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Enjoy a Romantic Evening of Music with El Bolero II

Story and photos by Ramón Hernández

El Bolero II is a musical program that promises to seduce its listeners with an array of romantic ballads.

And as Patricia Pérez-Lemppaf, the show’s artistic director says, “However, remember that falling in love and being in love can sometimes end in heartache. So be prepared for this music to capture your soul and the lyrics transcend you and make you reminisce about a past or present love.

“So whether you’re in love, have fallen out of love or you’re in the process of conquering a sweetheart, the bolero will enlighten your heart and soul with visions of passionate love.”

In addition, the program is also educational in that those in attendance will be treated to several different forms of the genre which originated in 18th century Spain as a Spanish/ Africa dance with a very slow rumba style rhythm that evoked erotic feelings or communicated love between dance partners. In the Western World, the slow sensuous love song in Cuba evolved from a Caribbean genre known as trova in the eastern city of Santiago during the late 19th century, spread to Mexico and other Latin American countries in the mid-20th century and finally reached the United States where many boleros were translated into English and released as “What A Difference a Day Makes,” “You Belong to My Heart” and “A Taste of Me” to name a few.

According to Lemppaf, this Alizanza Latinoamericana musical program will present variations such as the bolero ranchero, as immortalized b Pedro Infante, the tango bolero as made famous by Carlos Gardel and Libertad Lamarque; and the contemporary bolero most recently popularized by Luis Miguel and El Tri-O.

Some of the performers include Emma Hernández, one of the best known vocalists during the 1950s and early ‘60s orchestra era when she was the featured vocalist for the Emilio Caceres Orchestra, also Marielos Duarte and Malú Gil, both Mexico City natives, who have sung with numerous trios and mariachis for as long as they can remember. Both chilangas started out performing at family gatherings eventually singing at public functions.

Other vocalists are María Betancourt, Isidro Manjarres, Jaimé Vidal, Broadway Joe, Paul Ford, James Hickey, Homero Zapata plus the mother-son duo of Ruby and Dennis Castell.

Some will perform with music tracks and others will be backed up by a trio of musicians.

Willie Zulaica, a Tejano music pioneer whose resume includes playing sax with Joe Bravo y Los Sunglows, Ruco Villarreal, O.B.G. Band de Rocky Hernández and is presently with Canela, is the show’s musical director.

Zapata of Los Internacional Hermanos Zapata not only sings, but also plays accordion and drums. As a drummer, he performed and recorded with Toby Torres and the internationally famous Flaco Jiménez from the late 1960s to 1976.

José Ramiro Pérez, Francesca Anderson and Richard Alvarado will also delight the audience with their ultra-smooth dance steps as they displayed how to dance to this beautiful music.

Alvarado’s credits are heading a seven year program with the San Antonio Library where he teaches salsa and merengue and where his busiest time of the year is during Hispanic Heritage Month.

They may not be household names, but they all sing and dance from the heart; and the fact that they can share their God-given talent is thanks to the Alianza Latinoamericana who recognizes their gift and provides the opportunity and venue for them to showcase their voice and their moves in this tribute to the bolero.

This production could not be possible without the volunteer help of Dalia Guzmán, artistic coordinator; Eduardo Velázquez, set designer; and the support of Street Talk Magazine’s Jaimé Vidal, La Prensa publisher Tino Durán and supporters such as Félix Padrón, Frank Villani, Juan Hernández, Johnny Hernández, Lissa Bengtson, Valerie Arrieta and Vanessa L. Jenkins, also Gabriel Sánchez and Dora Olvera.

The participation of all these people says volumes about this non-profit organization, which, with the exception of the Office of Cultural Affairs, has yet to receive a cent in funding therefore everyone is encouraged to attend and fill the venue to demonstrate why Alianza Latinoamericana is worthy to be considered as a serious contender for funding.

“Su Majestad – El Bolero II” – emceed by Andres Ricardo Morín — takes place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 4th at the International Folk Culture Center located on the Our Lady of the Lake campus at 411 S.W. 24th Street.

Anyone can save two dollars by purchasing their advance tickets for $5 and they are available at the International Folk Culture Center until July 24. Furthermore, patrons can also enjoy the delicious taste

For reservations or more information call (210) 431-3922, 385-3877 or 378-2970. One can also e-mail the organization at [email protected].