Reggaeton

AMARA LA NEGRA

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Famous for her hips movements, her huge afro and an imposing presence that quickly grab the attention anywhere she goes, Dana Danelys De los Santos, better known in the music world as Amara La Negra, is an urban artist who has earned the respect of millions of fans since she began singing professionally in 2013.

This artist, with her light-colored eyes and impressive beauty began her career in entertainment at the age at 4 years-old when she won a beauty pageant for girls in Univision’s “Sabado Gigante” TV show.

“I later was part of a segment where children would talk with Don Francisco. That taught me to be self-confident. Thanks to that opportunity, I became a dancer at the Latin Grammys, Premios Lo Nuestro and for many important performers,”

said Amara.

Born and raised in Miami by Dominican parents, from an early age she felt she had art and music in her blood.

“I live for the stage. The adrenaline I feel when I grab the microphone and see the audience can’t compare to anything else. I live for that moment. I live for music,”

said the exuberant singer of Dominican descent.

Despite her years of preparation in dance, acting and singing schools, the performer has closely encountered the ugly face of racism and the rejection of some media – Latino media in particular-for her skin color.

“They never consider that a woman like me can represent Latinas. They are always looking for someone like Shakira, Sofia Vergara or Jennifer Lopez. I am fighting to break this stereotype because I am proud of who I am, of my roots, of my “bad hair” and I know that many Latinas identify with me. “

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One of the most important moments in this 25-year-old artist’s career was having the chance to play Celia Cruz in a documentary about the life of the legendary salsa singer.

“To me, Celia Cruz was an inspiration for her charisma and things she was able to achieve. I grew up listening to Tina Turner, La India and Olga Tañon. These women gave me strength and inspired me to want to be like them.”

She said

On several occasions, Amara has been harshly criticized and deemed immoral due to her song lyrics and her sexy movements. This does not worry her, as she knows that the same people who attack her are the same people who later support and applaud North American stars such as Rihanna or Miley Cyrus who has a similar style.

The singer said to be grateful for her success, and told us that her mother has been her rock, her support in this challenging career.

“My mom is my other half, my heart; and you cannot live without your heart.”

She describes herself as fresh, daring and very bold.

She is certain that her career is on the rise and says that she can feel and taste success already. When the time comes to say thank you, she includes her “haters” for being a part of her success and for giving her the drive to do everything they say cannot be done.

“I’m not afraid of anything, I take a chance and jump and, what I don’t know something, I learn. And as my mother says, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”

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Zion y Lennox Motivando

 

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Image: turbo98.com

Originally published in the April 2015 issue of LatinTRENDS Magazine

By Eddie Olmo

Pioneers from the explosion of Reggaetón into the international scene, Zion y Lennox have been motivating the urban youth to dance to their music all over the world. They have released hits like “Hay Algo En Ti,” “Yo Voy” and “Doncella” that have had people dancing to this exotic music without degrading women. Zion Y Lennox have enjoyed a great deal of success, but at the same time they have had to deal with obstacles that have left these two artists to release their new album independently. “Motivando” is the latest sequel to their discography, adding the fusion of all the latest melodies and features to make this one of their most comprehensive albums yet.

Why did you decide to split up and then come back together as a duo?

We separated for a short time to work on individual projects. Zion came out with “Perfect Melody” and was working with Arcangel and De La Ghetto and I worked on an album titled “Los Mero Mero,” which never surfaced. I also started a clothing line, but everyone wanted us to get back together so we did it for our fans. After Zion and Lennox’ contract with Pina Record expired, there was a clause that gave Zion and Lennox the option to stay with Pina or to exit the label. Zion and Lennox hired auditors to check the books before they exited the company, and they concluded that Pina Records owed Zion and Lennox more money than they had been paid. Zion y Lennox sued Pina Record for $2.6 million. This aggravated producer Pina to the extent that in a presentation of Pina artists in Florida, Raphy punched Zion twice onstage, leaving him unconscious for a few minutes.

What is the end result in the dispute between Zion and Raphy Pina?

After that incident, Raphy asked Zion for forgiveness and Zion forgave him. We actually left Pina Records and we are working on our own independent label Baby Records.

How’s life after Pina? Is it a lot harder as independent artist?

There’s a lot more work. It’s a lot harder but it’s going good for us. We did our first concert as independent artists at the Puerto Rican Coliseum José Miguel Agrelot. We had two sold-out shows.

