Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Trio Palmar - Tres Besos (Tope 61)

Tres Besos

Well, I'm back.

Just like last year, I found myself at the incredible Carnaval Ponceños down in Puerto Rico. The central Plaza in Ponce echoes with the African rhythms of the buléador and subidor as performers in colonial dress dance the traditional Bomba to kick things off. The infectious beat seems to increase in volume and intensity until it seems that everybody in the city is moving as one.

As the initial floats of the parade begin to reach the Plaza, the crowd presses to get a glimpse of the elaborate costumes of this year's crop of Vejigantes. Literally thousands of adolescent boys take to the streets. Most of them are wearing hand-made masks and colorful robes and carrying inflated cow bladders (I kid you not). The bladders are part of a tradition in which one's sins are atoned for by getting whacked by one of these prowling Vejigantes prior to the onset of Lent on Ash Wednesday. Wild stuff.

As night descends on the city, the parade (now some six hours old) winds through the streets and seems to set the town on fire. High School 'drum lines' pound out a relentless tattoo as the best and brightest from the surrounding countryside show off their colors and their steps. The whole thing is just an amazing mixture of Latin, African and American culture (the 2007 Carnaval was actually dedicated to those Boricua living in New York!) that has to be seen to be believed.

My visit to Ponce wouldn't be complete, of course, until I stopped by Tita's Record Shop and hunted down some vinyl for us. Just like last year, she came through, and I walked away with over forty 45s for under $20. God bless this woman! Today's 'Lado B' selection (which translates as 'Three Kisses') is another fine example of the distinctly Puerto Rican music of 'Los Trios'. The interplay between the guitar and the cuatro, along with that sweet three part harmony, just takes me away to another time and place. I love it. I have no clue as to who the Trio Palmar might be... there's no reference to them (or Tope Records) anywhere on the web. We'll see what happens.

Anyway, I really can't say enough about this wonderful place. The mountains, the miles and miles of unspoiled beaches, the music, the food, the coffee, the Rum... all that and 85° weather in February. It's no wonder they call it La Isla Del Encanto.

Amo mi Puerto Rico.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really nice.

8:24 AM  
Blogger TravelingMermaid said...

Red, I so enjoyed this post and the song. The music reminds me of Puerto Rican friends who used to live here and had GREAT parties! Thanks for the memory.

5:31 PM  
Blogger G. Genova said...

This is a GREAT music blog. Did you figure out how to use hipcast with the new blogger? I have not been able to do it. darn new blogger.

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where can I find more tunes like this?

11:57 PM  
Blogger Red Kelly said...

Hola Señor Anonymous...

This particular kind of music is called a 'bolero', and has been performed throughout the Carribean and Latin America since around the 1920s, with Cuba playing a leading role in its development.

After the whole Castro thing in 1959, American record companies like Kubaney began focuding on Puerto Rico.

I'm not sure if you saw the record I put up after last year's vacation - En Esos Momentos by the Trio Los Andinos, but it is another great song like this one... anyway, I was walking down the street in Aguadilla this past trip, and heard the most amazing music playing over the outdoor sound system at this little record (ok, CD) store. Despite the language barrier, I was able to get across that I wanted to buy whatever CD it was they were playing. Believe it or not, it was a recent album by Los Andinos. You can't make this stuff up!

Basically, what I'm saying is you can hunt down more 'tunes like these' by looking for 'la musica de los Trios' of Puerto Rico. Here is a list I found of the Trios principales (only most of the links don't work...)

Kubaney has evolved into the leading distributor of Latino music in the world and is "based in Miami but has its large distribution center in New York called MANHATTAN LATIN MUSIC. The location has over 5,000 square feet and an inventory made up of more than 500,000 CDS and cassettes of all types of Latin music. The Miami location, for wholesale and retail operation, is called CD Warehouse. Kubaney also has a branch in the Dominican Republic."

Sounds like a good place to start looking, anyway.

Thanks! -red

7:42 AM  

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