Pedro Martinez doesn’t hold grudges but …

Screen shot 2015-05-05 at 9.08.14 PMLord knows I’m no fan of Pedro Martinez or the Boston Red Sox, but I must say this NPR interview with the Dominican-born pitching great on All Things Considered has me seeing him in a different light.

Why? Although he says he doesn’t hold grudges, he says he’ll never tip his hat at Fenway Park again because they booed him once. WOMP. ūüėČ

Martinez was on to promote his new memoir Pedro (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May 2015).

But seriously, he surprised me. He admits he’s a fan of Roger Clemens, and he also goes on to explain that haunting “Yankees ‘are my daddy'” comment. He chalks it up to a bad translation of a Dominican saying meaning someone has your number.

People from Barranquilla, Colombia, (where my parents are from) also have that saying, and it’s why the battle hymn¬†for our local football team, J√ļnior de Barranquilla, is “Junior tu pap√°!” So it definitely translates, Pedro.

Anyway, listen to the interview below. He actually makes the team I disliked so much sound … fun? (Yep. I surprised myself.) And read an excerpt of it here via Sports Illustrated.

http://www.npr.org/player/embed/404483222/404483226

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Storify: Barranquilla, Colombia’s Carnival

I recently wrote a piece for Sounds and Colours in hopes of transporting readers to the Carnival in Barranquilla, Colombia. It contains great music, so check it out here!

I’m also compiling a Storify piece all weekend long. I’ll be scouring social media for the best images, tweets, and videos, of Carnival and share them accordingly. You can start with the pre-festivities stuff below.

[View the story “Carnaval de Barranquilla” on Storify]

Unexpected pairing: Colombian carnival & Ronzo’s street art

Ronzo & a police officer in Bogotà. Pic via his Instagram.
Ronzo & a police officer in Bogotà. Pic via his Instagram.

Colombia’s carnival, held in my parents’ hometown of Barranquilla, is upon us. For what to expect, check out these posts I wrote for Sounds and Colours.

Though I couldn’t fit a trip to “carnavales” in this year’s schedule, I keep up with the news via barranquilladecarnaval.com. This latest bit of news is worth sharing as it brings one of Europe’s most graffiti artists to Barranquilla. A mix of folkloric tradition with a specialist in guerilla urban street art? Unexpected, but very cool.

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Barranquilla, Colombia — Well-known London-based urban artist, Ronzo, will exchange knowledge with a group of artists from the port city of Barranquilla, Colombia.

Sponsored by beer-brand Club Colombia, the event will bring Ronzo together with more than 30 artisans working with the Carnival of Barranquilla — the number two most popular carnival in South America.¬†

The aim of the exchange is for folk artists learn more about the diverse cultural expressions of graffiti, in aspects such as creativity, colors, languages ‚Äč‚Äčand textures. Thereafter, the learning acquired by craftsmen is to serve as inspiration for the design and construction of the Club Colombia float, which will be used in the annual carnival’s biggest event — La Battala de Flores parade on March 1.

Ronzo, who refers to himself as¬†‘vandal extraordinaire,’ will also¬†share his knowledge and skills with students of the Universidad del Atl√°ntico.

Ronzo is contemplating painting a mural donated to the city of Barranquilla.

Ronzo born in Munich, Germany, and settled in London in 2000 after completing his studies in design at the School of Art in Hamburg.

It was in London where he cemented his style and became popular worldwide, leaving his creations on paper, streets, and buildings. His work is not immune to underlying social and political messages. In 2009, he installed “Crunchy,¬†the official mascot of the global financial meltdown” in London.

Crunchy, the mascot for the global financial meltdown. (2009)
Crunchy, the mascot for the global financial meltdown. (2009)

Ronzo’s creations include illustrations, murals, outdoor installations, and sculptures. His work, in constant evolution, has been positioned in the streets, video games, galleries and cinematography.

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I’m excited to see this float! I’ll have my cousins snap a photo for me. And even though it never tastes the same here in the States, I’ll buy a six-pack of Club Colombia to celebrate.

I wonder if it’s Ronzo’s first time at Carnival. If so, he will most definitely have fun. That’s a given! Extranjeros are always received with open arms in mi bella Barranquilla. I hope he gets to visit Santa Marta, Taganga, and Cartagena, where I remember seeing cool street art.

