Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869) was the first internationally recognized American pianist. He was also the first classical composer to notate the rhythms of Congo Square and other Latin rhythms on his travels through Latin America. He died in Brazil. Louis Moreau Gottshalk was a Son of New Orleans Gottschalk was born in New Orleans on May 8, 1829 to an Jewish … [Read more...] about Remember Louis Moreau Gottschalk, the First Composer to Notate the Rhythms of Congo Square
"Evita" Eva Perón was an actress and radio host who became a beloved first lady of Argentina. She is famous around the world for the Rice/Webber Broadway musical and movie "Evita." Eva María Duarte Eva María Duarte was born poor in the village of Los Toldos on May 7, 1919. It's a small town near Junin about four hours drive from Buenos Aires. Her father was French … [Read more...] about Remember “Evita” Eva Perón, “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”
In 2020, Major League Baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson Day on August 28. Based on 2020, the next Jackie Robinson Day is Saturday, August 28, 2021. Major League Baseball seems to be remembering the teenage Emmett Till who was lynched on this day in 1955, and Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech on August 28, 1963. #42 Broke the Color Barrier in … [Read more...] about On Jackie Robinson Day, We Remember #42, the Great Man Who Broke Baseball’s Color Barrier
Astor Piazzolla was an Argentine bandoneon player and composer who transformed traditional Argentine tango into a fusion of tango, classical music and jazz that he called "tango nuevo" (new tango). The seeds of tango nuevo were planted in New York City and nursed in Buenos Aires and Paris. Piazzolla wrote 'Adios Nonino' as an homage to his grandfather. In it you can … [Read more...] about Remember Astor Piazzolla and Nuevo Tango Jazz
Julia De Burgos, (1914-1953), was a renowned Puerto Rican poet and human rights activist. Her writings show a strength and independence that preceded the women’s rights movement in the United States by twenty years. En todo me lo juego a ser lo que soy yo”(I gamble it all to be exactly as I am) “Songfest: A Cycle of American Poems for Six Singers and Orchestra” (1977) by … [Read more...] about Remember Julia de Burgos, Puerto Rican Poet, ¡Río Grande de Loíza!
Gabriel García Márquez is the most famous Colombian writer. He is the author of many iconic Latin American novels including "One Hundred Years of Solitude" (1967), "The Autumn of the Patriarch" (1975), and "Love in the Time of Cholera" (1985). ARACATACA, Magdalena, Colombia Born in Aracataca, Magdalena, Colombia on March 6, 1927, Márquez rose to prominence during the … [Read more...] about Remember Gabriel García Márquez and Magical Realism
Benito Juárez, was President of Mexico from 1858 to 1872. He overcame the disadvantages of being Indigenous and poor to became a well-educated lawyer and politician. The third Monday in March is a national holiday in Mexico in honor of his birthday on March 21, 1806. A Reformer who laid the foundations for modern Mexico Juárez was a progressive reformer who worked … [Read more...] about Remember Benito Juárez, Indigenous Founding Father of Modern Mexico!
Cesar Chavez was a Mexican American labor leader and civil rights activist. Cesar Chavez Practiced Non-Violence Chavez grew up working in the fields of California with his parents. It's notoriously backbreaking work in an environment that can be very hazardous. The co-founder of the United Farm Workers union is remembered for improving the lives of agricultural … [Read more...] about Remember Cesar Chavez, the Mexican American Labor Leader!
