Victor Manuelle revives Salsa

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With the creative collaboration of cinematographer Miguel Ferrer, Victor Manuelle’s video interpretation of “Que suenen los tambore”, became a cultural cascade. Filmed in the beautiful city of Hidalgo, this dynamic duo was able to capture the essence of history with harmony with it came to matters of the heart of Mexico.

“A message of unity, healing and mutual support.”

These lyrics made a strong impact in the hearts of the children and young adults in the city of Hidalgo. Imprinting a strong message of unity not only between cultures but between genders. It’s also defined a clear notion of respect.

To be able to be the voice of the youths of today, and not only protect our culture but emphasize the importance of each and everybody no matter what race or gender is something that Victor holds very dear to his part and has made a priority to accomplish during the up n’ coming year.

Victor Manuelle is looking forward to his tour set to start early next year. With great prestige leaving behind the same heartfelt message in the US, moving onto Latin America and then ending his tour in Puerto Rico.

“On behalf of us, we are bringing joy through our music.”

New Play ‘Of Mothers and Men’!

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February 25 – March 1
Feb 25 at 8:00pm to Mar 1 at 4:00pm

A heartbreaking meditation on the complex lives of women and the people they love. Rendered on stage in vignettes, each a link in the chain of disaster, deception and delectation. Writer, director and owner of The Black Latina Movement, Crystal Shaniece Roman deftly conjures raw experiences and the scars they shape on the soft skin of women.

Support Latino art. See yourself in the play’s cast—characters varied in size, color and shape, an element so painfully lacking in mainstream entertainment today. ‘Of Mothers and Men’ is a dose of what we need to see right now.

Starring
Katya Collazo
Cassandra Johnson
Teniece Divya Johnson
Apryl Lopez
Crystal S. Roman
Melissa Roth
J.F. Seary
Jenelle Simone Valle

Bringing Out the Good in Latino Neighborhoods: El Barrio and East Harlem

NYCBad neighborhoods are found in most major cities across America, there is no question about that. No matter how much law enforcement there is or how much curfew is enforced, there will still be some areas that are just not safe to be around.

Lately, however, some neighborhoods like El Barrio and East Harlem have changed over the years and people are moving to other affordable areas that carry the same arts and culture scene as their old neighborhoods.

Real estate plays a big part in any neighborhood in so that the more expensive housing weeds out those who cannot afford it and conversely, the areas that are the cheapest usually have those people who are in situations where that is all they can afford. Naturally, more crime would happen here because of the amount of people in the same financial situation.

On the flip side of everything, not only food, but music brings people together and essentially make the areas perceived as “good”. The birth place of salsa is credited to El Barrio and brought in people like Tito Puente, Frank Grillo, and Celia Cruz to keep music alive.

Additionally, activism is another aspect in all parts of life. It is essential for people to be active in pursuing their dreams and get themselves out of whatever situation they come across. So many resources are available to where people simply have to go out and ask for help. So many support and civic groups specialize in this area to where people have been given the tools to succeed and that is what is keeping the neighborhoods going today.

A sub area of activism is preserving the culture. An area would not be unique without native culture, food, festivals and the arts to represent the area. The community comes together and that is what makes an area good again where positive influence in shown not just by words, but numbers as well.

Finding the good in almost all situations is much healthier than seeking or remembering the bad. Just like people, most neighborhoods do turn around. It may take an extra length of time, but being proactive about it is better than doing nothing at all.

LatinTRENDS End of Summer Industry Event Recap

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With music blaring from the outside, attendees were eager to get in Stage 48 and celebrate the LatinTRENDS End of Summer Labor Day Industry Event. The event offered the red carpet, food and of course favorite Latin music. In attendance were bloggers, filmmakers, photographers, civic leaders, politicians, local celebrities, entrepreneurs, DJ’s, and key influences. This event was co-hosted by five time GRAMMY® winner and salsa superstar Gilberto Santa Rosa.

