You never know what you’re going to find when conducting a random search on social media. Case in point: I recently typed #champeta into Instagram’s search bar and stumbled upon an interesting champeta-inspired track by, what seemed to be, a pop star from Colombia. What’s this? Is champeta going mainstream?
Turns out, the artist is Martina La Peligrosa, (real name Martina López) a native of Córdoba, on the Northern part of Colombia’s Caribbean coast…
I have an interesting relationship with Colombian vallenato music in that my Colombian-music loving self didn’t always love it. I recall my cousin Maria asking me why I didn’t love it at and me saying “it’s old people music.” Ha! (We joke now that she was — and still is– a romantic, and I was [and still am] a cynical cold hearted kid. Go figure.)
I often heard vallenato at parties growing up because it is somewhat of a somber music, in which the ‘grownups’ sat around, reminisced about their homeland, and had shots of aguardiente. At home, my dad preferred to play salsa and cumbia as he was always more of an upbeat music fan (like me!).
Like my father, I preferred to listen to salsa and cumbia, and later champeta, but I gained an appreciation for vallenato as a young adult when I really started paying attention to the lyrics. So sentimental!
This form of music originated from farmers who, keeping a tradition of Spanish minstrels (Juglares in Spanish), mixed also with the West African-inherited tradition of griots (African version of juglar), who used to travel through the region with their cattle in search of pastures or to sell them in cattle fairs. Because they traveled from town to town and the region lacked rapid communications, these farmers served as bearers of news for families living in other towns or villages. Their only form of entertainment during these trips was singing and playing guitars or indigenous gaita flutes, known as kuisis in the Kogi language, and their form of transmitting their news was by singing their messages. (Source.)
Known as “el cacique (native chief),” Diaz was regarded as one of the best singer-songwriters of vallenato. But he didn’t come without controversy:
Diaz led a tempestuous life, serving time in jail over the death of a fan at a party in his home. He often showed up late to concerts or not at all, something his fans put down to his addiction to drugs and alcohol.
In 1997, at the height of his career and shortly before the launch of his album Mi Biografia (My Biography), a fan and friend of Diaz, Doris Adriana Nino, was found dead by the side of a highway in Tunja province. Forensic experts at first said that she had died of a heart attack following a drug overdose at a party hosted by Diaz, but a later forensic report suggested she had been suffocated.
After a lengthy trial, Diaz was sentenced to 12 years in jail for homicide, a sentence which was later reduced to six years.
Diaz, who had been put under house arrest, went on the run when he was due to be transferred to jail, allegedly hiding away in an area controlled by the infamous paramilitary leader known as Jorge 40. He handed himself in to the authorities in 2002 and, after having his sentence further reduced, was released in 2004. (Source.)
Much like when tropical music king Joe Arroyo died in 2011, Colombians have taken to the streets to pay homage to Diaz. And Valledupar’s mayor has declared four days of mourning.
Radio stations are playing songs from his vast discography nonstop.
There are several favorites of Diaz I love, but I’ll leave you with “Mensaje de Navidad” since it’s appropriate for the Christmas season:
Again, the lyrics are somber, but true, as the holidays aren’t always “joyous” if one is away from loved ones.
Unos dicen: Que buena las navidades Es la época más linda de los años Pero hay otros que no quieren acordarse De la fiesta de Año Nuevo y aguinaldo Pero hay otros que no quieren acordarse De la fiesta de Año Nuevo y aguinaldo
Life has thrown some changes my way in the past few years and the anxiety began to consume me. It started slowly, probably three or so years ago. Recently, it got worse. I became irritable and unfriendly, at first just when I was at home, then at other times. My wife has probably borne the brunt of the effects, and she’s a saint for dealing with it. I’ve tried hard not to let my children notice. I didn’t tell anyone at school how I was feeling.
Oh, what a day it’s been so far. Some of you follow me on Facebook and may recall an update about a man who Googled me on his iPad while we were on his second date, found some footage of me reporting from SXSW and proceeded to google the model/presenter who set up the segment so we can look at her in a bikini.
This inspired me to finally create a web series I had been thinking about for over a year called Bad Dates in the City, currently in pre-production! #LBDinNYCProds @BadDates
After I decided I had no interest in seeing this man again, I ignored his three texts “Did you take the bus home? “How’s it going?” and “Hello”) which came over a span of a week and a half until I opted to text him back this morning to the polite tune of, “Thanks for the other night and it was nice meeting you, but don’t wish to chat further. Thanks and good luck! Best, Lindsay”
Well, here is how this Ivy league grad with an MBA that I met on JDate responded:
The year also brought us more social media by way of Instagram and Vine videos (watch some hilarious Vine vids here), chats that disappear via Snapchat, and Twitter and Facebook continue with high engagement from their users.
On my Facebook page, it was a big (no pun intended) year for news of everyone’s favorite male member: the penis! I’ve rounded up some of the year’s best peen news nuggets below.
