Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Salud, amor y pesetas


Un grupo de amigos, un vinito ....

Best friends and a good wine .... is there any better combination? Latin cultures have known this forever.

So it's no wonder that there are so many different ways to toast with friends in Spanish.

The simplest and most direct:


But few are satisfied with that. So it is often expanded to:

¡Salud, amor y pesetas!

Good, but still not good enough. Sure, health, love and money are important, but you need something more ... and everyone has their own favorite variation of this theme:

Salud, amor y pesetas, y tiempo para gozarlos

Salud, amor y pesetas, y tiempo para gastarlos

Salud, amor y pesetas, y tiempo para gustarlos

Salud, amor y pesetas, y tiempo para disfrutarlos

(And by the way, how come that never got updated to Salud, amor y pesos, or Salud, amor y bolívares, or Salud, amor y colones?)

But my favorite bríndises are the ones I learned in college from a dear Venezuelan friend (and by the way, one constant in my life seems to be incredibly wonderful Venezuelan friends ... I'm going to have to blog some other time on what is either the amazing Venezuelan national character, or my amazing luck in finding such wonderful friends). But back to my point .... the toasts:

Pa' arriba
Pa' abajo
Pa'l centro
Pa' dentro!

.... and this treasure ....

Manjar de dioses,
Dulce tormento,
¿Qué haces afuera?
¡Vámonos pa' dentro!

Recently I wrote to my college friend and told him that I still remembered the toasts he taught me, more than 25 years later.

His response:

Estiro el brazo,
Empino el codo,
Y de un solo golpe,
Me lo tomo todo!!

Good friendships last forever, and that is certainly something to toast to.

Anyone else have a favorite bríndis to share? Add them to our comments .... and ¡salud!

Monday, October 30, 2006

We need more Tommy Torres!

So many of my posts these days seem to be about music ....

But music is such an integral part of why I love Spanish, and Latin cultures, so it's not too surprising.

One of my favorite artists is Tommy Torres. He's often in the background, generously supporting other artists with his beautiful songs, guitar-playing and voice, and as a producer as well (for Ricardo Arjona, Ednita Nazario, Robi Draco Rosa, etc.).

Here he is with Julieta Venegas:

Julieta Venegas y Tommy Torres

But when he steps out front, wow ... es increíble, y me encanta. Check out both his albums, "Tommy Torres" and "Estar de moda no está de moda."

So given how much I admire Tommy Torres' music, I shouldn't have been surprised the other day when I heard Ricky Martin's new song, "Tu Recuerdo," on the radio and fell in love with it ... because when I looked up the video clip, who did I see in the background playing and singing, but Tommy Torres .... and who wrote the song? Tommy Torres.

Ricky Martin, Tommy Torres and La Mari

I'll definitely be buying the Ricky Martin MTV Unplugged album ... but I really hope Tommy Torres comes out with a third solo album soon. The world needs more of him out front, not just behind the scenes.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Te Mando Flores - from Colombia to the U.S.

It often seems as if in today's world, we have instant access to everything ... a click of a mouse, and you can find whatever you want.

That wasn't my experience, though, when I had lunch with some friends visiting from Colombia back in the fall of 2004. We were discussing music, and they told me about a great new singer named Fonseca.


Of course, I went home and got to work. I searched Google, iTunes, Amazon .... EVERYTHING!

No Fonseca.

I kept trying every few months, but still ... no Fonseca.

I asked my friend Liz to look for a Fonseca CD when she went to Venezuela .... but no Fonseca there, either.

I kept trying.

The next summer (2005), Liz returned to Venezuela. I got a call from her saying, "You know that Fonseca? They're playing his video all over the television here!" She still couldn't find the CD to buy, but she was able to download a few songs and brought them to me.

I finally had my Fonseca! And yes, he was great! He has a warm and engaging voice, beautiful lyrics, catchy vallenato-based music ... a total delight.

But why wasn't he in the U.S.?

I kept looking to see when, if ever, this incredibly talented artist was going to show up in the U.S. market.

Well, it took two full years, but he's here!

And not only is he here, but he's nominated for two 2006 Latin Grammys: Record of the Year and Best Tropical Song.

Best of luck to Fonseca ... it took long enough, but I'm glad he's here! And I hope his success means that it won't take two years for his next CD to get from Colombia to the US. He's worth the wait, but I prefer instant gratification.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


This has nothing to do with Spanish ... unless you count the fact that many Latinos cultures seem to know this innately ... but it puts a smile on my face every time I see it, so I'm sharing it here:

¡Un fuertísimo abrazo para todos!