Hispanic Heritage Month National Theme
Each year a theme is chosen for Hispanic Heritage Month. Eileen delivers a keynote speech that highlights the theme, expounds on its points, and celebrates the accomplishments of Latinos.
Hispanic Market $1.5 Trillion and Counting
The Hispanic market has a buying power that cannot be ignored. It grows each year making the Latino community a highly-valued buying block. Corporations are revising their selling strategies with the intent of deep penetration into the wallets of the Latinx population. Television commercials are being fine-tuned. They are produced in two languages and use slang and colloquialisms to appeal directly to regional segments of Latinos. Sponsorship of festivals and community celebrations are on the rise. The message is being delivered with gusto.
Ancient Indigenous Civilizations of Mesoamerica
When Moses was crossing the Red Sea and the Greeks were embarking on Troy, the Olmecas arose in what are now the states of Vera Cruz & Tabasco in Mexico. An ancient city, Teotihuacan began to be settled in 200 BC and at its height had 100,000-200,000 inhabitants. It was a complex urban grid filled with single and multi-floor apartment compounds. The Mayans with their advanced knowledge of astronomy enabled them to devise the world's most accurate calendar. They also introduced the concept of zero for mathematical calculation. Modern man marks the beginning of modern history with the birth of Christ. The Mayans noted the year 3133 BC as the beginning of the current era. Learn more about the advanced cultures that thrived while Europe was in the Dark Ages.
Mayan Prophecies for the Next Cycle
Many feared the end of the world because the Mayan calendar was coming to an end in December 2012.The Maya (and Hopi, Inca, Egyptians and Nostradamus) predicted a tremendous change. After nearly 500 years of silence, Mayan elders came forward to share with the world what their prophecies mean for humanity. Discover what ancient Mayan wisdom reveals about the new cycle of time that begins on Dec. 22, 2012. This presentation demonstrates the validity of Mayan prophecy as expressed by quantum physicists and other scientists. View fascinating video clips on the crystal skulls, parallel dimensions, effects of words and emotion on frozen water crystals, and much more.
Latino Political Power
Latino voters were long ignored and overlooked. They were not courted and were discounted. Times have changed due to demographic shifts in the U. S. population. Now the Latinx community is prized. Though not homogeneous in political views and party affiliations, this voting block is nevertheless vital in national elections. Age, gender, race, religion, country of origin, and educational attainment are just some of the categories that determine how a person thinks and votes.
The Origins and Development of Salsa
Cuba did not place drumming restrictions on the newly arrived enslaved people from Africa. Their drumming traditions flourished and seeped into Cuba’s musical traditions. This would lead to the creation of many new musical rhythms. Big band jazz played by American musicians was heard in all of Cuba’s best hotels and ballrooms .A decade-by-decade journey chronicles the progression of a new music form rooted in Africa, combined with Cuban musical sensibilities and projected to the public in New York ushering in the Palladium Era. Cuban Perez Prado’s triumph in Mexico makes him the Mambo King by way of RCA’s international division exports.
Mambo at the Palladium
Mambo at the Palladium tells the story of mambo music and dance from its beginnings at the Alma Dance Studios, later named the Palladium. Tito Puente is quoted saying, “the Palladium was the first instance of voluntary desegregation”. Latinos, Blacks, Jews, Italians and Asians came together to enjoy a great new music and to dance. The Palladium Big 3---Machito, Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez set the standard. Every band of note played there. Many dancers gained fame at the “Home of the Mambo during this era. Music and dance fans love this presentation.
The Fania record label is to salsa what the Motown label is to soul music. Fania in New York and Motown in Detroit have many parallels. Both were incubators for new artists and factories that produced some of the best American music recorded in the 20th Century. Fania Records was formed in March 1964 by Johnny Pacheco, a Dominican musician and Jerry Masucci, an Italian-American lawyer. These two made a formidable team--Pacheco the artistic force, and Masucci the managing administrator and visionary. Fania ushered in the Golden Age of Salsa exported salsa to the world and filmed many of the most notable performances by its master orchestra, The Fania All Stars.