Best medical development for a crooked penis news: FDA approves drug for severe curvature of the penis: Treatment with Xiaflex involves two injections of the drug into the penile scar tissue and a penile “modeling” procedure that involves manipulation of the penis by a healthcare provider. It sounds painful, but so is having a crooked peen, according to the article.
Best news anchor #fail related penis news (VIDEO): ABC12 news reporter Siobhan Riley was detailing which sections of Saginaw, Michigan, would be undergoing construction on a large map. As she laid out the grid plan, she unknowingly drew what appeared to be a large phallus, complete with testicles at the bottom. Hey maybe she had something on her mind.
BestMike Tyson is involved in this one, so there’s really nothing good, better, or best, about it: The former heavyweight champions autobiography contained tons of surprises about his chaotic life. In fact, that he used a Fake Penis to Pass Drug Tests is the least surprising nugget out of this gem.
Best indecent exposure arrest-related penis news:He claims his penis was itchy, but according to police, this sicko was following a customer around in a store while jerking his chicken. Gross. A Florida man arrested on indecent exposure charges said he had to expose himself in a department store because his genitals were itchy.
Best science-related penis news:This may depend on your (personal issues) point of view, I guess: “The attractiveness of a larger penis is intertwined with height and body shape, new research suggests.” Penis size does matter.
Second runner-up:Oh, Florida, you know I couldn’t leave you out of this! And, to boot, you know there’s a critical shortage of good math teachers when, “Jeanne Michaud, a Seminole County math teacher, had nearly a 30-year history of disciplinary problems, but parents said she was talented and could make even advanced courses fun.” Teacher fired over penis carving.
I’ll end the list with something that sits below the peen:
I’ve been collecting strange dreams, so it’s dream interpretation time!
Over the weekend, I dreamt that no matter where I was, I was getting served fancy dishes of food (in those silver covered serving dishes), and every time the tuxedo-clad waiter removed the top cover, my food would be garnished with a fancy wristwatch. So, say the meal was a filet mignon, a Movado watch would be carefully placed over it (the watch was always sleek and black.) So what’s the deal with watches in my dreams?
“To see or wear a wristwatch in your dream suggests that you need to be more carefree and spontaneous. Your life is too structured. Or you are feeling limited and constrained. Alternatively, the watch symbolizes the ticking of the human heart and thus is indicative of the emotional side of your life. The dream may also be a metaphor to indicate that you need to ‘watch out.'”
As for “silver,” or “silverware,” (I don’t remember seeing silver utensils, just the serving dish):
“To see silver in your dream symbolizes the moon, intuition and the feminine aspects of yourself. It signifies tranquility and understated confidence.”
“To see or use new and fancy silverware in your dream indicates harmony in your domestic life. Things are going well. Alternatively, the dream signifies your willingness to help others and to lend a hand.”
On another night, I dreamt that I was trying to warn friends that there was impending danger (don’t remember the specifics about the danger) and I kept struggling because I had a huge black eye. It was my left eye, and it was accompanied by a huge swollen knot in my left temple. People kept asking what had happened to me and I kept saying I didn’t know. It was a frustrating dream and I don’t remember if there was ever a resolution.
Here’s what I found on Dreammoods:
To dream that you have a bruise represents stress and mounting pressure that you are dealing with in your waking life. It may also refer to a reawakening of old, family wounds that have not been properly addressed. Alternatively, the dream is telling you that you need to accept the consequences of your actions. Consider the symbolism of the specific part of your body that is bruised.
To dream that your eyesare injured or closed suggests your refusal to see the truth about something or the avoidance of intimacy. You may be expressing feelings of hurt, pain or sympathy.
To dream that you are warning someone suggests that you need to recognize the dangers or negatives of some situation. You need to bring this to the surface.
So that’s that.
As to whether these interpretations help or hinder is another blog post in itself!
Sikhism is one of the youngest and most widespread religions in the world. I’ve lived my whole life with the knowledge that I’m a born-follower of this religion, I am a Sikh.
From a young age I would accompany my mum to the Gurdwara (temple) either for religious programmes held by friends and family, for festivals such as Vaisakhi or Diwali, or simply just to sit next to her as she would listen to and join in with the calming prayers recited by a Gyani Ji (priest) in hopes that the echoing religious teachings might rub off on me a bit. But the truth is that I never understood exactly what the Gyani Ji was saying and still to this day I often find myself lacking in concentration and failing to understand the moral lessons that I’m supposed to have learnt through prayer recital.
I wish I had more information to share about this video because it’s bad ass. If features a bevy of Latina rappers who I assume hail from Ecuador (they flash the flag a couple of times in the video) spitting some thoughtful lyrics about women, femininity, the barrios they are from, resistance, activism, and more.
Watch below. (And shout out to the girl who comes in at 3:53. She can spit!)