The experience at the event was incredible. Making the event happened is just as important as being on stage performing. There is so much prep work that goes into running an event, not to mention hosting it. Sending out newsletters, emails, reminders, calling media, making sure there are photographers, bloggers, volunteers, food and drinks being provided and so much more.

In addition to inviting the guests, before the event, there had to be more prep work to get done and that is setting up the venue. This is where it is tricky because you have many volunteers coming at all different times and trying to help with each individual items including balloons, sound crews making sure the sound worked, featured guests practicing and tuning up for the night, and having magazines ready to go to hand out at the end of the night.

Once all the back work was completed and the venue set up, it came time to let the guests in to join the party. Checking people in is very fun and could get a little bit hectic at times when entire crowds of people come in all at once. But the most fun part is being able to talk to the guests for a brief moment and get to know our readers just a little more. Some of the guests and their invitees came at once and others came in alone. Nonetheless, the line moved fairly quickly and people were able to enter in a rather timely manner.

Upon entering the venue, music was already being played and performances throughout the night were by Bachata Heightz and DJ New Era. The crowd got going and several were dancing along. It was great to hear some new music and to see what was trending these days in the Latino community and culture. So much chatter went on throughout the night; it was even hard to hear the person talking next to you.

As the night went on, people seemed to be enjoying themselves in having a good time and do something different for a warm Tuesday night. It was a time to celebrate with LatinTRENDS, the industry and being Latino/a. People were able to let loose and have fun. Towards the end of the night, September issues of the magazines were given out to the guests and many people came by thanking for such a great event.

No matter who you are or where you come from, being at an event that is different than your culture makes you stop and realize that every culture has its own unique way of celebrating their heritage and way of life. Step out of your comfort zone and be open-minded to other cultures.

Tego Calderón: 100% Real

[Originally published in DTM Magazine Issue #30; July/August 2006].

 

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Tego’s 2002 debut, El Abayarde, has sold an estimated 210,000 to date, and El Enemy de Los Guasibiri – last year’s greatest-hits collection – sold at least 102,000 and left fans hungry for his forthcoming third joint, The Underdog.

For Tego Calderón, the most important part of his name and career is his being an original figure. “It makes me happy to be who I am and know that I don’t have to put on a fake persona. I am the same everywhere I go,” he says with pride. It’s precisely his sincerity and unique style, when he tells what he is thinking that stands out about his personality.

Tego states that his new production The Underdog/El Renegado, is a reflection of how he feels. He explains that the disc, which will be released within the next few months, will bring his fans something different. “I have included themes that have not been touched before as I tried to fill a void within the genre. I am very happy because it’s a good production unlike anything that’s currently in the market,” he added. He says that one of the most appealing aspects of the album is that it includes salsa. He proudly explained that the Afro-Antillean culture is present in the album and that the production includes collaboration with musical greats. That salsa was included in this album should not come as a surprise to anyone who has followed his career.

Tego confesses to DTM that he is not a fan of reggaeton, but he is a faithful follower of salsa. He recalls a few years back how his entrance into the genre was not something he expected. “I’m not a fan of reggaeton. I was accepted with the song Cosa Buena,” he says in between smiles. Tego explains that during that time his goal was to breakaway, with the false belief that hip-hop artists, like himself, could not sing reggaeton. “For many that wasn’t allowed. Later they also said that those who sung reggaeton were sell outs. I decided to ‘throw in’ something witty about that. That’s how it all started. Of course, if there is someone I have to mention, of whom I am a disciple and I admire it’s Vico-C.”

Tego has created his empire without a rush. Without caring about how difficult it is, this is the terrain that he seems to enjoy, free from the stress of envy that his style has created. “I don’t complicate myself. Many things entertain me, the majority of which are very simple. I like to go out with my family; I enjoy looking out at the sea, the fishes. I’m fascinated by anything having to do with the sea. My house overlooks reefs and for me being in my house is what entertains me the most,” he said.