The Kingdom of Tito Puente
Tito Puente was the foremost ambassador of Latin dance music. New York’s Mambo King introduced Latin dance music to the world. Puente, a member of the Palladium Trinity (Palladium Big 3) was perhaps the best known salsa/mambo artist of all times. Beginning his career as a dancer, this future music giant would change the way the world regarded upbeat Latin dance rhythms. A decorated veteran of WWII, this soldier would use his G.I. Bill benefits to study arranging and orchestration at the Julliard School of Music. Tito won seven Grammy Awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and countless other awards and recognitions. His Dance Mania album was designated as one the 25 most influential albums of the 20th Century. He recorded 120 albums before dying in 2000.
Salsa’s Master Composer- Tité Curet Alonso
Catalino “Tité” Curet Alonso composed music that became classic hits for many artists. This former journalist and U. S. Postal Service worker composed over 1,000 songs. Cheo Feliciano, Ismael Rivera, Hector Lavoe, Celia Cruz, Rubén Blades, La Lupe, and Ismael Miranda are just a few who benefited from his artistry. His compositions contained elements of strife, struggles and discrimination faced by the poor and black skinned people. His music was blacklisted on many radio stations in Puerto Rico for many years. He died in Baltimore, MD in 2003 and was given a hero’s funeral complete with honor guard in Puerto Rico. Audiences love this presentation because so many of his songs are easily recognizable.
The Triumph and Tragedy of Hector Lavoe
Legendary singer Hector Lavoe was the subject of a 1999 off-Broadway musical titled Quien Mato A Hector Lavoe? (Who Killed Hector Lavoe) and the movie “El Cantante” starring Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. His collaboration with Willie Colon catapulted Lavoe to star status. His weaknesses and insecurities led to drug use and subsequent addiction. Hector however won the admiration of the public by being a humble, down-to-earth, man of the people. Adored by his fans, Lavoe could do no wrong. His career punctuated with bouts of addiction alternated with departures from music in an effort to kick the addiction. Video footage from an array of concerts and music clips help the audience to understand how this artist could fill the same stadium on three consecutive nights.
Latinos in Rock n Roll
Latinos were placing their imprint on this new music from its inception. Richie Valens is the most recognized Latino in rock’s early days. Question Mark and the Mysterians, Cannibal and the Headhunters, Chris Montez and Sam the Sham and the Pharos made their mark before Santana became known. Carlos Santana made his name in 1969 at Woodstock at about the same time El Chicano in LA began producing music. This was followed by San Francisco/Oakland bands of Malo, Azteca, and Tower of Power. The Miami Sound Machine in Florida quickly became a national phenomenon. Several Latino Groups were named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s listing of “The 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll”.
American Hits From Spanish Classics
Many identifiable “American” tunes were actually composed and sung by Latin Americans. Songs like the Dinah Washington hit, What a Difference a Day Makes (Cuando Vuelva a Tu Lado) and Englebert Humperdink’s Love Me with All Your Heart (Cuando Calienta el Sol) are some examples. It’s Impossible was originally written as Somos Novios. Many Spanish tunes were adopted and adapted to fit American tastes. Perfidia was played in a Rock n Roll style on Happy Days and was background music in many films.
Influences of Latin Rhythms on America’s Culture
The first Latin cross over tune, El Manicero (Peanut Vendor) was performed in New York by Don Azpiazu and his Havana Casino Orchestra in New York in 1930. It was reworked by such notables as Louie Armstrong and Stan Kenton. The King of Mambo, Perez Prado, was able to knock THE King, Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel from Billboard ‘s #1 spot with the second crossover tune, Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White. Babalu a Cuban hit is recognized by Americans due to I Love Lucy. A bugaloo hit by Pete Rodriguez made it into Burger King commercials. Feliz Navidad is sung by children all over the country.
Jose Alfredo Jimenez-Mexico’s Musical Poet
Jose Alfredo Jimenez is an icon in Mexican traditional music. He composed over 400 songs. Many are classics. His fans know the lyrics to dozens of his songs. The beauty of his artistry led to the biggest stars in music singing his compositions. The love songs used in serenades by mariachis successfully reconciled couples, made others fall in love, and led to countless marriages. Translations in English are provided to tell the stories behind the powerful poetry and prose.
