Cuban connection.Byline: Paul Denison The Register-Guard
A CD release party - the official moment when creativity, hard work and hope sail out into the world as a thin metal disk - is always a big deal for the musicians involved.
To Jessie Marquez of Eugene, who will release her debut album at Luna on Friday, this is not just a career milestone, although it's certainly that. It's the fullest expression to date of who she is and who she wants to be.
Many musicians could, and have, made similar statements about their first or latest CD; but in Marquez's case, it's less hype, more truth. And the story behind the creation of her "Sana Locura" album is a little more complicated than most.
It started with her grandmother, Ana Marquez, an Italian woman who learned Spanish in Brooklyn, N.Y., married a Spanish man and in the 1940s moved to Cuba, where Jessie Marquez's father was born. While the family was visiting the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. in late 1960, the two countries severed sev·er
v. sev·ered, sev·er·ing, sev·ers
1. To set or keep apart; divide or separate.
2. To cut off (a part) from a whole.
Unable to return to Cuba, the family moved to Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (pwār`tō rē`kō), island (2005 est. pop. 3,917,000), 3,508 sq mi (9,086 sq km), West Indies, c.1,000 mi (1,610 km) SE of Miami, Fla. . Marquez spent the first few years of her life there, before the family moved to Eugene, where it would have been easy for a 4-year-old girl to lose her sense of cultural identity.
Ana Marquez taught Italian at Lane Community College and yoga yoga (yō`gə) [Skt.,=union], general term for spiritual disciplines in Hinduism, Buddhism, and throughout S Asia that are directed toward attaining higher consciousness and liberation from ignorance, suffering, and rebirth. classes at the Eugene Public Library. To her granddaughter, she taught a love of all things Cuban.
"I was very close to her," Marquez says. "I spent every Friday night with her. We would cook together, sew together Verb 1. sew together - fasten by sewing; do needlework
sew, stitch, run up
hem - fold over and sew together to provide with a hem; "hem my skirt"
resew - sew again; "The cuff of the coat had been resewn" . She would massage my feet. She was incredibly kind, and intelligent, too, although not at all pretentious pre·ten·tious
1. Claiming or demanding a position of distinction or merit, especially when unjustified.
2. Making or marked by an extravagant outward show; ostentatious. See Synonyms at showy. . She was a very simple, warm woman. She always spoke to me in Spanish and wrote to me in Spanish.
"She was a major influence in my seeing myself as a Latina."
Ana Marquez died in Eugene seven years ago, in her late 80s. "Sona Locura" is dedicated to her memory.
In her album notes, Jessie Marquez also thanks a lot of others, starting with her husband, Donnie DiChiara, and concluding with the Cuban people. She may also have had an assist from Elegua, a Santeria deity.
It all started in December 2002, when Marquez was studying traditional Cuban music with Angela Ervira Herrera, a music educator and voice instructor with Conjunto con·jun·to
n. pl. con·jun·tos
1. A dance band, especially in Latin America.
2. A style of popular dance music originating along the border between Texas and Mexico, characterized by the use of accordion, drums, Folklorico.
"After one of her lovely dinners one night in her apartment in Central Havana, we were drinking rum rum, spirituous liquor made from fermented sugarcane products. Prepared by fermentation, distillation, and aging, it is made from the molasses and foam that rise to the top of boiled sugarcane juice. on her small balcony, and I confided to her that I wanted to develop my career as a singer. I asked her, `Can an American woman become a legitimate interpreter of Cuban music?' '
Herrera told Marquez that she needed to make a CD. And the next day, she abruptly started the wheels rolling. When Marquez showed up for her lesson, Herrera called Juan Carlos Juan Car·los Born 1938.
King of Spain (since 1975) who acceded to the throne on the death of Francisco Franco and helped restore parliamentary democracy.
