14 August 2009

Today's article in The Vacaville Reporter:
on Festival de la Isla, and CLAVE

Oooh... Check THIS out!:

Today in a Solano County publication of record in the article about tomorrow's 20th Annual Festival de la Isla there is actually a mention of CLAVE!!! Already on the front page this week, was 111th Chief Justice Sonya Sotomayor, describing the American journey of '..a Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx (ohoh: another one of those words!) to the Supreme Court'l and now: CLAVE; And with Fernando, Cafe and Jose of Orquesta BaKan with guiro y conga, complete with la bonita bandera!

Aydiosmio: What's next for America: Cafe con Leche y Pan y Mantequilla at Starbucks? "Lamento Borinqueno" at the baseball games? Mofongo y Pastelles at the drive thru-? (btw, did you see the clip of Sonya talking about making 'Sofrito'-?)

Well actually I don't know about the rest of America, but although Puerto Ricans ARE American also, it is refreshing to see these mentions in the 707, where despite the nice recent press coverage, clave y la cultura are alive and well!

ANYWAY: as final preparations are being made, enjoy the nice article in today's Vacaville Reporter newspaper: On island time, Puerto Rican-style. Those of us from the heritage of las islas de los alas can laugh about the inside joke of 'island-time', but rest assured: the trains DO run on time in Vacaville!

Actually, the mention in the article of clave rhythm is another good way of conceptualizing "island time": whereas by contrast most of 20th-century music has lifestyle has been grounded largely in the same ol' march-step 4/4 musical meter. The West African concepts of musical time that has become a large part of the musical expression in the Caribbean and in Brazil, offers more polyrhythmic possibilities that can work well within 4/4 meter, but yet does add a little accent and spice; and adds musical tension and release.

As musical educators of latin jazz, afro-caribbean and salsa music also point out, I've discussed and played examples on the Latin/Jazz Mecca radio program demonstrating how a lot of Soul, R&B and Rock music borrows from Afro-Caribbean musics: Fats Domino's rendition of Mardi Gras to the Bo Diddley Beat to James Brown's I Got The Feeling and Led Zeppelin's Custard Pie, all have strong or explicit Clave feel to their rhythms. If you can feel these, then you can very likely feel at least bit of what's going on in 'Salsa'. It is, after all, 'American' music, too.
BTW as for dancing?: there is also an old African proverb: "If you can walk, you can dance." So come out and 'walk' a little bit!

Of course, when we start getting into advanced clave, there is among even the most well-schooled and seasoned street rumberos and maestros, an ongoing debate of 3:2 vs. 2:3 Clave, I'm not going to try to get into THAT controversy now ;-) except to warn others: the Mastery of Clave is NOT for the faint of heart....

Be sure to check out our article on Ray Sepulveda, who is headlining tomorrow at Festival de la Isla. Hope to see you there!

More about the
20th Annual Fiesta de la Isla
Vacaville, CA - Saturday August 15 - 10am - 7pm

The Latin/Jazz Mecca - www.OzcatRadio.com
Vallejo/SF Bay/California - Wednesday 6pm PST
New York/Miami/San Juan/Havana! 9 pm EST