I have mentioned it before, music, beside plants is a passion with no end. It is time for a little.
For the last three days, I have been listening to a cassette recorded in Tito Tapia's apartment in RIO Piedras, circa 1977, before it became a crowded, noisy Mecca for invaders of all sorts.
Tito Tapia was/is an albino from my days in Caguas. Originally from Asomante in Aibonito. His dad was a champion. Lived with two powerfully breasted women in his hometown shack, without any Mormon conversion.
The last time I saw Tito was in Amherst, MA, during my second self imposed exile. He was a character and the second albino I have some respect for, the other is Cano Estremera.
Actually there are two recordings of Cortijo. The original from a long playing and a copy I made moons later. That morning many shots of Palo Viejo and Shaeffer (in fashion, Budweisser and now Coors followed) went down while listening to this musical jewel and others of the Cuban crop.
Cuni, More, Rita Montaner and Arsenio. Getting back to Rafael Cortijo, I live ten blocks from the cradle of Ismael, Calle Calma, today it looks like shit, but what the hell.
Cortijo's music was in essence plenas, guarachas, bombas, and guaguancos. Not the shitty water down we have now..
This music tell stories, just as those medieval jesters whose job what to tell what was going on. The tune in this video, tells with some humor the story of some Biglips Negro and his death for his physical vocal attribute.
'Quitate de la via Perico', is a tune about a hearing impaired fellow and his demise by the railroad track as a consequence of his defect.
In my opinion, one of the most significant tunes in terms of music and the historical moment is that one about about rocket science. 'The Russians have sent a satellite around the world'!
Another tells the story of what will be of those who 'climb to the ship', in evident reference of the cruelty of the slave trade.
Rafael Cortijo had swing and unique sound that fifty years tells me something and I can enjoy sober.
The dynamics among musicians is rare. Martin Quinhones, congas, Kito Velez, trumpet, Eddy, on sax, Roberto Rohena on bongos...and the rest made of this band something else.
I can only think of Ruben Blades in terms of decades of creating music, experimenting and always being authentic. Rafael Cortijo, Ismael Rivera, thanks for the times...Lets mention that a Colombian, Nelson Pinedo and a Cuban, Rolando Laserie recorded memorable tunes with this band. There are others singers also. Check them on youtube.
Maruja was a film, one of the earlier ones with some artistic merit in Puerto Rico.
Martha Romero, Axel Anderson, (still alive) and many other great talented artists participated in this landmark film. I believe 90 percent of the people in it are dead.
Finally please check: bembeteo.com, a site about the music discussed here from the perspective of an authority...in Spanish...Time to go, apaga i vamonos.