_6moons audio reviews: Juan Moreno's Tropical Splendor_
The New York Institute for the Preservation and Development of Latin Music
by: Juan Moreno-Velázquez
--Concept Paper for Internal Discussion only--
This is an idea that I am sure has been thought off and pondered for years
by many involved in the Latin music industry.
In my particular case, as I was doing research for my recently released book
on La Lupe, it was surprising to me how little information was available on
her life, despite her fame and career achievements.
Weekly conversations with music historian Joe Conzo, further convinced us
both of the need to create an organization that would serve as a research
institute, a place where future generations could study and understand our rich
musical tradition, a place where verifiable professionals could conduct
research into the history of Latin Music and its performers.
One by one individuals concerned with this situation had come together and
began a concerted discussion as to the possibilities of addressing this
endeavor in a professional manner. Those discussions have led to the proposal at
What is available?
Contrary to popular belief, the audio-visual information regarding our
musical tradition is readily available. There are millions of photo images that
depict its history, hundreds of thousands of newspaper, posters and magazine
articles, as well as interviews where the voices of Tito Rodríguez, Tito
Puente, Machito, Celia Cruz, Ismael Rivera and so many more of our great artists
have been preserved. There are indeed a wide variety of recordings in paste,
vinyl and CDs that document this tradition as well. There are miles of tape
that encompass both musical recordings and films that have captured important
periods of our musical tradition; Ernie Einsley´s collection is just one of
His collection has valuable information collected over the last four
decades. The state of these tapes, and its contents, however, is anyone’s guess.
Collected for years without proper care, there is no idea of what can be
extracted from this collection that can be preserved for the future. Non-the-less
it is paramount to try.
There is also a considerable amount of materials under the custody of some
of our community organizations that have not yet even been catalogued due to
lack of funding or organizational need and/or circumstance.
The information is scattered and not readily available. It is in the
possession of many fans, and memorabilia collectors who often times don’t know one
another. Most important, there is no vehicle to make this information
available to the public and, in time, these pieces of history end up in attics,
where heirs who have no idea of the historical value of these items often times
throw them out. Sometimes, if we are lucky, the items come for sale on
eBay. In fact, it is a shame that in this day and age there is not a Latin Music
dictionary available, were the names of our artists and their achievements
are listed. We have left this endeavour to our memories, as the survivors of
an era. Soon our memories will no longer be, and this could well mark the end
of our musical tradition. Many of us complain that our music is no longer
being played on the radio, as Tito Puente used to say... “Out of sight, out
of mind”, this is a situation that needs to be addressed, and one problem that
certainly can be resolved.
We are hereby proposing the creation of a not-for-profit institution,
chartered under the 501(c) 3 designation, that will house these valuable historical
items in a state-of-the art facility.
We propose this organization be named The New York Institute for the
Preservation and Development of Latin Music.
There are millions of dollars in public funds and foundation moneys that
have been ear marked for similar endeavours. These particular funds, however,
are not, currently, been utilized by the Latino community.
The New York Institute for the Preservation and Development of Latin Music’s
main purpose is the preservation and documentation of all available
material, acquired by purchasing collections, receiving donations of such material,
or borrowing and digitizing these items for the enjoyment and information of
The Institute --through our research component-- will document our musical
history and tradition by expounding research papers, books and other
publications that will ensure the survival and maintenance of our musical tradition
and its performers. The first publication will be the Dictionary of Latin
Music, where all the key participants in the creation, development and
distribution of the genre that is universally known as salsa, past, present and future,
Another component of the Institute will produce radio and television
programming that will be geared to the maintenance, documentation and development of
this musical genre. In radio, we will program a 24/7 music and talk format
to be distributed through the Internet as well as digital and public radio.
This proposed radio station will ensure that the musical tradition in the
works of Puente, Machito, Rodríguez, Barreto, the Palmieri’s, Willie Colón, and
so many others will continue to be heard by the future generations.
The Institute proposes to produce a television program that would educate
--both the public and the media-- as well as elucidate-- on the wide variety of
issues that affect Latin music and its exponents, as well as its
distribution. This program will provide a forum of discussion and information that has
sorely been lacking in the nation. This lack of information, and, in many
cases, misinformation is one of the causes of the problem at hand.
In full, the Institute will aim to supplement, as well as complement, the
work of some community organizations that serve the Latino community by
recognizing our common concerns and goals in the interest of developing and
perpetuating this musical genre. A genre that, despite the problems that it faces
for its survival, has impacted many different cultures around the world,
especially in the United States of North America.
A meeting was held at Willie’s Steak House, located at 1832 Westchester
Avenue, in The Bronx, on Thursday, June 3, 2004, at 5:30 p.m.
The list of individuals that have been invited and/or consulted on this
Ray Barretto Musician
Rubén Blades Musician
Eddie Palmieri Musician
Harry Sepulveda Music producer, collector
Ralph Mercado Music producer
René López Collector
Das Vélez Attorney
Manny Oquendo Musician
Andy González Musician
José Mangual, Jr. Musician
Jimmy Sabater Musician
Ron Puente Musician, community activist, and
Tito Puente’s son
Tito Rodríguez, Jr. Musician, son of Tito Rodríguez
Mario Grillo, Jr. Musician, director of the Machito Orchestra, son of
Paquito D’Rivera Musician, Author
Alfredo de la Fe Musician
Nando Albericci Music personality, collector
Gerson Borrero Journalist
Joe Conzo Historian
Larry Harlow Musician
Willie Colón Musician
Jimmy Delgado Musician
José Magual, Jr- Musician
Bob Sancho Music personality, producer
Marta García Research, community activist
Angelo Falcón, Ph.D. Director Institute for Puerto Rican
Rafael Hernández, Jr. Interamerican University of Puerto Rico
Bobby Sanabria Musician
Jimmy Bosch Musician
Jules Coleman Law Professor Yale University, Special
Consultant to the President of NYU, audiophile
Alberto Barros Colombia, band leader, musical
director Grupo Niche, Los Titanez
Jaime Torres Torres Puerto Rico—entertainment journalist, Author
Aurora Flores Publicist, Musician, journalist
Víctor Gallo President Sonido Internacional,
Fania Records Distributor
Sergio Bofill Partner GB Records
Juan Moreno-Velázquez Journalist, Author, Collector, Screenwriter
Updates to follow on current activities:
Donation of Fania’s productions both in Vinyl and CD’s, progress report on
Incorporation, progress report on proposal to NEH, next meeting,
conformation of Board of Directors and Advisory Board. Identifycation of Foundations
with grants for similar projects. Contact with members of Congress (Nydia
Velázquez, Joe Serrano and others).
Contact: Juan Moreno Velázquez ([log in to unmask]
(mailto:[log in to unmask]) 917 673 6962); Joe Conzo, curator.