Follow news about the carnival at the Carnival site. Learn more about Ronzo at his site or on Twitter.

My latest on ‘Sounds and Colours’

I wanted to share a couple of recent posts I wrote for the London, England,-based Sounds and Colours, a music and culture magazine that focuses on Latin America.

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SOAP OPERA RELIVES COLOMBIAN SOCCER HISTORY

One cannot discuss Colombian history of the 1990s without a mention of the national soccer teams of the era. After all, the squads of that decade made Colombian history, qualifying for three World Cups in a¬†row‚ÄĒItaly ‚Äô90, USA ‚Äô94 and France ‚Äô98.

Now, those moments in¬†futbol¬†history are being played out in a¬†telenovela¬†by Caracol Television that has millions of Colombians hooked. The soap opera, ‚ÄúLa Selecci√≥n,‚ÄĚ is also playing in the United States.

The series focuses on four of the country‚Äôs best-known players, Carlos ‚ÄúEl Pibe‚ÄĚ Valderrama, Rene Higuita, Freddy Rincon, and Faustino Aspirilla.

Read more here.

BARRANQUILLA IS ARTIST’S CONSTANT INFLUENCE

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If there is one thing I equate with Colombia and its people, flag, music, Carnival, Feria de las Flores, and several other festivals, it is bright, exuberant colors. So I wasn’t surprised when I stumbled upon works by Colombian artist Jorge Luis Rosenvaig.

I was searching for an image for a¬†Chibcha¬†(my parents had a couple of Chibcha wall ornaments when I was a kid) for a possible tattoo when I came across Rosenvaig‚Äôs ‚ÄúChibchacum‚ÄĚ on a site called¬†Saatchi Online, a site whose tagline is ‚ÄúDiscover Art. Get Discovered.‚ÄĚ

Discover I did, and once I started clicking through to his other works, I immediately set out to find out more about the artist. Rosenvaig obliged with the following email interview.

Read the Q & A here.

The connection between Tampa, Fl., and Barranquilla, Colombia

Barranquilla Mayor Elsa Noguera De La Espriella and Tampa’s Bob Buckhorn. (Image courtesy of the city of Tampa.)

I keep up on general news (especially music-related) coming out of Barranquilla, Colombia, because it’s where my parents are from. I love going there for the annual carnival, which I wrote about for Sounds and Colours. It’s QUITE the party.

So you can imagine my surprise when I received a press release today about Barranquilla’s sister city in the United States. Because that city is Tampa. Tampa? Yes, Tampa.

Apparently, Barranquilla and Tampa have been sister cities since¬†1966. The two cities agreed to collaborate through the “Sister Cities” program “for the mutual benefit of their citizens and communities by exploring educational, economic and cultural opportunities.” (By the way, for you random trivia buffs, Tampa is also the Sister City of: LeHavre, France, Oviedo, Spain, Vera Cruz/Boca del Rio, Mexico, Izmir, Turkey, Agrigento, Italy, and Ashdod, Israel.)

Apparently the “Sister Cities” thing isn’t a permanent affair because on Dec. 6, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn joined Barranquilla Mayor Elsa Noguera De La Espriella to reaffirm the Sister Cities partnership. Buckhorn presented Noguera De La Espriella with a painting of Old City Hall by local artist Arnold Martinez as a gift.

 

 

Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto & Geko Jones at LPR

Masters of Colombian folkloric cumbia,¬†Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto, played Le Poisson Rouge on July 26 and it was a thing of beauty. Lead singer¬†Juan “Chuchita” Fern√°ndez may be in his 80s, but he shows no signs of slowing down as he consistently charmed the crowd throughout the nearly two hour performance. And, yes, that front row full of YOUNG LADIES.

Geko Jones, one of the New York tropical scene’s hottest DJs, kept the crowd bailando with¬†sets interspersed with classic Colombian tunes and, of course, various remixes that put a modern take on this amazing music. Check out his latest¬†mixtape here.

A second set by Los Gaiteros included special guest musicians, including some from¬†M.A.K.U. Soundsystem, a Queens based, afroColombian punk, funk and jazz supergroup that I’ll be profiling in Sounds and Colours in the near future.

All photos by me.

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