Music has always been a part if my life. While I may not have appreciated Spanish music when I was a kid, I have grown to love it as an adult. My house was always blaring Salsa when times were good. My dad had 8 track and vinyl of just about all the biggest Salsa artists of the time. I have spent most of my adult years searching for all the music.
All the music was kept in the basement. This was where the precious stereo, that I could not touch, lived in this wall unit that had all the records in one space. The 8 track tapes were in another space. Scratching of the vinyl was considered a capital offense in my house. I never knew why because it seem that rap music was getting away with it at the time so why could I not try it? Needless to say I was not stupid.
My dad also had a set of Congas that I just loved to bang on. I was not as good as he was on them, but he let me play on the smaller bongos for good measure. Every so often a song would play and he would sit and play them. It seems to go into rhythm so it was all good to me. What I was also allowed to play with was the guiro. This wooden percussion instrument that my dad used to show me how to play. I would laugh to my self because the handle of instrument that scraped the guiro looked like my brother’s afro pick (and we are not black…riiight!) I also loved the claves! The looked like nun-chucks that Bruce Lee used in the movies! I would play with those too with my dad.
Now that I think about it, I think he had like a whole set because I seem to remember the cow bells and maracas too. I couldn’t tell you what happened to all that stuff, but I remember it fondly. When he wasn’t around I would spend hours looking at the record covers. Some of the art on those covers was so cool to me. I would also see pictures of Celia Cruz, Hector Lavoe, El Gran Combo and Johnny Pecheco (to name a few). Of course, of thing about Latinos is that all music revolves around sex and some of the covers had art of naked women…but that is besides the point.. 🙂
I used to watch my dad painstakingly record all this music from vinyl, 8 track, and reel to reel (yes that old) on to tapes (that are now out of date). He used to make copies for people because my dad had all the latest music and all the oldies. I found myself being that way in college where I would do the same thing for hip hop. I would make tapes for people because I had all the good stuff.
Of course, getting older and taking pride in where I come from, I have a good part of my 30’s looking for the same music my dad used to blast. There are some songs that stick with me like “Pedro Nejava” byWillie Colon. Often times when I do visit my father in Florida, I raid his CD collection and covert hours of music into my iTunes.
One thing that he currently has, that I am dying to get my hand on is his vinyl to CD recorder. That will put me in a world all of my own if I can get some of his old stuff that I cannot find. I would be set. The point is music is gift from a rich culture. I love salsa so much that I can barely stay still when I hear it. I have been lucky enough to see a few good live artists. But this obsession I have will not die anytime soon.