Reggaeton is a music that has broken boundaries, without caring about language or culture. Everyday new representatives of the rhythm pop on the scene and for Tego this is a good sign, because he feels the genre needs to receive a fresh dose of creativity. He says that he was in Venezuela, among many other places, and that the movement there can be compared to an epidemic. He believes that the reggaeton movement benefits from these new artists, but only if the roots of reggaeton aren’t forgotten. “If they come to preserve the genre and they do what they have to do that’s great! They are definitely welcomed. At this moment, however, many similar products are being released from Puerto Rico, without much originality,” he said.

Tego is a relaxed conversationalist and he doesn’t seem to complicate himself with existential problems. He considers himself a strong man and who feels that the best way to channel sadness or anger is by further strengthening oneself. He says that his songs come out of a thousand and one motive that crosses his mind as he is about to write. “Everything inspires me. A good beat is a lot of times my inspiration. I listen and think: ‘this is a challenge, this is difficult, and this motivates me.’ On an occasion when something sad happens to me or I’m upset, I’ll channel it through music. But if I’m sad, that doesn’t necessarily mean that something sad will come out of it. The way in which I deal with sadness is with strength and feelings, but not by crying. I overcome difficult times with strength, I leave crying for motherhood!” he says.

The release of The Underdog does not intimidate Tego. He knows what he is capable of, and, although he sees his career at a crucial point, he considers himself prepared. He explains that it’s a challenge because he feels he has to prove that he can repeat what he did three years ago with the production of El Abayarde. “I don’t’ see challenges, all this for me is part of a crusade that I myself chose.” In the same way, he confesses that he has dreams. “Recording with Juan Luis Guerra and Ruben Blades is without a doubt one of my dreams. It would be an honor. They are two great artists which I have much respect for and an example for any artist to follow.”

In addition to his musical work Tego Calderón is submerged in a project named Bling: A Planet of Rock. The project, which was created by the Dominican-American reporter Raquel Cepeda, plans to unite hip-hop and reggaeton artists in Africa, among them Kanye West and Jadakiss. This project seeks to connect the artists with the people of Africa’s Sierra Leon and the daily drama they live through. It is a documentary about tragedy, stemming from the civil war that arose out of the market for diamonds. The hip-hop and reggaeton stars are the protagonists because they are among the primary consumers of the stone. “Given the fascination for diamonds, the objective is finding out the reality that these people live only so that we can show off these diamonds. People without arms and families destroyed are only a few of the horrendous situations that they suffer. I think that the idea is that we change our way of thinking in respect to diamonds and that we continue spreading the message. I am open to it and I think that the objective can work for me,” he concludes.

First Fridays Free Event

This weekend is the 57th Annual Puerto Rican Day Parade Un Pueblo, Muchas Voces”/“One Nation, Many Voices”. Start the weekend off on the right foot and begin your celebrations tonight starting at 6:00 PM at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. In honor of the dynamic and diverse Puerto Rican culture First Fridays is celebrating Arturo Schomburg and Afro-Puerto Rican Pride. Check out their wonderful exhibits, sign-up for a membership, and visit our Schomburg Gift Shop while networking and dancing the night away in honor of Puerto Rican Pride. The event will also offer beer tastings by Sugar Hill Beers. DJ Rick will be spinning the ones and twos all night. Make sure to arrive early for this absolutely FREE event due to its first come, first seated basis.

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The Loisaida Fest Transformed the Lower East Side!

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Memorial Day Weekend oozed Puerto Rican and Latino with the 2014 Loisaida Festival edition that transformed the Lower East Side’s Loisaida into a celebration of art, culture, and community. From May 23rd to May 25th, #LoisaidaFest celebrated Latino historical and contemporary contributions to downtown, bridging cultural and generational divides.

Friday, May 23, kicked off the three days of celebrations with Performing Loisaida: A Poets’ Jam in the Spirit of the New Rican Village at City Lore, 56 E 1st Street. The evening brought together six virtuosos of Downtown poetry, Urayoán Noel, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, David Henderson, Sandra María Esteves, Jesús “Papoleto” Meléndes, and Edwin Torres in the spirit of the lesser known conceptual space, the New Rican Village, which catalyzed many community-centered fusions with a utopian sensibility. Latin Jazz master Bobby Sanabria accompanied the poets with his precise, elegant sounds. The dynamic, raw and successful literary evening captured the neighborhood’s ethos.

