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Eddie Santos
CEO/Founder
PuertoRicans.Com

 

 

PuertoRicans.Com (By Eddie Santos)
July 11, 2005 - Special Edition At the Puerto Rican Parade in Bridgeport Connecticut. Main performance by "EL Maestro del Cuatro" Yomo Toro with Zon del Barrio and Puerto Rican Power. Thanks Connecticut for all the support. Special thanks to Johnny Ortiz (President of the parade) and his staff.
Special thanks for joining us at the parade to Diosdado Lopez (President of the Holyoke Parade in MA), Mr. Ralph Morales (CEO of the National Puerto Rican Parade) and everyone who came from out of the state.

Also very special thanks to the Police Dept for their support.

Full Bio of Zon del Barrio is at the end of this page, thanks to Aurora Flores

(CLICK ON THE PHOTOS TO SEE THE IMAGES ON A LARGE SIZE)

Zon del Barrio (the Barrio Zone)

Is old school mixed with a little new school flava expressing the musical soul of the barrios playing bomba, plena, classic salsa, merengue, boogalu and Latin-jazz in the style of Puerto Rico's most popular exponent, Cortijo y su Combo. Cortijo's band broke through the color barrier in Puerto Rico in the late '50s and Zon del Barrio is a tribute to those efforts and a celebration of Afro-Puertorican music.

Parallel to Cortijo's band for diversity, Zon del Barrio updates the folklore while mixing the music with today's urban, bilingual and bicultural lifestyle. With Spanglish lyrics, a touch of funky hip-hop, and boogalu, this group stands out because of its creative, professional and distinctive arrangements, original tunes with substantive content and diverse repertoire.

Original songs such as "Mi Bandera," are nuyorican tributes to our roots while living in the New York present. "Revolu” talks in Spanglish about the changing roles of men and women and the rising tide of violence against women with a funky back beat to the folkloric Puerto Rican bomba rhythm. Reconciling the past with the hip new sounds of the present, Zon del Barrio is East Harlem's hottest septet.

This group of veteran and young musicians is led by music journalist & historian, Aurora Flores with musical direction provided by David Fernandez, a multi-instrumentalist who defers to his almost encyclopedic knowledge of the classics for his creative arrangements.

With original tunes penned by Flores, Zon del Barrio introduces the dynamic young vocals of Hector "Papote" Jimenez, an up and coming sonero of the 21st Century who channels the spiritual voicings and phrases of the great Latino singers such as Benny More Ismael Rivera and Hector LaVoe.

Wear your dancing shoes!

The musical genres of bomba and plena are native to Puerto Rico imported from Africa through the slave trade and developed on the Island as tribal music of resistance and endurance. The bomba is a form of communication and spiritual release from slavery and injustice through tribal memories that play themselves out through the movements of the dancers followed by the beats of the drummers. It was eventually banned by authorities because of insurrections on sugar cane plantations. It’s nature of resistance against oppression, however, continues today.

The plena derived from this rhythmic musical form as a mobile method of melodic communication. Played on three hand drums of various size accompanied by the scratching of a gourd (guicharo), this form of music became popular around the turn of the 20th century at a time of rapid change in P.R. when the island was transforming from agricultural to industrial.

Because many people were poor and could not read, the plena became the musical form of communicating news of daily events from town to town. Upbeat, witty, satirical and full of sexual and political double entendes the plena also helped to fuel the first protest marches owing to its mobility and catchy choruses that were incorporated on picket lines as popular proletariat chants for working class justice.

Salsa was born and developed on the streets of New York by primarily Puertorican musicians. Salsa, as the name implies, is a tasty blend of Cuban, Puerto Rican and Dominican music influencing the new Latino of the 21st Century. During the 60s and 70s, the music, parallel to the people, developed a distinctive style that embraced the identity of Latinos in the U.S.

Emerging in a time of rapid change in the life-changing era of the 60s and 70s, when the civil rights movement swept the country with strength that only cutting through chains can have, salsa captured the diversity of New York Latinos through its music, poetry and song.