Frederick Douglass (c. 1817 - 1895) was the American who is perhaps most responsible for the way we see ourselves as a "good people" and a constitutional democracy. He was both an abolitionist and supporter of women's rights. The Guardian of the U.S. Constitution The founding fathers wrote beautiful words, but didn't live up to them. Today we celebrate Abraham Lincoln for … [Read more...] about Remember Frederick Douglass Who Brought the Words of the U.S. Constitution to Life
Chavela Vargas was an LGBT Mexican ranchera singer who didn't just sing rancheras, she lived them. Honestly, when I think of ranchera, I think of Chavela. Chavela Vargas Isabel Vargas Lizano was born in San Joaquín Flores, Costa Rica on April 17, 1919. She ran away to Mexico when she was 14, attracted by the creative energy of the Mexican Golden Age after the Mexican … [Read more...] about Remember Chavela Vargas who didn’t just sing Mexican rancheras, she lived them
Tito Puente (1923-2000), "El Rey de los Timbales" or "The King of Latin Music," was a New York Puerto Rican whose career as a timbales player, songwriter and record producer spanned the formative eras of both Latin Jazz and Salsa. Puente, of Puerto Rican descent, was known for sounding very Cuban. Take It to the Bridge Puente means "bridge" in Spanish and he really was a … [Read more...] about Tito Puente is Still “The King of Latin Music”
Toussaint L'Ouverture (c. 1743-1803) was a Haitian general and independence leader. He freed his people from human enslavement. The Haitian Revolution was complicated because you had French, French-Americans, Africans, African-Americans and French-Africans all fighting each other. Plus there was fighting against the Spanish rulers of Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) and … [Read more...] about Remember Toussaint L’Ouverture, Early Leader of the Haitian Revolution
Catalino "Tite" Curet Alonso (1926-2003) was a prolific Puerto Rican composer who wrote around 200 salsa hits including 50 salsa classics. So many salsas that you know from the bands and singers were actually written by Tite. The Soul of the Caribbean is the Soul of a Poet We tend to associate songs with a singer and a band, but Tite is the composer of an incredible … [Read more...] about Remember “Tite” Curet Alonso, The Salsa Poet Who Wrote Many Salsa Hits, But is Not Credited
For those who think reggae isn't Latin, okay. But reggae has silent clave in it, the core rhythm of Cuban rumba, and the root of a lot of Latin music. Jamaica is a small island, but a big cultural influencer. Reggae influenced rock, punk, and reggaeton. For those who think Jamaica isn't Latin, okay. But Indigenous Jamaicans were early Caribbean peoples since around … [Read more...] about Bob Marley “One Love, One Heart, Let’s Get Together”
Langston Hughes was a writer about the Black experience and an important Harlem Renaissance figure. He was a journalist who also wrote poetry, plays and novels. Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri on February 1, 1902. Recent scholarship suggests it might have been 1901. He was raised mostly in Lawrence, Kansas and used books as a refuge from the boredom of growing up in the … [Read more...] about Remember Langston Hughes, Harlem Renaissance Man!
Maria Tallchief was born Ki He Kah Stah Tsa (Elizabeth Marie “Betty” Tallchief) in Fairfax, Oklahoma on January 24, 1925. She is a member of the Osage Nation, one of the First Nations of what are now Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas. She is remembered as America's first prima ballerina and the dancer who helped make George Balanchine's "The Nutcracker" the world's … [Read more...] about Remember Maria TallChief (Osage Nation), America’s & NY City Ballet’s First Prima Ballerina Who Popularized The Nutcracker
Arturo Alfonso Schomburg was a Puerto Rican intellectual whose collection of Black culture became the core of the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Arturo Schomburg of Puerto Rico Schomburg was born in Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico on January 24, 1874. He was German African Puerto Rican. A grade school teacher told him that … [Read more...] about Remember Arturo Schomburg, Harlem Renaissance Man!
Remember Antônio Carlos Jobim, one of the principle founders of bossa nova, who was born in Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on January 25, 1927. 🇧🇷 "Tom" Jobim is one of the primary artists behind the blending of samba and jazz which we call bossa nova. He uses the most beautiful jazz chords. Study Jobim and you'll not only learn bossa nova, you'll learn jazz. This brings … [Read more...] about Remember Antônio Carlos Jobim and The Girl From Ipanema!
Juan Pablo Duarte (1813-1876) was one of the founding fathers of the Dominican Republic. Born in Santo Domingo on January 26, 1813, Duarte was a criollo (first-generation American). He spent some of his childhood in exile in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico where his family sought refuge from the turmoil of the Haitian Revolution. The Struggle for the Independence of Hispaniola … [Read more...] about Remember Juan Pablo Duarte, Founding Father of the Dominican Republic
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, the great American civil rights leader, was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929. The national holiday in his honor is on the third Monday in January. The next one is Sunday, January 15, 2023. Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's leadership of non-violent protest for civil rights helped move … [Read more...] about Dear Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, We Have the Same Dream
Roberto Roena, "El Señor Bongó," is a Puerto Rican bomba and salsa legend who rose to prominence with Cortijo y Su Combo, was a founding member of El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, went solo as Roberto Roena y Su Apollo Sound and became a FANIA All-Star. Roena died last night on September 23, 2021. We are writing this from Ultimo Trolley in Santurce, across the street from … [Read more...] about Remember Roberto Roena, El Señor Bongó!