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On Saturday, May 24, The Production of Nabe: Loisaida’s land-use and environmental activism, past and present took place at the New Loisaida Center, 710 E 9th Street. The afternoon opened with a screening of three vintage documentaries about Loisaida’s sweat equity, community garden and environmental initiatives in the 70s followed by the oral narratives of old-time activists and players from Loisaida’s urban appropriation movement. The event concluded with a presentation of the Festival’s resident artists—Papel Machete—on their work with Loisaida residents in the creation of a music, visual art and narrative piece about the stories of community struggle and resistance in the neighborhood. Throughout, the day made clear that the DIY spirit the Lower East Side has come to be known for can be traced back to Loisaida, its people and their struggles.

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On Sunday, May 25th, Loisaida Inc. celebrated the 27th Annual Loisaida Festival, held from 6th to 12th Streets in the Avenue C commercial corridor from 12:00pm to 5:00pm. Puerto Rican and Latino cultures came to life on this day through music, cuisine and arts. Emceed by Ismael Cruz Córdova of the “The Good Wife” and “Sesame Street,” and Nicole Betancourt of Steven Soderbergh’s “The Argentine,” the Festival’s Main Stage offered a diverse musical lineup: The Afro-Caribbean-meets New York City bomba and plena rhythms of Los Pleneros de La 21, the nostalgic big band revival of Rafael Hernandez’ greatest hits by Teatro Sea’s Romance, the alternative Latino-Jamaican grooves of award winning Puerto Rican singer Mimi Maura, and the jazzy and baroque arrangements of Flor de Toloache, the first all-woman mariachi in NYC, and the old-school salsa brava of the legendary Henry Fiol, a Loisaida neighbor for the first time performing on its stage.

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The Festival also re-instated the Loisaida Awards to recognize those who’ve left their mark on Loisaida. This year’s awards went to City Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito; Council Member Rosie Mendez; Street Artist, Antonio “Chico” Garcia; Owner and Chef of Loisaida’s iconic Casa Adela, Adela, and a posthumous recognition to foundational Nuyorrican poet and community organizer Tato Laviera.

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The Street Level experience brought a mix of high human energy and “low-tech” artistry that displayed cultural traditions. Diverse workshops in movement, performance, folklore, arts and crafts showcased the work of independent artists and artisans that represent diverse ethnic groups and nationalities. Capoeira demonstrations coexisted with a ‘Pimp my Piragua’ urban performance by artist Miguel Luciano at Loisiada.

As part of the programming, Papel Machete debuted its finished piece at La Plaza Cultural Community Garden, located at 9th Street and Avenue C, where Loisaida Inc. produced its first Theater Lab hosted by Yarani del Valle with some of the city’s cutting-edge Latino theater companies that included Pregones Theater/ Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, One-Eighth Theater, Caborca Theater, and Teatro SEA.

The Festival featured a revamped culinary experience with an array of delicious home-made ethnic cuisines that included Puerto Rican and Latino staples and incorporated local businesses joining the festival for the first time such as El Castillo de Jagua, Rayuela, Macondo, and Pushcart Coffee, amongst many others.

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The three day Loisaida Fest curated by urban anthropologist Libertad Guerra marked the beginning of a new and transformed festival committed to building and fostering culture, channeling the resilience and character of the neighborhood in a contemporary way.

 

Third Annual Mothers Day Walk

If you’re looking for an alternative activity to do with your mom this weekend; this is a worthy event to consider! The 3rd Annual Brooklyn Bridge Mother’s Day Walk; Multi-Cultural Concert is a New York City tradition, created by Life Coach, Speaker and Author, Dawn Diaz to raise funds and awareness for her non-profit organization Milagros Day Worldwide, which provides leadership and mentorship programs for survivors of domestic violence.
 