The musicians of this time were breast fed on the milk of polyrhythmic beats and honed their craft with passion on the fringes of a shifted society. A hip, Nuyorican sound that's in your face while boiling your blood, Salsa is the soundtrack of Latino life today. David N. Fernandéz Multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, musical director and arranger, David Fernandéz relies on his almost encyclopedic knowledge of the classics for his creative arrangements. He has performed with Marc Anthony, the Joe Cuba Sextet, Willie Villegas as well as Pedro Guzman, Angel “Cuco” Peña, Andy Montañez, El Topo, Ismael Miranda and Ismael Rivera, Jr. to name a few. His arrangements can be heard over the hit children’s show, Dora The Explorer, Willie Villegas’ “Dancer’s Paradise” as well as on Chembo Corniel’s recent Latin jazz recording, “Portrait in Rhythms.” Born into a musical family in Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn New York, David was a child prodigy who began playing bongos professionally at the age of nine. His father was a guitarist and singer with his own trio group, Los Bohemios while his older brother played trombone with various salsa bands of the 60s and 70s. David played bongos and timbales before studying piano and jazz arranging at 15. He performed with the Youngstown State University Jazz Ensemble under the direction of the late Anthony Leonardi. At the Youngstown State University of Ohio he studied jazz arranging with Sam D’Angelo. He returned to New York to study jazz piano with the late Jaki Byard later learning salsa piano and music production with Ricky Gonzalez.

Fernandéz redefined the "jibaro" bongo style of playing during his time with Pedro Guzman's Jibaro Jazz while defining the salsa style of percussion on congas and timbales.

After leading a 10-piece orchestra playing Latin music throughout Youngstown, Ohio and Pittsburgh, PA. while also playing with various other jazz artists including Bob Mintzer, John Faddis, and the late Nick Brignola, David Fernandez worked in Puerto Rico for six years before touring St. Croix as pianist with the r&b band "Tough Enough".Fernandéz returns to his native New York hometown where he is the musical director of Zon del Barrio; La TromBanda and Akunbé.

Aurora Flores

Considered a 21st century Renaissance woman, Aurora Flores is a musician, writer, producer and activist. Raised in a musical family where her grandfather played plena and aguilnaldos on the accordion, her father wrote songs, her mother sang while her brother plays percussion she started as a classical musician playing violin, guitar and bass while singing in the school and church chorus before recording her first album at 15 with the Manhattan Borough Wide Orchestra as head of the bass section while studying bass privately with Frederic Zimmerman. She went on to become the first Latina editor of Latin New York Magazine in 1974 later becoming the first female music correspondent for Billboard Magazine from 1976 to 1978. During this time she sang in the bands of Cortijo & Maelo y sus Cachimbos as well as a few local groups. She attended the Columbia School of Journalism before breaking into mainstream journalism writing and reporting news for television, radio and print before starting a family and her own public relations agency, Aurora Communications, Inc in 1987. With thousands of articles to her name, Aurora Flores organized her own septet in tribute to the music of Rafael Cortijo and Ismael Rivera called Zon del Barrio featuring some of her own original compositions while showcasing the vocal talents of "Papote" a young sonero from the lower east side who, while living in a hip-hop world, has embraced the polyrhythms of his Afro-Boricua ancestry. Flores continues to write for various mainstream newspapers and magazines while teaching a Latin music history course and lecturing on the roots of the music. A cultural consultant, she has written bilingual tunes for the hit children's show, Dora, the Explorer and conducts tours of East Harlem in a cultural, political and socio/economic content. She can be seen singing alongside Tito Puente in the Edward James Olmos Docudrama, Americanos, Latino Life in the U.S.; lecturing in the Bravo documentary, Palladium: When Mambo Was King and in the Smithsonian film accompanying the traveling exhibit: Latin-jazz, La Combinación Perfecta. Flores is currently working on a book based on her experiences in the Latino New York world.