Piri Thomas’ life and literary contribution in the nationally acclaimed; Every Child is Born A Poet. It is time to integrate Latino/a writings to those reading lists in high schools. Secondly, I suggest that the SAT’s should also include at least one or two writings (Latino/a authors) from the reading lists in the exams. If students read them, why not test them on the subject. Finally, I strongly recommend that educators rally and become advocates of Latino/a literature. This is not the work of one, but of many working together to provide teens with the opportunity that by grace we have all received; an education.

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Managing Editor, Published Author, Off Broadway Perrformer, Television/Radio Producer, Subject of Documentaries and Included in various anthologies
Television Producer
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    Television Producer, present
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