Milagros stands for Miracle and is also the name of Dawn’s mother. Dawn founded Milagros Day Worldwide in honor of her mother; who suffered through Domestic Violence for years and only six months after taking back her freedom and leaving the abuse she passed away in a tragic automobile accident.
 
“This is a day to honor and acknowledge the love of all mothers, pay tribute to those we have lost, and recognize the accomplishments of those who have overcome domestic violence and are making a difference in the world,” Dawn says.
 
What better way to spend your Mother’s Day than for an inspiring cause along with an amazing concert and celebrity guest speakers. Keynote speakers for the day will be Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, VH1 reality TV star Renee Graziano, Celebrity Life Coach Karen Hoyos , Univision News Anchor Merijoel Duran,Community Advocate Tony Herbert and Motivational Speaker Minister Lamor Whitehead. To name a few performers; the concert is featuring C+C music factory artist Scarlett Santana, break through singer and songwriter David Anthony Diaz who has also graced the Apollo stage, Motivational Opera Singer, Speaker & Coach Carol Froelich amongst an array of other entertainers and performers. There will also be a special performance by Jason Dobson from Hunks for Hope.
 
The event is open to all ages so whether you’re a mama to be, a new mommy, or a veteran mom; bring the whole family this event is for you! The morning starts off with a Zumba warm-up before the official press-conference at City Hall Park in Manhattan. Participants will then walk across the Brooklyn Bridge in peaceful reflection while enjoying the magnificent views of New York City; followed by a multi-cultural concert.
 

If you can’t make the walk or concert; there will also be a comedy show after party loaded with much joy and loud laughter at the Brooklyn Colony. Featuring Matt Richards, Rob Dibella, Rob Torres along with our headliner animal lover, philanthropist, actor, author, Comedian extraordinaire Dan Frigolette. There’s still time to get your tickets and donate to this honorable cause!

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Puerto Rican Heritage Celebration

I get asked about once a week “What are you?”. My immediate response is always “A human“. Which is questionable with how strange of a person I can be. I always know what they mean; I am a proud puertorican lady. I’m more Nuyorican than anything due to my Brooklyn up bringing and my fluency in Spanglish. My culture is an obvious part of my life when it comes to food, my love of salsa and how loud I speak when I’m hanging around my family. With all seriousness; knowing your culture is huge! My fellow Boricua’s and all other ethnicities looking to learn about different cultures; what better way to become more knowledgeable than this Puerto Rican Heritage Celebration at the Liberty Center in Elizabeth NJ tomorrow at 6 PM. Connection Productions and Danza Fiesta is offering live music, traditional Puerto Rican foods, art, story telling and a special performance by Danza Fiesta. This event sounds a lot more fun and interesting than those traditional history classes we sat through in school and it’s FREE! For more information call 908-249-5883.
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Las Marthas Documentary Presentation: a 114 Year Old Tradition

Tribeca Film Institute

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In every culture there are always going to be misconceptions because stereotypes have lived with us forever. Having a discussion, learning about the culture or showing what the culture is about through a movie are some of the ways that the misconceptions could almost disappear being that people are learning the truth as opposed to hearing something different.

The documentary featured on February 11 was Las Marthas directed by Cristina Ibarra. To briefly state, is about the rite of passage in Laredo, Texas where Mexican-American debutantes are presented at a grand Colonial ball dressed as American revolutionaries, which is a 114 year old tradition. The ball is held around the time of George Washington’s birthday and many communities make the celebrations month long by celebrating through binational and bicultural events.

The take away of the documentary is to break down the stereotypes and propaganda that the media puts out there about the Latino culture. One point that one of the debutantes emphasized was that once a person was represented, it was not ‘one woman be up here and the other woman be down here’—everyone is equal; you are just representing a part.

The documentary is the inaugural Tribeca Film Institute Heineken Voces Award Recipient. There is also a link here about other documentary filmmakers from around the country including Cristina Ibarra.

After the documentary, there was a panel discussion where the audience was able to ask questions about the documentary and a small reception followed it.