Tell us about your new project.

Yes, we are promoting our new album “Motivando,” which is like a sequel to “Motivando a la Yal,” which was our debut album.

Why has Zion y Lennox lasted so long in the industry?

Because we are consistent. We have changed with the times. We are always 100% with then ew styles. We are not jealous; we collaborate with everyone. We don’t let our ego get to us.

What You Didn’t about Chino y Nacho

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Chino and Nacho were just two kids with big dreams for musical stardom. One was an athlete and the other already knew he wanted to become a world renowned artist some day.

Before they became the popular reggaeton duo, they were simply Jesús Alberto Miranda Pérez (Chino) and Miguel Ignacio Mendoza (Nacho) from Venezuela.

Pérez came from Caracas, the capital of Venezuela and Mendoza came from Lecherias. Although they lived four and a half a part from each other, their paths would one day collide.

Not content with being a star athlete in sports such as baseball, and hoping to one day make his mark as a renowned artist, Pérez put all his passion into making music.

First he joined “Scala 1” and then “Censorship C“, both of which had hits, but were modestly successful as a group.

Mendoza was known for being a singer, dancer and composer since he was a child. Him pursuing music full time seemed like a natural progression.

Mendoza started to gain attention by being in the salsa band “Children’s Swing“, which toured the Zulia state and other surrounding cities for years, followed by appearances on the reality television show Venevision Generation “S” with his polyphonic group “Balance.”

Because of their charisma and talent, they were both soon discovered by Johnny Nunez and ended up joining the merengue hip hop group “Calle Ciega.” The other members of that group were Kent Barry James (Kent), Luis Fernando Romero (Luifer) and Emilio Vizcaino (Emilio).

Chino Y Nacho appeared on the cover of LatinTRENDS Magazine in November 2014. See Their Video shout out below:

Within that group they made five albums and helped to create the popular hit song ” Mi Cachorrita.” During that time, the groups sound changed from merengue to more dance style reggaeton.

As the two members continued to explore more musical styles, they formed the duo Chino y Nacho. Their music incorporated merengue, reggaeton, pop, reggae and salsa. In a few years they went from being popular in their home country of Venezuela to becoming international superstars once their first album “Época de Reyes” started gaining traction in other Latin American countries and then the United States.

The duo is not all about making music all the time. They like to serve their community. They take part in Education Through Music which raises money to help support music education programs in schools. They also participate in St. JudesThanks and Giving Campaign. This aids children with cancer and their families by providing schooling, housing and treatment for childhood cancer.

Fun Facts

  • Nacho bought plane tickets for a couple stranded at the airport after they missed their flight
  • Chino considered becoming a professional baseball player
  • They were judges on Simon Cowell’s “El Factor X Kids” in Mexico
  • They have an app to stay connected with their fans
  • Chino has dreams of making films in Venezuela when he is not making music

 

What You Didn’t Know about Calle 13

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Calle 13 is a Puerto Rican alternative urban band consisting of stepbrothers René Pérez Joglar (lead singer, songwriter), Eduardo José Cabra Martínez (multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, beat producer) and their half-sister Ileana Cabra Joglar (backing vocals). Their stage names are Residente, Visitante and PG-13.

Calle 13 likes to blend different musical styles like reggaeton, rap and rock. While other Latino groups tend to stick to the format, Calle 13 likes to buck tradition. The group is known for using a wide range of instruments from all over the world and using provocative, tongue-in-cheek as well as socially conscientious lyrics.

Everything sounds the same on the radio…but what we are making is sincere, and I think that’s worth something.”

The band also takes on social issues facing Puerto Ricans, Latinos and people all over the world. As the frontman of the band, Residente has no problem vocalizing the group’s stance on certain topics concerning music, politics and discrimination.

The siblings are big supporters for and independent Puerto Rico, Pérez is an ally of the LGBTQ community, and the brothers go out of their way not to make music about violence, misogyny and materialism.

I want Puerto Rico to be free and independent and have just one flag. The people here don’t work the way they should, and it’s because of the comfort they are feeling from you guys, from the States. We have a very low self-esteem. We feel that we can’t do it on our own. We as a country need to feel proud about our nation.”

