Monday, January 16, 2017

Graciela and Yoichi

Yoichi Sugawara became one of the best Tango dancers in Japan in the late 50s. In his travels to perform in Latin America he learned to speak Spanish fluently. He would sing occasionally during these Tango presentations and in the early 60s he got coaching, went into singing seriously, learned to play the Spanish guitar and became a very popular singer.

"Continuous improvement beats delayed perfection, any day."

Meanwhile, Graciela Susana Ambrosio, born in 1953 and her sister Cristina, when still children, teamed up as the folk duo Las Hermanitas Ambrosio. They appeared successfully in TV programs and made tours of different places in Argentina. As a soloist, in her late teens, Graciela Susana began to sing tango pieces and was especially interested in new compositions. Accompanying herself on guitar, she appeared nightly at venues and coteries of Buenos Aires. In 1970 she was phoned by Edmundo Rivero who invited her for an audition at the famous El Viejo Almacén with the orchestra conducted by Carlos García.
"Adoro" por Gabriela Susana

Graciela Susana
In one of her appearances at the El Viejo Almacén, the famous Japanese singer Yoichi Sugawara and his manager were among the audience. They were touched by that little girl with a privileged voice range, of deep low and fresh treble notes, that interpreted with so much intensity and sweetness and who, furthermore, accompanied herself on guitar. And she happened to be passionate for Japanese culture and the language.

"La Reine de Saba" by Gabriela Susana

Only three months after the visit of the Japanese (it was still 1970) Graciela Susana was offered a contract to appear in Japan to sing tangos in the Sugawara’s recitals. There she would also begin to include Japanese songs in her songbook. The wide popular acclaim that immediately followed favored the release in Japan of tango and folk music records that Graciela had published in Argentina and the daring venture of recording one in Japanese. It was in 1971.

"El Reloj" by Yoichi Sugawara and Gabriela Susana

Yoichi Sugawara
The rest is history as they say, and I made the album of Yoichi and Gabriela singing song videos from decades back, when they were in their twenties. Yoichi would go to Latin America every few years and Graciela would go to Japan every few years,

"Besame Mucho" by Yoichi Sugawara and Gabriela Susana

Always the same set up. He would go to Argentina and sing in several places and then the both of them would have the big show, together at the last. Same thing in reverse would be when Gabriela Susana would go to Japan. Amazing that these people have been doing this for fifty years. They are from different countries, different ethnic groups but together in music, they have been good friends and happy for the rest of their lives and that is truly remarkable.

"Que El Me Olvide" Yoichi Sugawara and Gabriela Susana

I put the album on a storage disks (digital format for computer only) and I give them away mainly for use as storage and of course, the song videos can be copied easily from computer to computer. The albums have seven song videos from the beginning of their meetings to their last one in 2014. Anybody wants one of the disks, can have it and we can make arrangements on how to transfer the goods.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Latin Scene

The taco predates the arrival of Europeans in Mexico. The origin of the taco is unknown, and perhaps is from a couple millenniums back. Fundamentally it is any type food wrapped in a cooked corn tortilla, It has remained so to date, not only in Mexico but also in other parts of the world. A burrito is any type of food wrapped in a flour tortilla. Not many non-Mexicans are aware of this.

"Some call it dance, dancers call it life."

During the great depression in the US in the early thirties, they gave sacks of flour to the poor. The non Mexicans could make all the bread they wanted. But Mexicans ate with tortillas not bread. So in the Southwest there developed a way to make tortillas out of flour instead of corn. In California, the word "burrito" (little donkey) came to be applied to the new type of tacos made with flour tortillas. It spread through all the Mexican communities in the US. There was a place in Los Angeles, "Vicky's" that had a sign that said, "Home of the Burrito." They thought they invented it.

"La Golondrina" por Paloma San Basilio

Mexicans in the US come from many different parts of Mexico. Those that come from one section of Mexico usually will settle in the same part of the US. Music and dance is very diversified in Mexico according to the territory. Fortunately in this century it is showing more uniformity as the favorite music is coming to the fore. Rumba and Latin Waltz are definitely coming in strong among the more experienced social dancers in the big cities and Bachata is coming in strong for the young.

"Yes, there is something about having a bottle of wine on the table."

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Magnificent Seven

We start the day with a beautiful statement by Percy Bysshe Shelley, English lyric poet and lover of the dance. So he may have been in his cups at the time, but the quote will remain forever.

"To hell with reality! I want to die in music, not in reason or in prose.
People don’t deserve the restraint we show by not going into
delirium in front of them. To hell with them!"

The seven blogs are proceeding along very nicely. This month, I pulled back the levers on all the blogs from four to about every five days. I have watched them stay at approximately the same level in total average hits per day. But I expect the hits to start going steadily up. The more accurate the information, the better for the readers. Extrava Danza blog will try to promote the friendship of Live Music fans. From there we have no choice but to keep trying to get our readers to share their dance information with our fellow dancers.

"Got To Get You into My Life" By the Beatles

So it is seems clear that the readership is growing but too slowly because not enough readers know the difference in the blogs. What they learn is probably more by word of mouth than anything else. This blog Ritmo Mestizo is trying to specialize in Latin music and dance. We do not intend on forgetting some of the best music the world has ever heard.

"Perfidia" by Artie Shaw

My first goal is to get 33 average hits per day for each blog. This will be 1,000 hits for a 30 day month.  Platinum Horseshoe is averaging over 100 hits per day. Town Dancer is averaging over 50 hits per day. That is very impressive for being out here in the middle of the Pacific. The rest of the blogs are still trying to make it into the twenties.