Noun 1. Marin, an arranger who plays trombone trombone [Ital.,=large trumpet], brass wind musical instrument of cylindrical bore, twice bent on itself, having a sliding section that lengthens or shortens it and thus regulates the pitch. The descendant of the sackbut, it was developed in the 15th cent. with the Afro-Cuban All-Stars. Then she turned on a tape recording, held up the receiver and made Marquez sing along with the instrumental track of a song they had been working on.
"The song has some unusual intervals, and I remember Angela looking relieved that I had maneuvered them," Marquez says.
After she sang, Marin spoke first to Herrera, who had described Marquez as a white girl "who sings like a black girl." Then he spoke directly to Marquez, asking her to meet him that night at a theater where he was playing with the Afro-Cuban All-Stars.
Marquez did as she was told.
"The music was a revelation to me," she says. "I hadn't heard jazz like that or ever heard live music played so well. It was sophisticated and virtuosic, yet honest and human."
Then the lights went out, and the regulars, accustomed to such power outages This is a list of famous wide-scale power outages. 1965
Marquez called Marin's name in the dark. A cigarette lighter flared flare
v. flared, flar·ing, flares
1. To flame up with a bright, wavering light.
2. To burst into intense, sudden flame.
a. up, illuminating il·lu·mi·nate
v. il·lu·mi·nat·ed, il·lu·mi·nat·ing, il·lu·mi·nates
1. To provide or brighten with light.
2. To decorate or hang with lights.
3. a smiling black face. She introduced herself and they made their way out of the dark theater. He asked her what she was interested in recording, and she told him.
His next question threw her for a loop:
"When do you want to record?"
"I suddenly felt in over my head," she said, and when she suggested a recording session in January 2004, he said, "That's a long way off. You're sure you want to do it?"
She did. Marquez returned to Cuba in June 2003 to show Marin her material, work out keys and talk about arrangements. Then she went back to Eugene and started saving money "like a squirrel squirrel, name for small or medium-sized rodents of the family Sciuridae, found throughout the world except in Australia, Madagascar, and the polar regions; it is applied especially to the tree-living species. storing nuts," hoarding what she made from performing with Son Mela'o and from teaching Latin music and dance in local schools.
"Every dollar I made found its way into the cashbox," she says.
In January of this year, Marquez returned to Havana to record.
"The recording studio was a small room with a couple chairs, a computer, an eight-channel mixer and egg cartons An egg carton is a container designed for carrying and transporting eggs. These cartons have a dimpled form in which each dimple accommodates an individual egg and isolates that egg from eggs in adjacent dimples. on the wall," she says. "Every day I brought rum, an essential ingredient for playing rumba. It's important to pour a little bit on the floor as an offering to the Santos Santos (sän`ts), city (1996 pop. 412,288), São Paulo state, SE Brazil, on the island of São Vicente in the Atlantic just off the mainland. ."
During the next month, Marquez, Marin and the other musicians spent long hours in the studio, laying down instrumental tracks and eating $1 lunches, mostly pork, from neighborhood home restaurants. Finally, in the fifth and final week of her visit, they recorded Marquez's vocals.
Marquez says she learned a lot from all of the Cuban musicians, including trumpet trumpet, brass wind musical instrument of part cylindrical, part conical bore, in the shape of a flattened loop and having three piston valves to regulate the pitch. player Julito Padron, who worked with her on the guias, or improvisational sections, of songs. He sings with her on the album's final track.
She also learned a lot about which types of Cuban music fit her best.
"I was experimenting with a very broad array of styles to find out where my strengths are and to push myself to try things that don't necessarily come naturally," she says. "I'm better with boleros and guajiras than I am with timba, which is the most current, culturally dominant music in Cuba. But I wanted to try those other genres and challenge myself musically."
Marquez came back to Eugene with digital audio tapes See DAT.
(storage, music) Digital Audio Tape - (DAT) A format for storing music on magnetic tape, developed in the mid-1980s by Sony and Philips. As digital music was popularized by compact discs, the need for a digital recording format for the consumer existed. that had been recorded using the audio portion of a video program. These were transferred to Pro Tools for audio mixing Audio mixing is used for sound recording, audio editing, and sound systems to balance the relative volume, frequency, and dynamical content of a number of sound sources. Typically, these sound sources are the different musical instruments in a band or vocalists, the sections of an at Bill Barrett's Gung-Ho Recording in Eugene.
