Monday, January 23, 2006

Amor Mio

What better way to celebrate El Día del Amor y de la Amistad, El Día de Los Enamorados, y El Día de San Valentín, than with these beautiful stamps! In fact, buy them for every day of the year!

They are a new treat available from my favorite artist, María Sánchez of Sandía Fria. My walls are rapidly filling up with María's beautiful artwork – it is truly artwork to make your soul smile! Check out María's blog frequently to see her latest pieces ... although I probably shouldn't be telling you this, since now I'll have more competition in bidding for her pieces on eBay!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Judíos, latinos y el resto de la banda

A few weeks ago, a friend sent me this Ladino Hanukah greeting – a hip hop version of "Ocho Kandelikas," which is actually a song I play every December in my Spanish classes when I teach about the holidays. This version is way more fun than the one I have, though!

I found out the song was by the Hip Hop Hoodíos, and did some more research on them. I liked what I read and ended up downloading their album "Agua Pa' La Gente" from iTunes.

It has been in constant play ever since. Rarely do I find something that appeals to so many aspects of my multiple Gemini-Sicilian-Jewish-Latina personality!

The music is movida y divertida – I always love the cultural fusion of different sounds, and this record blends klezmer, cumbia, hip hop and more – and the lyrics combine the absolutely hilarious with the strikingly true (with a little mysticism and poignancy thrown in here and there to balance it out).

How can you not smile at a group that boasts, "You like our d•cks and you like our noses, you see a Jewish guy and you forget where your clothes is ... venga mami, take a little sip from my ladle, I'll take you back to my room and you can play with my dreidl!"

But other lyrics are much deeper: the song "1492" talks of how Jews were forced to convert to Christianity during the Inquisition, noting that while the Hip Hop Hoodíos "Jewish-Spanish" combination may seem unusual, it really reflects what's hidden underneath the surface throughout the Spanish-speaking world: "Jews and Spanish, you think that we're token but ... here's some news that will hit you with a thud: millions of Latinos, they got Jewish blood." And "Ancient" pulses with the refrain, "Ancient, ancient, la dignidad humana – judíos, latinos y el resto de la banda."

I'm definitely enjoying the Hip Hop Hoodíos - "up in your face with three languages, cabrón!"

PS, Aside from "Ocho Kandelikas," I could never play this music in my Spanish classes (I teach K-5!)...but actually, "1492" would be great in a middle or high school Spanish or social studies class.

PPS, As you can probably tell from this post and the one below it, I've got a pretty eclectic range of music that I like. My favorites these days (in addition to the above, and in no particular order) are Elefante, Andrea Echeverri, Alejandro Fernandez, Ozomatli, Tommy Torres, Juanes, Cabas, Edgardo Monserrat, Fonseca, Shakira, La Mosca, Jorge Drexler, Zucchero, Pepe Alva, Los Lonely Boys, Del Castillo, Tribalistas, Bebo and Cigala, Juan Luis Guerra (pre-2005!), Gipsy Kings and Patricia Vonne. And my oldest favorite, trumping all others, is Trini Lopez's "The Latin Album". It's the album that made me first fall in love with Latin music and with Spanish.

Friday, January 06, 2006

¡Buenas noticias! More Rubén Flores ...

Just got this buena noticia from Richard Barone, who produced Rubén Flores' "The Latin American Songbook at Joe's Pub!

Dear Ruth,
Thank you for your wonderful and insightful comments on last night's show,
"Rubén Flores: The Latin American Songbook" at Joe's Pub. It is a very special show that I am thrilled to be part of. I just wanted to let you know that it is not a once-a-year event, but we are developing various installments to be played at different times throughout the upcoming year. We plan to return to Joe's Pub on February 15 with Latin love songs. We will let you know as soon as the date is confirmed.
Please stay in touch, and come see us again!
All my best wishes for a happy and healthy new year,
Richard Barone
Producer/Director - "Rubén Flores: The Latin American Songbook"

This is fabulous news for me; I loved the original show and will definitely be looking forward to the future installments! And by the way, check out Richard Barone's own site, he's clearly a very talented guy in his own right. He must have a Latin soul ...

If you are wondering why I'm so loca about this guy and his performance, just click here to listen.

So, nos vemos at Joe's Pub el 15 de febrero! Click here for more info and tix.

PS, just realized that this is actually the night after I see Tom Jones in concert (don't laugh, especially if you've never heard the song "Sex Bomb", or his version of "Mama Told Me Not To Come"), so it'll be a busy week for me .... I would have gotten tix to Franco De Vita that week, too (on a double bill with Aventura), except that he's playing on the same night as Tom Jones, and I already had the Tom Jones tix. Ricky Martin is also in town that week, by the way. A busy month for Latin music – but never enough for me.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Caminante, no hay camino

Thinking about Rubén Flores' show at Joe's Pub (see below) brought Antonio Machado's poem to mind.

Caminante, son tus huellas
el camino, y nada más;

caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.

Al andar se hace camino,
y al volver la vista atrás
se ve la senda que nunca
se ha de volver a pisar.

Caminante, no hay camino,
sino estelas en el mar.

Happy new year and best wishes to everyone as they make their way on their own journeys!