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Influence of Cuban & Latin music in Tamil. Part 1

I am writing this series of blogs to help promote both *Tamil and Afro-Latin music and cultures together by bringing more awareness, standing true purpose of "SALSA MADRAS". Like in today's Salsa World, there are also constant but fun debates regionally (Tamil speaking) about the quality of music and lyrics of the Music Then and Now! The change is inevitable and changes bring in a very refreshing feeling but we cannot deny how good the music was then and how it connected with people of those eras and how they are eternal and survive over time!


Its not new for me to feel like a Deja vu or feel familiar with the Latin music, even when I started dancing a decade back. Maybe it is because, I was growing hearing Latin Music in TAMIL even without me realizing it. Not to mention how the music, culture and spirituality of Tamils and Cuban are closely related.

Here in this blog, I would like bring to your notice about 2 songs one from Latin world something in 1940's (correct me if I am wrong) and a Tamil song, (as we call it, INSPIRED FROM) from a Movie in 1966!

I am proud of my collection of Latin Music over the last decade from different sources, which count up to more than 20000 songs! But sadly, I haven't even heard half of them or more. So whenever I could I try and listen to different albums I have stored with me to experience different genres and flavors of Latin Music and I bumped into this song, Frenesi. Oh wait! I know this song but from somewhere! and I knew from where! Enjoy both the versions! Happy dancing!


Let's hear the Original Cuban Song!

Name of the song: FRENESI

Artists: Tito Gomez/ Orquesta Riverside

Year: 1940s (approximately)

Orquesta Riverside (known as Orquesta Havana Riverside between 1938 and 1941) was a highly successful Cuban big band that was amongst the most popular ensembles of the 1940s and 1950s.[1] Founded in 1938, it was originally directed by local musician Enrique González Mantici until 1945. Other directors were Antonio Sosa (1945-47), Pedro Vila (1947-57), Adolfo Guzmán (1957-62), Argelio González and Nelson Arocha. (Source: WIKIPEIDA)

Tito Gómez (born José Antonio Tenreiro Gómez on January 30, 1920 in Havana, Cuba - 16 October 2000) was a great Cuban singer. In 1938, he won a music contest in his native Cuba, called La Corte Suprema del Arte (The Supreme Court of Art). Shortly afterwards, he joined the Sevilla Biltmore Orquestraand in 1939, he began singing for Orquesta Riverside. His breakthrough came with the hit "Vereda Tropical".

In the 1970s, he was part of a group called Orquesta Jorrín, led by Enrique Jorrín, inventor of the cha-cha-chá. (Source: WIKIPEIDA)


Nearly 2 decades after, the Cuban song makes its influence in a popular Tamil Movie in 1966. I wasn't even born then but I have heard it a 100 times already. So I could imagine how popular the song was then and particularly this song 'Palingunal Oru Maligai' was a super hit, popular to this day! My Parents would have grown up with singing this song, running around trees.

Vallavan Oruvan is a 1966 black-and-white Tamil Suspense film was directed by R. Sundaram and produced by Modern Theatres. The film script were written by A. L. Narayanan. Music by Vedha assets to the movie. starring Jaishankar R. S. Manohar andThengai Srinivasan played lead role and L. Vijayalakshmi Sheela Vijayalalitha and Pushpamala played key role. (source: WIKIPEDIA)

Vallavan Oruvan, 1966

It was also the period in the Tamil Music Industry, there was not only so much refreshing music, mostly influenced by Cha Cha and Rock and Roll but also mixing smartly with the local flavor. The Music directors of those times in Tamil Movie Industry revolutionized as I could say, the whole way the music was perceived by bringing a whole lot of inspiration and ideas and instruments from other end of the world. With the current technology and connectivity, its easier to hear new releases right away anywhere in the world. I wonder how these musicians got exposed to such music from other side of the earth when world felt so far apart without all these quick connectivity! They, in fact, served a connect for the Tamil population to the western world though Music. There is more wonderful Tamil songs that has more of the Cuban influence, which I will post in the following blogs.

Till then, Happy Dancing!

*Tamil, my mother tongue, is one of the or even the oldest languages that have survived over more than 4000 years

By Source, Fair use,

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