"You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
- Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Viña del Mar, Chile

The Viña del Mar International Song Festival is a music festival that has been held annually during the 3rd week of February in Viña del Mar, Chile. Started in 1960, it is largest and best known music festival in all of Latin America.  Every year invited artists perform alongside Latin artists, There are also singing competitions with prizes for the winners. The Festival takes place in the Quinta Vergara Amphitheater and attracts over 15,000 spectators.

"Latin dancers know that taking a step forward and then taking
a step backwards is not a disaster, its a Rock Step."

It has been broadcast live on radio and on Chilean television over the years by TVN, Canal 13, Megavisión or Chilevisión, regularly breaking viewing records. The Viña festival features a song competition in two categories, pop music and folk music, interspersed with performances by international music stars encompassing such diverse genres as rock, and pop music in various languages, merengue, salsa, rumba, bachata and bolero among others.

"Contigo A La Distancia" por Lucho Gatica

Viña Del Mar, Chile

Between 1984 and 1989 Leonardo Schultz and Gary H. Mason, teamed up to help revamp the festival and streamline its operations. They arranged for the appearance of many artists like Manoella Torres (Mason produced her hit duet, which was written by Schultz entitled "No Me Mires Así"). In the 1990s the broadcast rights to the Festival were given to Televisa, and featured prominent Mexican Artists, as well as major Latin Artists.

"Sabor A Mi" por Manoella Torres

Quinta Vergara Amphitheater, Chile

In 2009, artists such as Latin sensation Daddy Yankee and the legendary British band Simply Red captivated the audience of Viña. Not only that but every Latin musician, singer or dancer knows that to appear at Viña Del Mar means that you have arrived. This is International and they all know they are there. It has become the top in our Latin World of music and dance.

“We can transcend the terrestrial; surpass the celestial, from nature’s hands
when we receive the sublime pleasures of dance to our favorite music.” 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

New Year with Alma Latina

This blog is beginning to roll. Just got to get enough people interested in sharing their pearls of wisdom on Latin dance with our reader/dancers. But it is moving along very nicely and getting more hits on the counters. We need as much pertinent data as possible and it is your decision as to what is pertinent. The dancers on Twitter are doing very good. It’s so easy to over look dancing details when we have to open so many emails every day, specially now that we have seven blogs to handle.

"To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak." Old Hopi Indian Saying.

“Some submit to dancing rather than enjoy it. You can see these two
contrasting styles on any dance floor today. Those who enjoy using
their bodies and who have a true sense of rhythm and those who
move grudgingly, out of a sense of correctness and duty.”

We got it straight off the Nancy Ortiz Twitter page and we thought we could help.
 Saludes a todos y Felice Año Nuevo.

The key to increasing the hits, remains in the Comments on each blog, the Information Contributors and the possible Guest Authors. We must concentrate on them, specially on Oahu. They will make the difference and the blogs will become Social Media and one of them, the best will go into independence. And of course, no one knows what that means.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Latin Christmas

This is the last of the Christmas entries in our blogs. We give it a rest on Christmas Day and start again for the New Year on the 26th. We got the blogs on track and wish everyone the best.

We encourage all reader/dancers to help us keep this blog up to date by letting any of the Contributing Editors know if we have done something wrong or you have something about dancing that we should include. It can be done in various ways, the simplest is to insert in the comments section at the end of each blog. You can also email us and include the name of the author. Anonymous does not click in blogs.

"White Christmas" by Bing Crosby

Latin music and dance continues to be recognized except it is still too diverse. We will get to the point where we will be fairly comfortable. Latin Waltz, Rumba, Cha Cha Cha, Samba and Tango seem to be the most solid for over a century. Social Latin Dancing will come.

"Like snowflakes, our Christmas memories gather and dance -
Each beautiful, unique and too soon gone."

Monday, December 19, 2016

Dancing is back.

By Leslie Cheung, Ewa:
Beginning with Aiea Ballroom Dance Association and followed by Wahiawa Ballroom Dance Club in the late 50s, in West Oahu - dancing began to move to downtown Honolulu. Rapidly they formed five or six dance clubs and the center of ballroom dancing on this Island all these years has been definitely Honolulu.

"Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me."

Now with the big increase in interest in Aiea, and Wahiawa, apparently dance is back. But as Tony Bennett said when asked about the renewed popularity of his music with the new MTV generation, "It never went away!" Social dance is being rediscovered by a new generation in West Oahu who is in the process of redefining it and they acknowledge the presence of Latin dancing. Movies and Television entice with the lure of the steps with each new exposure, and there has been increased interest in the dance studios to learn them.

  "Sweet Caroline" By Neil Diamond

The Moanalua Corridor was ready do business but the Rail Disaster has screwed it up something awful. There are weekly bankruptcies and this section of the island used to be one of the most populated next to Waikiki. If they can find a place to work in the areas, it is Kapolei and the Central Valley, and even Waianae and the North Shore. But the present rail party is blocking any business parks from being built in these areas. "I coulda been home in 20 minutes."

"Tiny Bubbles" by Don Ho

Some students will come for the few basic steps and leave happy. Others will choose to continue to perfect their dance with the help of the terrific dance teachers available in the West. The students will remain to uncover the greater mysteries of dancing and become life long servants, as it is happening in Kapolei and the Central Valley. What about downtown Honolulu? Hell, they know what they are doing.

Q: How many ballroom dancers does it take to screw in a light bulb ?
A: Changing lightbulbs is not allowed in Ballroom.