I know I am late in starting this project (#lifegotawayfromme), but better late than never?! Wanted to share weekly features - including music, food, movies and books - in celebration of Hispanic (Latinx) Heritage month.
What to Learn More About:
What to Read:
Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle (Author) and Rafael López (Illustrator)
For ages 4 to 7: Inspired by Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, who broke Cuba’s traditional taboo against female drummers, the drum dream girl dreams of playing the congas and the bongós, but must practice in secret because the long held rule on the island is that “Girls cannot drum.”
"Breakbeat Poets vol. 4: Latinext" ed. By Felicia Chavez, Jose Olivarez and Willie Perdomo
The Breakbeat Poets series comes from Haymarket Books and seeks to highlight poetry with hip-hop aesthetics, including single-author works and wider anthologies like this one. Latinext is the first compiled work to include essays from Latino writers located across the U.S. In these pages, you’re sure to find fresh poetry from both familiar names (Jose Olivarez, Citizen Illegal) and new faves.
What to Eat:
Here is a great site for tasty recipes and comprehensive information about Latin food. Raised in Ecuador, Layla started her food blog from her adopted home in Seattle, WA. with the intention to pay homage to her childhood’s sweet and spicy memories.
Acclaimed by many Latin food specialists, her food blog gets first place for the unbelievable amount of work that has gone into her research, the quantity, the quality and the authenticity of the recipes shared, the detailed photos used to illustrate every dish preparation, the super-handy downloadable/printable versions of every recipe and the additional cultural notes that strongly resonates.
What to Watch:
Hamilton (or Moana)
Many of you have already watched it either in the theater or on tv (it is now streaming on Disney+), or have heard about this popular musical...but did you know that it was created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, a Puerto-Rican American? Lin-Manuel is a composer, lyricist, actor, singer, rapper, producer, and playwright. Along with Hamilton, he created and starred in Broadway musical "In the Heights" and has contributed music to Star Wars movies and wrote the music and songs for Moana.
Music/Artists I'll be featured this week on the Edison Otters Pride FB Page:
Monday: Merengue! A type of music and dance, originated in the Dominican Republic. It This one is by Juan Luis Guerra, arguably one of the best merengue/bachata artists ever. He is one of the highest selling Latin-music artists worldwide.
Tuesday: Salsa. My first love. Truth be told, its so hard to find a starting point for salsa music appreciation b/c there are so many great music and musicians out there. There's probably no better place to start than with "The Voice" himself ... Hector Lavoe.
Salsa music and dance style was born in NYC in the 60s combining musical genres from Cuba and Puerto Rico - including Afro-Cuban elements, Son, Latin Jazz, & Bomba. Hector Lavoe is one of the founding Salsa artists and is attributed to popularizing Salsa in the 70s and 80s and is one of the most influential Salsa artists today. Salsa, of course, has become a world-wide phenomena...but what I would give to go back in time and listen to Hector Lavoe with his salsa band live at the Cheetah Club in NYC. There's nothing like listening to a live Salsa band, whether in the 70s or today.
Hector Lavoe has too many great songs to share right now, but will start with classic and a great one to share for Hispanic (LatinX) Heritage Month: "Mi Gente"
Wednesday: Selena – a Mexican-American from Texas. She was an incredibly talented, beautiful, charismatic human. Died at a tragically at too young of an age, at the height of her career. Known as the “Queen of Tejano” music. Tejano was a male-dominated music genre and she was often criticized and refused bookings for being a woman performing in this genre. With her perseverance she was able to create record-breaking albums, winning the Grammy’s (1st female Tejano artist to do so). She has also been credited for making Tejano music “marketable”. Her last album before her death was considered one of the most successful cross-over albums. “Como la Flor” is one of her signature songs. I picked her live performance as it highlights her ability to perform and captivate her the crowd. She has sold around 30 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling female artists in Latin music.
Thursday: Bachata. Aye! What a love affair I have with this musical genre and dance-style. Bachata originated in the Dominican Republic in 60’s. Originating from bolero and son styles and later on, influences of merengue. Bachata become more modernized in the 90s with more of an urban style by bands like Monchy y Alexandra and Aventura. It has since gained world-wide popularity. For a more urban taste of Bachata, enjoy “Solo por un Beso” by Aventura. I like this video because it gives you a taste of what the dancing looks like.
Friday: Mana. No list of influential Hispanic Latinx musicians could exist without Mana. Mexican rock band from Guadalajara. They have won many awards including 4 Grammys. Their ¿Dónde Jugarán Los Niños? album sold over 10 million copies worldwide – making it the best-selling Spanish-language rock album of all time. So many great songs to choose from. I picked this one b/c they created a COVID-19 /shelter-in-place rendition … also, they sound fantastic even as they have aged!