Calle 13 is currently touring in Spain. Their next show is on July 14 at Recinto Ferial De Son Fusteret and July 18 at Auditorio Natural de Lanuza

Fun Facts

  • The group got their name from the street they use to live on when their parents were married
  • Residente is afraid of airplanes
  • Visitante use to lead a ska-reggae band called Bayanga
  • Their tour band consists of 20-25 members
  • Residente would one day love to be a film director or writer

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What You Didn’t Know about Aventura

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Aventura is the first bachata group to originate from the United States instead of the Dominican Republic. It consists of Anthony “Romeo” Santos, Henry Santos, Max Santos and Lenny Santos, also known as the modern “Bachata Kings.” Romeo and Henry are cousins who are coincidently friends of the brothers Max and Lenny despite having the same last name and all four of them growing up in the Bronx.

The band got its start when Romeo, a shy prepubescent choirboy, wrote poetry for a girl he had a crush on, and when he started listening to bachata music with his father at home. After finding his voice at the church and being moved by bachateros like Antony Santos, or El Mayimbe, with whom he has a similar name, he decided to pursue music seriously.

The original group’s moniker, “Los Teenagers de la Bachata,” consisted of Romeo as the composer/singer, Lenny as the guitarist/arranger and four other people in the pure bachata band. After playing in local festivals throughout New York during the boy band craze of the 1990s, the Dominican producer, Julio Cesar Garcia, revamped the group.

He added Max as bass/guitarist, Lenny as an additional composer/singer, focused the group to the four Santos boys, and encouraged them to break away from the old traditional bachata style, and embrace their eclectic love of different musical genres alongside bachata.

“Usual Bachata music was a guy in a guitar crying over a woman, we wanted to do it different… If a girl doesn’t like me – then forget her, I’ll go to the next girl, and this is the type of music we wanted to make,” said Romeo.

At first the group only found esteem in its native New York after the release of its first album, “Generation Next.” It wasn’t until their chart topping sophomore album, “We Broke the Rules” came out strong with the record breaking single “Obsesion” that it became world famous. Obsesion first garnered success by becoming a number one song overseas in several countries in Europe before being a hit in the United States. The spanglish version of the song further escalated the group, and Romeo became the first Hispanic to win an American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers award.

With this newfound achievement came backlash. Many artists and traditional listeners of bachata didn’t acknowledge the group because they didn’t dress like bachateros and they found the Aventura bachata-hip-hop-rap-rock-reggaeton fusion sound to stray too far from the old ways of the music. But Aventura stuck to its ways and continued to make songs that had a bachata backbone (songs of yearning that start with a spoken intro and repetitive chords) fused with mostly hip-hop and sometimes reggaeton beats.

“What I hate is the ‘haters’. There are a lot of haters in this industry, who just can’t accept that we did something new, we brought a new style, we are still up here, we’re not going anywhere and you’ve got to deal with us.”

Since 2000, the group has made nine albums, sold four million records in the U.S. and sold-out concerts at Madison Square Garden several times. After 2011, the members of the group have decided to follow their own musical paths. Max and Lenny created the group D’Element and Henry and Romeo are on solo artists.

Romeo is touring throughout the United States for his sophomore album “Formula Vol.2,” and Henry second album, “Henry Santos’ My Way,” will be released on June 25th. Earlier this year, in January, Lenny had spoken about there being a possible Aventura reunion for the future.

Fun Facts

  • They have been inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame
  • The entire group is of Dominican descent, but Romeo is also half Puerto Rican
  • They all attended South Bronx High School
  • Lenny and Max didn’t think the group would disband until Henry decided to go solo
  • Obsesion was number one in seven countries and is considered in France to be the 19th best-selling song of the 21st century

 

By Naeisha Rose

 

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J Balvin Apologizes For Viral Joke About Women From Bogotá

J Balvin denying there's beautiful women in Bogotá

J Balvin denying there’s beautiful women in Bogotá

J Balvin, the Colombian born reggaeton superstar, posted a public apology after he found himself in hot water when he made a joke that unfortunately for him went viral about the Colombian women from Bogotá that was not well received by… well, people from Bogotá.

J Balvin, who appeared on the cover of LatinTrends magazine, posted three apologies on his Instagram account (English, Spanish and… umm, Colombian?).

The artist formerly known as “I’m sooooo sorry for that joke. It was a joke. Damn, I’m in trouble,” was being interviewed in the New York radio station La Mega 97.9 FM. Balvin, who arrived at the station straight from the airport, was asked, “where you’re coming from?”

“Bogotá,” he responded quickly.

