Five Musical Weekends in the Land of 1000 Dances
SATISFACTION, Ray Carrion, The Kool Katz, BALANCE, The Battle of the Bands, 20th Anniversary parties, and other killer music
Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor
¡Orale, Mi Gente!
Published on LatinoLA: November 27, 2016
2016 is coming to an end, we gonna have a new President, and we got to get ready for 2017!
The last 5 weekends surrounding the Presidential election, and NFL season which finds L.A.'s prodigal sons the Raiders in first place while the Rams enjoy their first season back in the City of Angels, have been so fine for our Chicano music as we continue to dance & celebrate life together, whatever changes may come!
A couple of years ago I wrote a piece regarding "CHICANO MUSIC" that got many responses, both pro & con, some good, some hostile, so I'm going to briefly restate my perception & mild definition in case I don't make it to 2017, for those scratching your heads on this one.
As a DJ on World wide Internet Radio, at private parties and live shows, I get so many requests for so many different Genres of music from good people of different ages and RAZA's that it seems almost a mild shame to give off a hint of racism to put good music into a secular category, as the theme of my radio show is "Bringing it back and keeping it alive, playing what nobody else plays"... a direct hit on Los Angeles commercial radio, which appears to have forgotten that not everybody listens to Hip-Hop or Spanish language music radio...and that Chicanos DO PARTY & LIVE LIFE in English! ... including the adults over 40 !
I wish to state adamantly, that there IS NO particular Genre of music that defines me or my people, but we as a people are defined by our tastes and our arts, that seem to be ignored when we are portrayed in the public eye by the media.
It annoys me to heartburn & flatus that TV, movies, and the general commercial media defines most Latinos as either unemployed bald headed guys with tattoos with "Gangsta Rap" music playing in the background hanging out in the street, or a cowboy hat wearing, Spanish-speaking guy selling paletas or getting off a manual labor job, or sexy Chola hookers standing on street corners, with Mariachi music playing in the background.
...and EVERYBODY talks with an accent!!
Granted, these types of people happily exist and co-exist, but that's not ALL OF US, and it is unfair to stereotype us and give off the perception that we only listen to 2 types of music exclusively and exist only in 2 types of lifestyles .... and that we all talk with a heavy Spanish accent or sarcastic "East Coast" accent.
I am educated & gainfully employed as a professional, enjoy dressing up and stepping out in style with my Lady and friends... but I can also hang with the dudes in shorts, sports jerseys, baseball caps & barefoot in chanclas if they share mutual respect in public and know how to act, know what I mean?
I, along with a multitude of Gente, many of whom I am lucky enough to personally share a stage or dance floor with, or the many listeners of my radio show across our great Country and from different Countries in different parts of the World, enjoy a vast array of music genres that cover Blues, Rock & Roll, Funk, Tejano-Tex Mex, Jazz, Rancheras, Gospel, Boleros, Classic Disco (now called "Freestyle"), R&B, Soul, Classic Rock, Soul/Oldies but Goodies Ballads, Afro-Cuban, Salsa, Cumbias, Classic Motown, and hot Latin Soul ... a virtual jukebox of music and good times that cannot ever be the exclusive domain of any given people ... Rap, Hip-Hop and Mariachi included! ... Chicanos & Chicanas enjoy the hell out of this music!
Being that I am a East Los Angeles-born Mexican American like my mother, that has carried the mantle of CHICANO since the 1960s, and lucky enough to have friends, family, and fans from the same generation with similar tastes & experiences that have survived to 60 years plus and are still out there living life, I stand as such....
... I also proudly carry the mantle of being the first Latino-American Internet Radio DJ/Radio Personality in Los Angeles to proudly claim being CHICANO over the "web" airwaves when Internet Radio was brand new and virtually untested in 1999 ... but my perspectives have been widened and enlightened in the 17 years since, and I am proud to say I am LATINO as well, which reflects a much larger "tribe" to be a proud part of, and I now see it as a foolish, obsolete, useless, and naive way of existing to even think that "LATINO" is a watering down dilution of our cultura....
There! SOMEBODY said it!
...and I would be remiss in not stating that my many music influences, tastes and many friends generously cover ALL RACES, along with the many colorful & talented tastes, Art, & styles of my brother & sister Latinos from all 3 Americas, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Caribean.
Most of our popular American music today is Black-inspired, whether anybody wants to admit that or not ... and a lot of popular Black American music is Latino inspired...isn't that a beautiful fact to accept & share? ... let's dance to "Chicano music" then !
Whew! OK! ... got THAT off my chest after another 10 years...and now for the music!
(Your comments are welcome below...)
The best music on the World wide web is found at: www.eastLArevue.com
Both Salas Brothers of TIERRA fame, Steve & Rudy have separately released new Holiday tunes, just in time for the Holidays....both are pretty nice! Look for them on Amazon.com
Five weekends ago, The powerful SATISFACTION BAND made a much in demand return to the San Fernando Valley, supporting the North Valley Youth Football League at the Northridge Women's Club Hall. The small but enthusiastic partying crowd was privy to outstanding music, dancing, and killer vocal performances by singers Rita Melendrez, Lulu Cardona, Lava Gonzalez, and Monibee Henley ... the word of the night was "Daaaamn!"
They were THAT good! SATISFACTION once again proved their namesake!
Four weekends ago, I was privy to join the Production team of Ray Carrion/Thee Mr. Duran at The A MI HACIENDA Restaurant & nightclub as the Battle of the Bands # 4 took place before a large & appreciative crowd.