"Bill has very fine ears," she says. "I appreciated his perspective. I appreciated his ears!"
"Sona Locura" has 12 tracks, including one guajira, five boleros or bolero bolero (bəlâr`ō), national dance of Spain, introduced c.1780 by Sebastian Zerezo, or Cerezo. Of Moroccan origin, it resembles the fandango. combinations, two guanguancos, two trovas, one son-timba number and one salsa song.
Well-known Cuban composers represented on the album include the late Miguel Matamoros (`Juramento'), plus Pablo Milanes (`Amame como soy') and Jose Antonio Mendez (`Si me comprendieras').
Two of the songs Marquez wrote herself: "Dile que me voy," a bolero-cha, and "La muchacha bailadora" (salsa). Marin's arrangement of the final track, "Hablame de la rumba," includes the voice of Marquez's brother Nick, who did some free-style rap with the Cuban musicians during one of their nightclub gigs. He and her other brother, Alex, spent some time in Cuba with Marquez.
Everything went well in Havana. "I feel like doors have opened very early there," she says, adding that maybe this was the work of Elegua, a Santeria deity who is said to open paths for those who are generous with the people around them.
The hard part was having to produce the album herself, a process that included securing rights to songs and posing for album photographs taken by Roseanne Olson of Seattle, a former Register-Guard photographer.
"I was very naive when I set out to make this CD," Marquez says. "I thought I would just bring home a rough mix and let some record label do the rest. But I really had to do it myself, because I'm an unknown artist, and it's very difficult to get the attention of record labels, especially if you're not at the top and you're promoting yourself through live concerts only."
Marquez performs locally with Son Mela'o and her own smaller group, Azuquita.
Now, after a slow process of "taking little steps forward," she has her CD. Making it the way she did, in Havana with "some of the finest musicians in Cuba," has been a rewarding adventure but also possibly a risky one. U.S. citizens are not supposed to be doing business in Cuba. Marquez says she has consulted an attorney who believes that her recording project may be protected under Cuban embargo embargo (ĕmbär`gō), prohibition by a country of the departure of ships or certain types of goods from its ports. Instances of confining all domestic ships to port are rare, and the Embargo Act of 1807 is the sole example of this in amendments designed to allow cultural exchanges; but she would have made the album anyway.
One evening shortly before Marquez left Havana, pianist David Alfaro asked her why she had decided to record in Cuba, referring to "your laws about Cuba." In response, Marquez mentioned Ry Cooder Ryland "Ry" Peter Cooder (born 15 March 1947, in Los Angeles, California) is an American guitarist, singer and composer, known for his slide guitar work, his interest in the American roots music and, more recently, for his collaborations with traditional musicians from many , who recorded his celebrated "Buena Vista Social Club The Buena Vista Social Club was a members club in Havana, Cuba that held dances and musical activities, becoming a popular location for musicians to meet and play during the 1940s. " album in Cuba.
"Well, yes, but he's also an impresario," Alfaro replied. "I think what you're doing is different."
And it is, because Marquez's just-do-it project was less about making money - although she does hope her Spanish-only album will find a market - than it is about making friends and finding her cultural home.
"This is what I want to do," she says. "It's who I am, it's what moves me. It's what I'm going to do. My heart is set on this."
What: "Sana Locura" CD release party
When: 8 p.m. (music starts at 9 p.m.) Friday
Where: Luna, 30 E. Broadway
How much: $10 cover charge
Jessie Marquez recorded her debut Cuban music CD, "Sana Locura," in January in a sparse Havana studio. "It's who I am, it's what moves me. It's what I'm going to do. My heart is set on this." - JESSIE MARQUEZ, MUSICIAN Ana Marquez, an Italian who married a Spaniard and moved to Cuba, was an influence on her granddaughter, Jessie.