“Are there a lot of beautiful women in Bogotá?” the DJ asks.

“In Bogotá?” Balvin inquires. “Yes,” he answers while emphatically wagging his fingers “Noooo”.

The Colombian media jumped on the story once fans, supporters and haters of J Balvin commented on social media about the viral 15 second long video that shows him denying Bogotá’s beautiful women.

Balvin, who is from Medellin where the drug lord Pablo Escobar reigned, posted a three-part apology.

“I’m officially apologizing to the women of Bogotá,” Balvin said on an Instagram video. “I never said they were bad looking, but my hand gesture was a joke. A joke that fell flat. As a man, I understand they were offended. And the people of Bogotá too… I’m sorry, I apologize and I’ll learn from this.”

Nicky Jam Finally Lands No. 1 on Billboard Chart

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DJs, fans and many in the music industry believe that 2015 will finally be Nicky Jam’s year as he scores his first No. 1 on the Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart with his single “El Perdon” featuring Enrique Iglesias, who is also dominating the charts.

Nicky Jam, 34, has always been a fixture in the Hot Latin Songs charts. Since 2004 he’s had six other tracks rocking his Latin urban party anthems but never climbed up the No. 1 spot that so many artists desperately wants. According to Nielson Music, Nicky’s latest single has recently earned a 64 percent gain in sales, which is 6, 000 downloads in only his fifth week on the charts.

Nicky, also known as El Cangri, has been active in the reggaeton genre since 1994 and has created memorable hits like “Guayando”, “Voy A Beber” and “Travesura” to name a few. Since his relationship with long time friend and rap duo Daddy Yankee, has gone astray, Nicky hasn’t been able to push out a successful solo album. But now that the duo rekindled their friendship (aaawwe, que lindo), moving to Colombia and recently signing with Sony Music Latin last February, Nicky is starting to experience the international solo success that he’s always craved.

Recently, Nicky’s single “Travesura” from his 2014 album “Hits” was nominated for a 2015 Billboard Latin Music Award for Latin Rhythm Song of the Year. Nicky also holds the most appearances on various artist albums, which was held by his buddy Daddy Yankee. He’s currently touring North America with Don Omar and other popular reggaeton artists.

Daddy Yankee’s Song “Palabras Con Sentido” Defends Latin Urban Music

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Daddy Yankee, the leader of the Latin urban music that captivated the world with club hits, is now making a conscious statement with a new song.

Yankee’s conscious Spanish rap, “Palabras Con Sentido” (Meaningful Words), which premiered on his YouTube channel and has garnered more than 1.4 million views in a week, argues that reggaeton is not responsible for the ills of Puerto Rico (the country that birthed the musical genre).

On Yankee’s new song, he calls his first verse “Las victimas” (The victims) and lyrically showcases the police brutality the youths go through just for listening to urban music. “I remember like yesterday for just listening to music they would treat you like a criminal/ they’ll arrest you violating your rights” the song says.

In Yankee’s website, his social media and now his song he continues to defend and argue with critics who say that the popular Latin urban music genre exploits sex, drugs and crimes. Daddy Yankee says that it’s not true; instead it’s the government that criminalizes the youths with a horrible educational system.

Yankee writes in his website:

It can transform the reality of a country through urban music because this music, like any other, causing social transformation. Urban music, considered part of Puerto Rican culture is growing and exceeds between supporters and detractors, often victims of our system.

“People are creating spaces and is appropriating education because they do not trust the school system. Thousands of children and young people are today in the streets uneducated victims of society and discrimination

Polito Vega: The King of Radio

[Originally published in DTM Magazine Issue #61; September 2009].

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By: Javier Castaño

He was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. He’s a frustrated singer. He seldom takes his cap off. He speaks loud and most of his fans recognize him by his voice. In his basement office in midtown Manhattan, he likes to talk about music – any kind of music, from salsa to reggaeton.

Salsa is the genre that has giving me more satisfaction. I love Cha Cha Cha, Guajira and Changó, but the most beautiful of all is Son Montuno. Salsa is alive and it is going to be alive forever,” he said while talking over the cellular phone with friends and collegues.

You’ve probably figured out who we’re referring to. He’s the same person that hosts a radio program on weekends about salsa (Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 8PM.) His name is Polito Vega and his charismatic smile has been the same all these years.

