Song of the Day: Suavecito – Malo

The Santana Brothers. Many have heard of one of them mainly: Carlos. He is the superstar with millions of followers and a big influence in the Latin-Rock-Jazz-Blues scene.

Well the other brother, Jorge, is another talent that moved to the US with his brother to pursue his dreams. And he did it, but on his own way.

Jorge Santana founded his own band in the early 70’s, Malo (band), and also took part in the movement that ultimately shaped the modern Latin Rock.

Suavecito is a melodic sound with jazzy tones and a nostalgic duo between a soft voice and an energic guitar pulling some harmonics in the background.

This song became the biggest hit of the band in 1972 and turned the eyes of the world to Jorge Santana. Sadly the group disbanded in 1974 and no further compositions were made during the 70’s. Later on, on 1981 they re-united but has rare appearances.

In the 90’s the Santana brothers took part in some projects together, but none of significance. Nowadays, what we still have and cherish from Jorge is this beautiful song.

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Opera: Tijuana style

Ciudad Juárez, Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa… what do these cities have in common? They are border cities, where the violence in Mexico exploded due to the War on Drugs that devastated the northern part of the country.

Tijuana is precisely one of those cities that felt it heavily, but today teaches us a very nice lesson. Since years (even before the War on Drugs) Tijuana was world-known for its careless way of life. Alcohol, drugs, women, nasty streets and tough night life were part of the imagination when someone imagined the city.

The inhabitants, however, never lost their faith and found new ways to fight that feeling. As true Mexicans, they knew that violence cannot be stopped with more violence, and thus fought it the way they knew: sing and smile.

The Tijuana Cultural Centre and their young talents decided to give hope and draw smiles in its inhabitants with their own version of street Opera, a movement that has been seen previously in Europe, but a movement that Tijuana needed to gain energy and encourage their people to not give up and live peacefully. Did it work? Too soon to say, but oh boy! truly inspires.

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Song of the day: Granada – Agustín Lara

Aaahh, Agustín Lara! that romantic skinny, also known as “El flaco de oro” (the golden skinny). One of the most prolific composers of his time.

Worldwide known is the way he composed in the name of love (specially that impossible love) with masterpieces like Solamente una vez, María bonita, Piensa en mí, etc.

But also very well known is his love for Spain, where many of his songs are specially dedicated to its cities: Murcia, Madrid, Valencia, etc. becoming the songs that are now part of their heritage.

However, there is one song that stands out: Granada. The favorite of many tenors and one of the most sang worldwide. Why? Power, I would say. Granada is passion and courage, is the voice of love for our land, love for our people. Granada is a proud moment to sing for ourselves.

My personal choice was to put Plácido Domingo‘s version. No better tenor could feel this ‘mestizo’ passion than the one born in Spain and raised in Mexico.

VICE explores the hidden Mexico

I started to discover the most interesting stuff about Mexico when I left. I’m not gonna lie, I never realized what Mexico actually stands for until I saw the country as an outsider. In the same way, I got a closer perspective of the foreigner’s point of view.

It kinda surprises me and never found the words to express what Mexico is (within its thousands of faces). I think is better to show it, not just talk about it, but really put the culture, society and voices of the Mexicans in a visual way.

I have tried a couple of times (and will doing it as much as I can), but if a professional view of the culture is what people are looking for, then my biggest suggestion would be the VICE documentaries.

The first time I saw a VICE documentary about Mexico was the one about the “Mexican Pointy Boots“. I discovered that mexican fashion through VICE. I had never heard about it before. This is the kind of documentary that I like to see, closer to the people. It describes the real ‘feeling’ of the society, the thoughts of the Mexican people and in their own words.

Then I started to look more documentaries of the same style. What else could I discover from my country in this original journalistic enterprise? Well, there were more than expected, here a short list with some of my favorites, including the ones produced with the mexican beer brand “Indio”: Continue reading

Día de Muertos: Tips to enjoy the tradition

Probably you know a bit about this tradition due to the curiosity about the “celebration of Death”. Well, Death is a topic with different points of view in the world.

As a Mexican there are many things that still surprise about this festivity, mainly because it is celebrated in different ways all along Mexico. Oh yeah, last year I made a video with the historical background and main topics of it. I recommend you to watch it before proceeding with the lines below.

I assume that you now understood that Mexicans are not celebrating Death, in the same sense that we are not having parties to say good-bye to our beloved dead. Continue reading

Song of the day: Gimme tha Power – Molotov

Molotov is one of my favorite bands. My favorite Spanish-speaking band for sure.

Oddly, the only times that I’ve been to a Molotov concert were in Germany, during their European tour. But I don’t complain, the concerts were vibrant and full of energy, like their songs. Damn! I was even able to jump with them on the stage and had some words before and after the show.

But anyways. Mexico has been involved in many political disturbances and its social movements are a clear way to observe these several demands from all over Mexico.

What I like from Molotov is that they are totally apolitical, so have more energy to talk crap about everyone in politics.

This is one of their most famous songs, and almost an hymn that has trascended through all Latin America. I truly believe, that many inhabitants from Tijuana to Tierra del Fuego feel very identified with the lyrics.

This is a powerful invitation of Molotov to take the streets and demonstrate against the dirt in Politics: Gimme tha Power.

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Songs of the day: Mambos

Haters gonna hate. As told before, Dudamel is one of those guys that either you love him or hate him. I personally love him.

He is not the orthodox musician that comes and works with precision every time. He likes to give life and to give colors to the music. Huh, I really don’t know how to explain it, I just got out of words suddenly.

Here you have a great performance and sample pieces of Mambo, a very well-known music genre of Cuba. Many composers have taken this genre and put it into big masterpieces.

Dudamel and the Youth Orchestra Simon Bolivar perform many Mambos from Perez Prado and “Mambo” from Leonard Bernstein.

Who says orchestras are not to dance?