The Huapangos of Rubén Fuentes
Huapangos are a style of traditional Mexican music from the Huesteca region in Mexico that includes the states of San Luis Potosí, Veracruz, Tamaulipas, Hidalgo, Querétaro, and Puebla. It is important to recognize huasteca is also a culture. Rubén Fuentes was the arranger for Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan. As a producer, his music was often heard in films during Mexico’s Golden Age of Cinema. His style utilizing multiple violins is reminiscent of symphonic arrangements and features prominent staccato notations. Most distinguishable in this style is the vocal falsetto employed. La Malagueña is perhaps the most recognized huapango.
The Structure of Salsa Music
This interactive lecture demonstration explains the musical framework of salsa. The introduction, story line, lyrical improvisation, chorus, montuno, mambo and moña sections are enumerated. Attention is called to energy and intensity changes. Musicians individually demonstrate their assigned rhythms. Volunteers from the audience participate in 20-minute music or dance lessons. At the end they demonstrate what they learned. The band then plays for dancing and listening pleasure.
Latin Social Dance in the Golden Age of Salsa
During the Golden Age of Salsa in the1970s, LPs contained salsa/mambo, chachachá, merengue and bolero. Live music flourished. Musicians were revered. The session highlights the popular Latin social dance forms during this era. Remarks are punctuated with video and audio clips. mini demos and a step-by-step breakdown of each dance pattern. Audience members will be asked to stand at their seats to take a one minute lesson three times during the presentation. In this way every one participates and learns without being self-conscious. Volunteers from the audience will be asked to come forward to demonstrate their style of dancing to all three styles.
History of Latin Social Dance (with performances)
The history of Latin Social dance is told through video clips. The European contradanze became the Cuban contradansa. Danzón was regarded as a bit scandalous due to couples dancing in a closed position. Tango is born in the dark alleys of Argentina. Salsa is danced in an old side-to-side fashion and later moves to a forward and back movement. Mambo accents on the upbeat providing a new feel. Salsa evolves to different flavors-L.A. (Los Angles) style with tricks, New York style with intricate footwork, Puerto Rican style with extra flair and Colombian style with “road-runner” rapid footwork and amazing acrobatics. Audience members will stand at their seats for a one minute lesson three times during the presentation. Performers will deliver stylized, choreographed performances in costume.
Dance Instruction (Salsa, Mambo, Chachachá, Merengue)
Learning to dance takes one’s mind off other concerns, worries, and cares. “Dance Lessons Made Easy” are Eileen’s specialty. Choose one or a combination from Salsa, Mambo, Chachachá, or Merengue. Eileen enables the student to leave the session with the skills of the basic step, at least one turn and an easy footwork pattern.
SPECIFIC Commemorations or Themes
Africa: The Roots of Salsa (Black History Month-February)
Salsa traces its roots to Africa. American authorities were anxious to acculturate the Africans to our society and culture. They were prohibited from preserving their rich drumming traditions. We feared the Africans would communicate over distances by way of the drum. However Cuba did not impose these restrictions. Their traditions flourished and seeped into traditional Cuban music creating a hybrid. Cuban influentials who trace their heritage to Africa are highlighted. The influence of big band jazz and Harlem’s night club scene are prominent. Horn lines backed by Cuban rhythms created a hot new mambo sound that led to the Palladium Era. The presentation comes full circle back to Africa featuring contemporary salsa artists primarily from Senegal and Congo.
Nineteen Women in Salsa (Women’s History Month)
Salsa has been and continues to be a male-dominated industry. Some women have made great strides and become well known. Female pioneers that successfully crossed gender lines are highlighted. The all-female Cuban band, Anacaona formed in 1932, was comprised of the Chinese-Cuban Castro sisters and others. They broke the male barrier and were well received in Europe and other parts of the world. Machito’ s sister Graciela, part of Anacaona, made an even bigger mark in New York during the Palladium Era. Myrta Silva, Celia Cruz, La Lupe,and Yolanda Rivera are in the spotlight. La India, Choco Orta, and Cita Rodriguez are contemporary stars changing the face of this portion of the music industry.