Polito Vega was born on August 3, 1938 and was raised in La Playa de Ponce before he came to New York in 1959. Radio is the only profession he has known. He’s been a commentator and was forced to work the night shift when he was learning to communicate to people via microphone from an isolated radio cabin. He also worked for Telemundo television for three years, hosting the show Club de la Juventud. Then he went back to radio.

His first show was Fiesta Time in 1960 on WEVD-AM radio station. “At that time I was afraid of speaking in front of a microphone, but I started gaining the approval of management and what is more important, getting accepted by the public,” said Polito Vega., while smiling and posing for some pictures. “I am tired of being interviewed and I don’t want to pose for any more photos.”

The reason why he’s being persuaded by the media is because Polito Vega is celebrating 50 years as the King of Radio in the Hispanic market of New York City. He has not worked in another city but he is well known on the East Coast of this country and Puerto Rico. At 73 years old, Polito Vega feels satisfied. “I have accomplished my more important goal by going through five decades of working in radio without interruptions. I had difficult times and always tried to do my best,” he added.

When asked about the lowest and highest points in his career, he thought for a few seconds, leaned back, breathed deeply and said: “At the beginning I thought I wouldn’t had problems. Until a new boss came in 1963 and canceled my show of romantic music called Carrusel Melodico. I felt really depressed and took me a few years to compose myself again. My highest point is when I’m being honored with a two-day concert at Madison Square Garden. I feel very good having all these musicians performing in my honor. I am the happiest man alive.”

The celebration is being organized by Spanish Broadcasting System, which owns WPAT-93.1 FM Amor and WSKQ-97.9 FM Mega in New York City, among other radio stations in the United States. Polito Vega is recognized by two phrases: “Cambio, cambio,” that he used in the past, and “Andando, andando,” that he currently uses to attract the attention of the people who listen to him every week. He plays salsa, but also boleros and even reggaeteon. “To survive, I have to learn and adapt to new trends in music taste,” he said. “And nobody is saying that it is easy.”

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During the early 1960s the radio stations only played guitar music and some trios and boleros. Musicians like Machito, Felipe Rodriguez, Tito Rodriguez and Tito Puente were around, but no DJ played their music. It was Polito Vega who played the first salsa single, which was brought to him by Jerry Masucci, founder of Fania Records. The 45-rpm record was made by Johnny Pacheco and entitled ‘El Campeon.’ Then came Che Che Cole by Wille Colon and that was when salsa really started in the Big Apple. Polito Vega was there the whole time backing the music.

If you want success in life, you have to study and prepare for changes. Leave the ego behind and treat people with decency and respect. I try no to offend anyone because I don’t want to go to bed with problems in my head,” said Polito Vega, who wants to be remembered as a happy person.

Retired? Polito Vega is not planning to take it easy any time soon. He said that he’s having a good time and he’s still full of energy. “Maybe I will retire in five years from now, but I am not sure it will happen that soon.”

For the first concert at Madison Square Garden on Friday: Enrique Iglesias, Paulina Rubio, Alejandro Sanz, Laura Pausini, Luis Fonsi, Christian Castro, Don Omar, Gloria Trevi, David Bisbal, Arthur Hanlon, Alexander Acha and Fanny Lu. For the concert on Saturday: Gilberto Santa Rosa, Victor Manuelle, El Torito, Millie Quesada, Olga Tañon, Oscar de León, Elvis Crespo, Grupo Mania, Toño Rosario, Los Hermanos Rosario, Luis Enrique, El Canario, India, Tito El Bambino, Henry Santos (Aventura), Alexis y Fido, Aymee, Domingo Quiñonez and Flex.

DON OMAR DETAINED IN PUERTO RICO

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The news that came out of Puerto Rico is a serious case of implication. Don Omar, Reggaeton star, was apparently arrested last night on suspicion of domestic violence but was not charged. He was detained in a house in Vega Alta.

The multiple Latin Billboard award winner, William Omar Landron Rivera, is not being held for anything recent but from an ongoing investigation that was following up on past complaints, according to Lt. Aimee Alvarado.

The 36 year old artist allegedly threatened his 26 year old partner, who is cooperating with authorities. In the light of the recent Ray Rice situation, domestic violence is a hot topic and does not bode well for Omar.

“Any type of criminal allegation is detrimental to a public figure.

One Don Omar attorney, Edwin Prado was quoted.

This appears to be a case where more will be brought to light in the days to come. Don Omar was scheduled to appear in New York this upcoming Sunday for the Megaton Concert.