Born in Santurce (Puerto Rico), Tito Rodríguez moved to New York City as a teenager in the 1930s. After various jobs singing with a number of top groups he formed the Tito Rodriguez Orchestra, the most danceable Latin band in the dance-fever era. It was built around the voice of its leader, a versatile performer of every style of Latin music.
For several years, Rodríguez’s dance band starred at the legendary Palladium club and he had successful international career as a chart-topping singer of romantic songs.
In 1973, suffering from cancer at the age of fifty, he was rushed to the hospital after leaving the stage from a headline appearance at Madison Square Garden and died days later. Although he passed away, his legacy continues to burn bright through his recorded music as showcased on this new release.
In 2009, Fania released a double CD compilation, selected by the well-known New York discographer Harry Sepúlveda. Tito Rodríguez: The Man and His Music includes tracks that were digitally remastered from the original master tapes.
Founded in 1999 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Los Pinguos (the Penguins, in Spanish) perform a spicy mixture of Latin rhythms utilizing Spanish guitars, Peruvian cajon (box-drum) and richly harmonized vocals. The group is led by led by guitarist and composer Adrian Buono.
After developing a strong following in the nightclubs of their native city, the band moved to Los Angeles in 2001 in search of international success. They soon began playing at local venues, private parties, film industry events and even on the streets. Their devoted work ethic, coupled with engaging live shows and endearing personalities, has made them one of the most popular Latin groups in Los Angeles today.
The lineup on Regardel includes Adrián Buono on guitar and vocals; José Agote on guitar; Santiago Fefe Lee on bass; Pablo Medina on Hammond organ, piano and vocals; Pablo Correa on drums; Mariano Dugatkin on bandoneon; Juan Manuel Leguizamón on percussion; and Mermans Mosengo on bass.
The 4th edition of the Iberoamerican showcase EXIB Música 2017 will take place in Portugal once more. The 2017 event will be based in Évora with additional activities in Arraiolos and Montemor-o-Novo. The expo focuses on the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries in the Iberian Peninsula and the Americas. It will be held June 7-10, 2017.
The program will be based on the premises of the Expo: impulse, commitment, diversity, industry and identity.
The program will feature 18 showcases from all Iberoamerica as well as 12 Off-EXIB concerts representing the music of the Portuguese regions. The expo will include a professional area with booths to disseminate information and generate networking.
The 4th edition of EXIB Música comes with important international collaborations as well as reflections on the space of musical management in the Creative Economy.
The program will also include the launch of projects, laboratories on music, meetings, masterclasses and documentaries of Ibero-American music.
Amelia Romano – New Perspectives (indie release, 2017)
American harpist Amelia Romano plays a mix of instrumentals and songs on New Perspectives, scheduled for release later this month. I was drawn to her instrumentals, which is where she shows her talent as a harp player and composer.
Romano’s music combines blues, jazz, classical and Latin American music elements like joropo from Venezuela, Argentine tango and Mexican-style bolero. She likes to explore unpredictable rhythms from Latin America, a region with a remarkable harp tradition, although she breaks stereotypes by playing what is normally a man’s instrument.
Amelia Romano enjoys using her beautiful cobalt blue harp to extract new sounds, textures and also as an attractive visual element.
With New Perspectives, Amelia Romano shows great potential as a genre-defying composer and arranger.
I‘ve long asserted that Latin music was the first “world” music to make its way into the mainstream. Arguable though that may be, there’s no doubting the variety of what can rightly be labeled Latin nowadays. Part of the reason for such variety is how the music has evolved; another is recognizing how much variety there was to begin with.
Vintage Latino (Putumayo, 2015) is a various-artists collection that steers clear of overly familiar names (no Tito, Tito or Machito to be found) and earns extra points for featuring some that were around in the early days as well as contemporary musicians keeping the classic sound alive.
So it is that the love songs of old time Cubans like Trio Melodicos and the rural roots of Venezuela’s Simon Diaz fit comfortably alongside contemporary revivers like the utterly charming Las Rubias del Norte from the U.S. and France’s excellent Republique Democratique Du Mambo. And if the best of both worlds is your thing, check the seamlessly splendid combination of Uruguay’s late great Lagrima Rios and acclaimed Argentinian composer Gustavo Santaolalla on the candombe-flavored “Un Cielo Para Los Dos.” Each of the 12 tracks is a gem, so count this one a must.
Should you be craving the sounds of a Brooklyn-based Mexican brass band, that craving will be more than satisfied by Banda de Los Muertos on their self-titled release (Barbes Records, 2015). Founded and led by Oscar Noriega and Jacob Garchik, veterans of jazz and classical music, Banda de Los Muertos’ brass and reeds attack is not just rousingly good fun. It’s also an impressive display of great musicians doing their thing.
The intertwined trumpets, trombones, alto horn, sousaphone and clarinets (plus a solid backbone of drums) are loaded with traditional Mexican flavors and sport nuances ample enough to appeal to fans of jazz, klezmer and big band music. And no hard feelings if you don’t dig the band’s instrumental cover of Marty Robbins’ “El Paso” or the sexy, husky guest vocals by Mireya Ramos, though some serious self-examination might be in order.
Thoroughly modern but with a clear understanding of age-old grooves, Empresarios out of Washington D.C. give us The Vibes (Empresarios Musica, 2015) a hot mash of cumbia, reggae, dub, house, jazzy experimentation and hip hop. They combine real and programmed rhythms as deftly as they shift from sung to rapped vocals, and their subject matter likewise ranges from self-referencing celebration to social consciousness.
A thinking man’s party band, these guys likely won’t appeal to staunch Latin music purists. For everyone else, they definitely bring it. And the last two tracks (instrumentals “Rootsy Jam” and “Alegria”) are killer.
Your Connection to traditional and contemporary World Music