Saying Goodbye to Cerati
Gustavo Cerati was in a coma for four years, but when he died on Sept. 4 it was still a shock. I met Gustavo and the other members of Soda Stereo in Buenos Aires in the late eighties, when I was a very young reporter and they were stars of an exploding new scene. Through a turn of fate, I was the A&R assistant at CBS International's fledgling Latin department when they came to New York to record the Doble Vida album; they stayed in an NYU dorm and I went with them to Crazy Eddie's to buy a boombox; I took them to some party in the East Village of those days, and ended up hiding under a table with Gustavo when someone took out a gun. The Doble Vida sessions were my first experience in a recording studio, I still remember the spell "Ciudad de la Furia" put me under when I heard it for the first time - it's still my favorite Soda song. I admit I never realized just how big Cerati's talent really was until I went to one of the first dates of the band's 2007 reunion tour -70,000 people in River stadium. I am so glad I made the trip and thankful for the invitation.
I searched to find words for the story I wrote for Billboard the day Cerati died. It was easier to let his music speak for itself in this playlist for Rhapsody.
The upcoming match between Argentina and Germany has brought back a lot of memories for me. I lived in Buenos Aires in 1986, when Argentina won the World Cup against then West Germany. I saw it at a friend's house - probably the first time I ever saw a football match. Walking home the streets were ecstatically insane, people were overturning cars. I walked home waving a little Argentine flag I had bought before the match, just to make sure everyone would know what side I was on. The night before Argentina made this World Cup final, I found this photo of myself with Maradona, who showed me how the game when as an AP reporter I covered his short-lived return in Sevilla, and got to watch practice from the players bench.Read More
How Easing The Embargo Has Helped Spread & Revitalize Cuban Music In Surprising Ways. For this segment, I talked to David Dye about the backstory of the song "Bailando" and played music by Descemer Bueno with Gente de Zona, and Diana Fuentes.
Speaking of Brazil, some months back producer Beco Dranoff stopped by our house in Los Angeles to interview me for his TV documentary series on Brazilian music "Beyond Ipanema," airing on Brazilian TV. Here is a short clip.
The salsa crossover pioneer announces his retirement from salsa touring as he releases an album of tango versions of his songs. Read my interview with Rubén in Billboard.
Has it really been 15 years? I'm celebrating the LAMC's quincenara with this playlist of music by artists who gave Latin Alternative its name, on Rhapsody.
One of the saddest stories I have ever had to write. Gracias Formell for your music and for your life lessons, not the least of which was "shut up and dance." I will always be a Vanvanera.
I talked with Caetano Veloso about the Rainforest Alliance sessions, a project with fellow Brazilian musicians to create awareness of the beauty and fragility of these mighty trees. Let's join them in raising our voices to save the Earth! Read the story and watch the video here.
Arturo O'Farrill: Jazz, food and the political history of drums
Arturo O’Farrill, a Grammy-winner, Latin jazz crusader and the son of the legendary Cuban composer and bandleader Chico O’Farrill, will release his new CD The Offense of the Drum May 10. The album is a trip from slave revolt in the Americas to the Occupy Movement, driven by the sacred, smoking rhythms of Cuba, with guest African and Indian percussionists. Here is an interview I did with Arturo for Food Republic when he first premiered the music live at Marcus Samuelsson's Red Rooster restaurant in Harlem.
I interviewed Cubans Gente de Zona on the Billboard Latin Music Awards Red Carpet. The duo performed with Descemer Bueno and Enrique Iglesias on the awards show stage - Cuban artists, from the island, making history.