Music Through the Eyes of a Child
The unspoiled ritmo & innocence of childhood
Another week~end has come and gone in the Land of 1000 Dances, and despite the shape of our World today, the ongoing war in the Middle East, and the price of gas still being a major pain in the ass, our people rocked on!
Published on LatinoLA: June 7, 2005
The Blues Straight Up Band rocked the house in Toluca Lake. Sangria took it to the Gente in Santa Fe Springs and Norwalk. Mouths are watering for the Annual Oxnard Salsa Festival in July. The buzz throughout Aztlan is all about Ruben Molina's "Kings of Soul" concert in August, and the East L.A. Revue All Star Band brought it home to the people this past Saturday in the San Gabriel Valley con ganas.
This last gig is the focus of this piece today, but with a difference twist.
Most gigs I promote, attend , and write about are usually about the adult Gente gettin' their boogie on and having a good time, the "21 & over" theme being the only qualifications needed to get into the ritmo. No kids gettin' their boogie on here.
With the exception of overzealous toy commercials disguised as children's programming, there isn't a lot in the way of entertainment for children they can share with their parents, let alone music.
This last Saturday, I saw things in a different light, thanks to some beautiful little Brown people, who touched my heart with their innocence and enthusiasm.
The East L.A. Revue All Star Band, one of Aztlan's heavies, threw another fan appreciation party for the Gente, this time at JR's Italian Food & Sportsbar in Covina, Califas. As usual, they were "in da zone", horns cookin', percussion thumpin', music movin', and the superb vocal duo of Maria Sandoval & Teri Speed keeping people unglued from their seats & pizza and on the dance floor.
As usual, a good crowd was on hand, which included my Lady & I, and as usual, we hadn't even finished our first beer & we were out on the dance floor gettin' our boogie on, bumpin' shoulders with manager Steven Chavez, his lovely wife Janie, and the Gente that had me feeling right at home. It's that comfortable feeling you get when you're at a Latino wedding, quincenera or backyard family bar-b-que or reunion, where everybody's having a good time and good music is laying down a magic carpet we can all take a ride on, and their ain't no pedo in the house.
Nothing like it, believe me! That's Aztlan!
JR's is a family establishment, meaning that Gente of all ages are welcome. In a comfortable, family like environment, with the smell of good food cooking, and the "East Side Sound" being performed live, where else could you want to be on a mellow Southern Califas Saturday night?
With the band playing, and us adults kicking chancla, I noticed a lot of teenagers and younger kids watching, starry eyed, at the wonderment of all "the old folks" smiling, dancing, and having a good time. As the band played on, a few teenagers ventured onto new territory to dance to the Oldies. After awhile, it was on! You couldn't keep them down!
Taking a break from the action, I stepped out into the cool night air to catch my breath after 3 hot numbers. I noticed a young teen aged girl, obviously a big sister, taking her younger brother & sister outside for some air while their parents got in a little boogie action. They were obviously waiting for some other family members to arrive, for as soon as the awaited party pulled up & honked, the 2 younger children rushed to their car, the big sister giving chase.
As they came walking up to the entrance, the little boy, probably around 5 years old, proudly exclaimed "C'mon! You gotta see my Mommy & Daddy dance! Look!!" I couldn't help but peer into the entrance where the little guy was pointing, and there were his parents, warmly embraced and swaying romantically to Maria Sandoval's hauntingly beautiful rendition of "You'll lose a good thing". With Mom's head on his shoulder, and Dad holding his woman close, they both had their eyes closed, smiling, as they danced the dance of love. The little girl, maybe around 6 or 7, noticed me looking and turned to me and said "that's my Mom & Dad!" with the biggest, most innocent smile of pride that touched my heart, thusly inspiring this piece from that point.
Thank you, Mija! Whoever you are!
I had to come in and grab my Lady for this one, and for a brief second, as Albert Barron hit that sweet saxophone solo, I caught Maria Sandoval's eyes. She smiled at us, as she knew we can never sit down for this one! At many appearances, she has honored us by publicly dedicating this one to us. This time she didn't have to...she did this one for all of us...especially for the parents of those proud little kids, who held each other like they probably haven't in awhile. Thanks, Maria! You go girl!
That's the music of my people! That's Aztlan!
I met a guy named Pietro Sansosti and his lovely wife Terry. He said he was a disabled Viet Nam Vet who, because of a war injury, couldn't get up & dance anymore. He said he was a long time friend of Steven Chavez, and just came down to hear the band. When the band broke out into one of his all time favorites, Chicago's "Beginnings", Pietro suprised his wife and all of us by getting up on the dance floor and getting down! For the rest of the night, you couldn't miss Pietro on the dance floor...he had the biggest smile!
I met a guy who had said he came all the way from Anchorage, Alaska, to visit his cousin, the Revue's Conga Ray Ybarra. He spent most of the evening holding his beautiful little daughter in his arms while he boogied the night away, her smile getting everybody's attention....Chicanitas do that!!
I also ran into L.A. Thunderbird's skating great Honey Sanchez, the honey of the Revue's drummer Rene Flores. She was in a wheelchair, her foot bandaged from a recent fall. She started out the night in her wheelchair, just watching & digging the music.
My Lady & I were kicking up chancla later on when she smiled and pointed behind my back, telling me "look at that!".
... I turned around, and there was Honey, on crutches, getting her boogie on!
To say the least, it was a warm, comfortable night to dance & party in the Land of 1000 Dances...and my Lady & I, like everybody else at JR's that night, did just that!
...And all around us were happy, smiling children!...
...it couldn't have gotten any better, thanks to my friends, the East L.A. Revue.
You guys know how to throw a party!!!
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Frankie Firme spins the finest Chicano Oldies but Goodies on the World Wide web on kclafm.com and chicanoexpress.com