Singer-songwriter Juan Gabriel was one of Latin America's best-selling singer-songwriters. He made 32 records, sold over 30 million albums, and wrote over 1,800 songs. Gabriel produced other artists and many artists covered his songs. He was a tremendously influential Latin artist across the Americas. Hearing Gabriel's 'Hasta Que Te Conocí" inspired … [Read more...] about Remember Juan Gabriel, the Mexican Elvis!
Roberto Clemente was a Puerto Rican right fielder who brought Latinos into Major League Baseball. He died doing humanitarian work. Clemente was a great American. If you have a chance to help others and fail to do so, you are wasting your time on this earth."Roberto Clemente's motto We are intense and Clemente brought that passion into baseball. It's been part of the game … [Read more...] about Remember Roberto Clemente, a Great Baseball Player and Humanitarian!
Maradona, "El Pibe de Oro" (Golden Boy), was one of the greatest soccer players in history. He was a classic #10 who dribbled through crowds and seemed to have a magnetic relationship with the back of the goal. Giants fell before him. He could take the ball from the far end of the field and score. The Hand of God Diego played in four World Cups for Argentina.He is best … [Read more...] about Remember Maradona, The Hand of God, and One of the Greatest Soccer Players Ever
French-born Argentine Carlos Gardel is the icon of Argentine Tango. He was the second international Latin idol after Rudolph Valentino. Gardel's birthday is the International Day of Tango. Carlos Gardel was Born in France Charles Romuald Gardès was born in Toulouse, France on December 11, 1890. He moved to Buenos Aires with his mother in 1893. They lived at Calle Uruguay … [Read more...] about Remember Carlos Gardel, the Iconic Tango Singer
Chadwick Boseman was an award-winning American actor who is most famous as the star of "The Black Panther." He actually starred in many great roles including: Jackie Robinson in "42" (2013), James Brown in "Get on Up" (2014), Thurgood Marshall in "Marshall" (2017). His last film was "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," an August Wilson Jazz story about how Black creativity keeps … [Read more...] about Remember Chadwick Boseman “Black Panther”
Francisco Oller (1833-1917) was a Puerto Rican Impressionist painter. When you think of Impressionism, you probably don't think of Puerto Rico. Yet Oller was a Puerto Rican artist who was part of the Impressionist movement in Europe and brought Impressionist technique back to the island. He transformed painting in the Caribbean. If you know Puerto Rico, you know we have … [Read more...] about Remember Francisco Oller, the Puerto Rican Impressionist!
Machito and his Afro-Cubans, with music director Mario Bauzá, cut "Tanga," the first jazz recording in clave, essentially the beginning of "Latin Jazz," in 1942. The band was one of the Big-Three Palladium bands who helped integrate dancers and popularized Latin music across the United States. Machito and his Afro-Cubans was also important because it was the first band to … [Read more...] about Remember Machito & his Afro-Cubans Who Defined Latin Jazz
Pelé (1940-2022) was one of the greatest soccer players of all time (if not THE greatest), one of the great sportsmen of the 20th century, and a great humanitarian. His style was pure Brazilian. He popularized the expression, "The Beautiful Game." He is remembered as a brilliant player who always played fair. In New York, Pelé led the New York Cosmos from 1975 to their … [Read more...] about Pelé Made Soccer The Beautiful Game with his Ginga Style
The Mirabal Sisters "Las Mariposas" inspired the UN's International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25. The Mirabal Sisters Patria Mercedes Mirabal Reyes, María Argentina Minerva Mirabal Reyes, Antonia María Teresa Mirabal Reyes, and María Argentina Minerva Mirabal Reyes. "Las Mariposas" Witnessing a massacre by government forces … [Read more...] about Remember the Mirabal Sisters, “Las Mariposas”