I was honored to be House DJ once again, as 4 bands from 4 corners of the Land of 1000 Dances came together for a spectacular music concert & dance.
Starting off the show and representing the California Inland Empire burg of San Bernardino, BB WOLF opened up with some hard hitting funk, Cumbias, and Rock & Roll. Man, these Bruthas got it going on! I highly recommend them!
Next up, representing Los Angeles, Dale Villavicencio's BONGO FUNK came up and changed the page with some rowdy funk & soul R&B which kept the dance floor cooking. Look for these guys to make some serious noise in 2017!
Coming up next, representing the central California coastal crowd of Sana Barbara, Pepe Marquez, aka "The Soul Man de Santa Barbara," came up with his group THE GROOVELINE, featuring his saucy & sassy vocalist Dora Sanchez, showing the Gente what's up in the central coast. Another highly recommended group of talented Gente!
Closing off the show, representing the northern Califas section of Aztlan, aka San Jose, The KOOL KATZ came out and "wow'd" everybody, keeping the dance floor packed with hard hitting Old School Funk, Rock & Roll & R & B. Lead vocalist Kelly Galvan retains her spot as one of the more exciting Chicana Music stage singers & performers in California today, as hubby Art Galvan got some attention as well with his exceptional guitar solos & riffs, and backup vocals
At the end of the show, Producer Ray Carrion and MC Thee Mr. Duran happily announced to the crowd that THEY were the real winners, having partied and danced to a show of stars that may not ever come together on the same stage again .... and the saddest about about this show was that it had to come to an end.
The next weekend it was up the highway to San Jose, as I was honored to serve as Guest House DJ and Co-Host/MC for The KOOL KATZ's 20th Anniversary Concert & Dance party at the Drying Shed Club in San Jose.
Man! If I thought L.A.'s performance was energy expending, the KOOL KATZ in their hometown of San Jose, in front of their cheering hometown crowd, were absolutely marvelous! Bringing back a multitude of guest musicians and former band members from the KOOL KATZ's past 20 years contributed to a great and memory making show ... of course Kelly Galvan was totally in her element, as she belted out tune after tune that kept the dance floor packed.
The World needs more music and dancing like this, know what I mean? Beats having a war or arguing about political bullshit, know what I mean?
The next weekend it was back in the Land of 1000 Dances as Sammy Medina and the ever popular BALANCE Band entertained almost 1,000 of their closest friends at the Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet for a killer party & dance under a glorious Southern Califas sun.
BALANCE also announced that they will be performing for New Years Eve at the Guest House Hotel & IV Lounge in Norwalk. along with Thee Mad Latins and your's truly DJ Frankie Firme and DJ Vince of Norwalk Records....gonna be a party!! Book your rooms now! Dinner & breakfast & room packages available.
Later on that evening, it was off to the Whittier Radisson Hotel Ballroom where The POWERHOUSE Band, SUAVE, and SANGRIA Bands put on a great Sunday evening show and dance that also signaled the end of Peter Jaramillo's 10-year run of successful music shows, dances, and concerts at the Whittier Radisson Hotel which has drawn thousands over the years to good music and good times.
"It was a good ride...but like all good rides, it's come to an end" Peter Jaramillo said after a great drum performance with POWERHOUSE Band.
Peter says he will continue to perform with POWERHOUSE Band as he enjoys life as another "Sexy Senior" in the Land of 1000 Dances.
Thanks for the ride, Peter!!
Last Sunday was another killer Ray Carrion Production Show at the A MI HACIENDA RESTAURANT & NIGHTCLUB in Pico Rivera that had myself at House DJ, and Thee Mr. Duran at MC & Host duty, as Ray's L.A. LATIN LEGENDS ALL STARS hit the stage with a powerful and electrifying assemblage of talent that simply "wow'd" everybody in attendance for a pre-Thanksgiving Day party that will be talked about for a long while.
The Latin All Star lineup at this one included Ray Carrion at guitar, Rocky Padilla & Rick Reyes at bass, Tony Hernandez at keyboards, Steve Gutierrez at drums, Walfredo Reyes, Victor Orlando, David Rhodes, Mike Castenon, and Lazaro Torres at percussion, Gilberto Torres at flute, and Tex Nakamura at harmonica, while the array of talented vocalists included Steve Salas, Hank Castro, TeCheetah Lopez, Lulu Cardona, Gilbert Stokes, Francesca Capasso, Monibee Henley, Andy Rojo, and Matt Legaspi.
Probably one of the most talented & versatile brass sections in Los Angeles today includes Bobby Loya, Bobby Navarrette, John Burrola, and Andy Armenta, and these guys added to the magic of the moment in time that may never come to pass again...at least in 2016 that's for sure!
By the time this gets published, Steve Caudillo's Bomb Magazine's post Thanksgiving Day party & dinner/dance featuring The TOPICS BAND and the LOW KEY Band will have happened, with yours truly at MC & ouse DJ duty in San Pedro ... more word on that one in my next report from the Land of 1000 Dances!
...and that's just in the past month! See ya soon!
Enjoy your holidays, don't eat or drink too much, continue to respect & protect our women & children as we show the World we too, deserve respect
!Ay te watcho, from the Land of 1000 Dances.!
Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor:
FrankieFirme is the Al Capone of the microphone & the Hitman of West Coast Chicano Soul and the Voice of Aztlan
Email the author