North America - United States - New York
We were taking the Salsa exhibition to Puerto Rico for the I Encuentro de Coleccionistas de Salsa, we made an exhibition of the clothing, records and instruments used by the Fania All Star orchestra, Tito Puente, Héctor Lavoe, Adalberto Santiago, the Gran Combo and others. For the first time, the last “tuxedo” that Tito Puente used in his participation with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Puerto Rico was exhibited.
Spanish Harlem Salsa Music Gallery, offered an exhibition and Master Class on the history of Salsa at the Escuela Especializada en Música Jesús T. Piñero in Cidra, Puerto Rico. We transported ourselves to Puerto Rico in search of an opportunity to publicize the Salsa Museum-Gallery in New York.
This is part of the efforts being made for the participation and dedication that is made to the people of Cidra in the Desfile Nacional Puertorriqueño 2020 and that is locally coordinated by the Patronato Cidreño along with other civic and professional organizations.
We were able to benefit hundreds of students at this school who are precisely focused on music. The knowledge offered in the three conferences and being able to closely observe the exhibition helped to foster the enthusiasm of the students who make up the campus, unique in the mountains of Puerto Rico, dedicated to the creation of good musicians and knowledgeable in musical art.
We are dedicated to enhancing Latin music and offering spaces focused on arts education, accessible and friendly to the community as a strategic partner.
I thank valuable people such as Laura Torres, Silkia Vázquez, Wilson Nazario and Wilfrido Torres “Puruco” for all the attention and teamwork that we were able to develop during our visit. I cannot stop also thanking my assistant in Puerto Rico, Carmen Cruz; and to Joseph Cruz for his magnificent and beautiful work with me during this pleasant experience.
I also take advantage of this space in International Salsa Magazine because I want to tell you about an artist and a great friend who is doing his best for music and Salsa. Without a doubt, Yova Rodríguez is a long-standing professional who has developed countless projects and initiatives to support those who need it most. With his music, his work and his human quality, he has reached many hearts from New York.
Geovanni “Yova” Rodríguez Ruiz, born in Puerto Rico, had a musical inspiration since he was a child, his uncle Antonio “Toño” Ruiz – his mother’s uncle who played the cuatro – was his first music teacher (melody) and his uncle José Antonio “Pipo” Ruiz Crespo -mama’s younger brother- taught him how to sing aguinaldos (lyrics); and with this they formed the solid foundations that encouraged little Yova to prepare himself accordingly for his foray into the musical world.
The celebration of the Promesa de Reyes, a celebration in which he participated with his mother at his short seven years, leads him to worry about creating and recreating aguinaldos to be interpreted each year, which in some way becomes the seed of composer that we know today.
At the age of 14, he attended the Escuela Libre de Música Ernesto Ramos Antonini in Mayagüez, hand in hand with piano teacher César Toro, rising as vocal leader of the Orchestra after a year.
Years later he gave himself the task of forming his own musical concept, and thus Sakao Aká was born. This orchestra was in charge of accompanying singers such as Camilo Azuquita, Ray de la Paz, Pupy Cantor and Herman Olivera in their presentations in Puerto Rico; and the cover letter for some of these singers to integrate Yova as a chorus girl in their presentations in various countries in Central and South America.
At the end of the 90s, on a trip to Cuba, he was impacted by the music of Fernando Borrego Linares, better known as Polo Montañez, to the point that, some years later upon learning of his death, he had the idea of paying tribute to him, his musical reference, thus giving birth to the idea for her debut feature Homenaje a Polo Montañez (2005), a production of 10 songs by Montañez, and covered by Yova Rodríguez with the participation of renowned musicians from the patio such as Herman Olivera, Héctor “Pichie ”Pérez, Papo Lucca, Edwin“ Caneca ”Rosas, Edwin Colón Zayas, among others.
In 2008, like many of her compatriots, Yova prepares her luggage and heads to the southern United States, where she stays for two years and then moves to New York, a city that has become her center of operations and from where He has extended his working ties as a composer and where he records his next two productions.
The album Letras, canciones y sueños, musical work of 8 songs all written by Yova, comes to light after some years of having published his first production and of having worked silently composing and waiting for his opportunity. This possibility is materialized in 2013.
Already in 2015, the album Mi musa en las voces de mis amigos is released.
Recently, Yova Rodríguez has created more than 420 songs, and many of them have been duly registered with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Editors (ASCAP) under the registry “El Negrito De Delia Music” . “Exceso de amor” is the first composition he has interpreted and recorded; like the song “No me odies”, it is the first recording of a song by him made by a third party.
Now they are going to hear more from Yova, as some productions that will include her compositions are in the process of recording / publishing. Attentive to the upcoming releases of the young Puerto Rican percussionist José Jomar Marcano, the master trumpeter Luis González, the young trombonist, arranger musician and also singer Leo Morales; the renowned DJ Andy Rodríguez, better known as DJ ANDY and the Venezuelan sonero Marcial Isturiz .
As always, remember that Spanish Harlem Salsa Gallery is in 1708 Lexington ave New York N.Y. 10029. Open free to the public all Thursdays & Fridays from 4 to 7 pm and Saturdays from 1 to 8 pm. Check the updates in our website: spahasalsagallery.com.
Also, The Johnny Cruz Show, the # 1 Salsa Show on television on all 5 Boroughs of New York on CH67. Saturdays from 3:30 to 4:30 pm.
By Johnny Cruz, ISM Correspondent, New York, New York