Con los terroristas… thoughts on The Harlem Shake

It was only last week when my eyes were opened and I became aware of this new craze. I had no idea what it was all about until recently. In case someone reads this and does not know what I’m talking about, the Harlem Shake consists of a 30 second video clip with the same song, where a guy (or gal) dances alone surrounded by an uninterested crowd. When the music reaches its peak, the video cuts abruptly and you see all of the people dancing and doing random stupid stuff all over the place. You Tube is full of them and I have seriously cracked up at several of them, and I do confess, I’d like to do one too, but I think I’m kind of late for it.

Now, the thing is, that when I first heard the music and heard the guy say: “con los terroristas”, I thought that whoever said that had to be a Puerto Rican. Well, last week, on one of our local newspapers, it turns out that indeed, it is a Puerto Rican who says it, but the track is a mix of a hip hop song with something else from a reggaeton song where the guy says “con los terroristas” which means, ‘with the terrorists’. I have no idea what the original song is and to be honest, I hate reggaeton, so let’s say I’m just happy with the surreal absurdity of the intro “con los terroristas” and whatever happens during the following 20 seconds of it. I mean, after a while you do get tired of it, but, regardless, I am putting here the ones that made me laugh the most, in case you want to watch them. They’re 30 seconds each and full of craziness. Enjoy!

Would you do one too? If you do, please post your links below.

🙂

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My nephew the virtuoso

My nephew is a 12-year old kid who lives in Portand, Oregon with his Mom, his Dad (my brother) and his sister. Like his Dad, he loves music and plays bass, several guitars and also sings. My brother will be taking him to see his favorite band, Red Hot Chili Peppers on November the 14th at the Rose Garden in Portland. Now, the thing is, Gabriel, or Gaby, as we call him, would love to meet his hero, Flea. If anyone out there knows if there is a way, do let me know, please? In the meantime, here are some of his videos.

St. SebastiĂĄn Street Festival

It’s officially the end of Christmas season for us Puerto Ricans, since today is the last day of the St. SebastiĂĄn street festival in Old San Juan. And, here is a little bit of history, with permission from enciclopediapr.org:

“Saint Sebastian, whose day is commemorated on January 20, was born in Narbonne, France. The saint was an officer for Roman emperor Maximian in mid-third century. The martyr, who was accused of being a Christian, refused to abandon his faith, for which he was sentenced to death by the emperor. In Catholic imagery, this saint is represented as being tied to a tree and wounded by arrows.

These festivities in honor of Saint Sebastian began in the 1950s. They were organized by Father Madrazo, parish priest of the San José Church in Old San Juan with the purpose of raising funds in order to repair various church buildings. Some years later, this celebration was discontinued.

In 1970, Ricardo AlegrĂ­a, anthropologist and historian, suggested to Rafaela Balladares de Brito, resident of San SebastiĂĄn Street, to resume the festival celebration. With the help of neighbors, Balladares organized the festivities, this time to benefit Colegio de PĂĄrvulos, elementary school directed by sisters of charity and also located on San SebastiĂĄn Street.

During the first years, a group of musicians would walk through San Juan’s streets announcing the festivity early in the morning. There was a procession from San SebastiĂĄn Street to San JosĂ© Church in which they carried the saint’s image. Cabezudos —people in costumes and wearing masks of enormous proportions which represented the Catholic King and Queen— participated in the procession.

As part of the activities, neighbors decorated the street and their home’s balcony. They prepared dresses for the traditional dances and typical foods. They also served as hosts of the musical shows. Additionally, in front of JosĂ© Campeche’s house, Puerto Rican painter of the eighteenth century, there was a small exhibit of paintings. Later on, an artisan fair was included in the festival; it still takes place.

Today, the procession reaches San Juan Bautista Cathedral, located on Cristo Street. The Cabezudos parade, which now includes characters of Puerto Rican folklore such as Juan Bobo, the General, and Diplo, goes through the streets of the islet, followed by the public, which sings and dances to the beat of the music. There is also a formal dance as well as conferences.

In time, the San SebastiĂĄn Street Festival has become very popular. More than 200,000 people participate in it. Its fame has transcended the island; it is now internationally renowned.”

Last year, they dedicated the festival to Ricky Martin. This year, the festivity was dedicated to JosĂ© Feliciano. I’ll leave you some photos I took. Enjoy!

3 Kings Night with BalĂșn & Mima

Epiphany, January the 6th, or 3 Kings Day is a big holiday for hispanic people all over the world. We get to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus and the belief that 3 kings from the Middle East came to visit and honor him with gifts in Bethlehem. So, everybody exchanges gifts and children get toys and all that, but I decided to go see BalĂșn and Mima at ‘Y no habĂ­a luz’s’ studio theater.

When you got there, you had to leave your shoes on a table at the entrance. They had conditioned the floors with cushions and comforters. That way everyone could sit down and enjoy the show without inconveniencing those behind you. I love the way they had set up the stage.

They also had set up an improvised bar where they sold beer and other beverages. You can see some of the theater’s props hanging around. ‘Y no habĂ­a luz’ specializes in puppeteering, stop motion and short sketches. I like the bomb lamp.

BalĂșn opened the show and they were glorious. I love their music so much that if in my lifetime, someone ever approaches me with the desire to make my novel into a movie, I will definitely have BalĂșn to do the music score. I like how they combine electronic sounds with musical toy instruments, like the piano-flute and the toy xylophone.

Nora plays the bass and the tiple, and she is wonderful.

Angélica plays violin, accordion, and other instruments, plus, she sings beautifully.

BalĂșn also invited other musicians to join them, but I don’t know all of their names. What you see in the center is a box with grass. The night before 3 Kings Day, you’re supposed to prepare a box with grass and a bowl of water for the kings’ camels to eat and drink. You have to leave those under the Christmas tree, where your gifts magically appear next morning. Some people even leave milk and cookies for the kings…, of course they all do this for their kids. I remember my parents helping me and my siblings out, choosing a nice shoe box and picking up the greenest grass, and have it all ready under the tree for the kings to come and leave presents.

This is when Mima came in to join everyone. The fusion they made was exquisite. Wish I had a video camera to record some of it.

And here is a last one of Mima and AngĂ©lica playing the musical saw. It’s a shame the photo did not come out so clear.

To make up for the missing sounds in this post, I have searched over You Tube and found a lovely clip from BalĂșn. Hope you like it.

And I also found an experimental video someone made, with one of my favorite songs from Mima, Damen.

And yet, another video. This is Mima playing live the song, ‘Agua FrĂ­a’.

BalĂșn has a website with some free downloads. Just go here: BalĂșn Online

Mima has a website too:
Mima MĂșsica

Hope you get to check out their awesome music!

Zoé

So, I went to see ZoĂ© last night at the Tito Puente Amphitheater and it was awesome! I really like this mexican band. Their music is some sort of mixture of psychedelic rock, electronic and post-punk. It’s a shame the crowd over here was not as enthusiastic as I had hoped for, but I enjoyed it anyways.

Here are some photos.

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The only songs I missed were ‘Deja te conecto’ and ‘Babilonia,’ but thank God there is You Tube. I found this clip from 2008.