Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Trova's Redhead & The Latin Project: SATURDAY (12/4)

Olguita Morales Serrano, "La Pelirroja de la Trova"

A special musical guest from Puerto Rico livens up the NC Assoc. de PR Unidos' Christmas Party this Saturday (12/4): Olguita Ramos, a direct descendent of one Puerto Rico's most esteemed musical families. Known artistically as "the redheaded troubadour" ("La Pelirroja de la Trova"), Olga is the niece of Ramito, and daughter of Luisito Morales Ramos, two of the island's most legendary singers of traditional highland poetry known as trova or música jibara.

In addition, salsa band The Latin Project, with members from The Triangle, Charlotte, and Columbia, SC, will keep the dancefloor jumping. Led by local trumpet virtuoso Alberto Carrasquillo, Latin Project is a band that we don't get to hear often enough, since their gigs tend to center in the Charlotte area.

In the holiday spirit, the PR Unidos Association is collecting donations of unwrapped toys at this event to benefit local children. Tickets are $20, available in advance online, and at the Havana Grill restaurant in Cary, and El Coqui restaurant in Holly Springs.

Olga Morales has performed extensively at festivals, private events, and on Puerto Rican radio and TV. She grew up singing with her father, Luisito, one of three musical brothers. Of the trio, Flor Morales Ramos, known simply as "Ramito," is without a doubt the island's most famous and beloved troubadour. A third brother, Juan, was known as "Moralito, and the three enjoyed solo careers as well as creating joint projects, well into their later years. Olga's father Luisito was the last survivor, until he passed away in June 2009.

Trovadores specialize in a declamatory singing style of improvised verses with strict formal rules, called décima. Its roots go back to Puerto Rico's agrarian origins, and the Andalucian farmers who settled there.

Here's Olga's father, Luisito, singing a tribute to his brother, Ramito, at a 2002 festival in his honor. The band is Joaquin Mouliert y sus Ecos de la Montaña:

Here is the same band again, playing live in Christmas parade. Trova music is especially associated with the holidays in Puerto Rico, and a distinct carolling tradition known as parranda. In this 1987 video, Luisito sings first (in the hat with heavy red-sequinned border), followed by his brother Ramito (wearing glasses). Check out these great views of Puerto Rico, as the band drives slowly down city streets accompanied by horsemen (caballistas):

It should be fascinating to witness the next generation of this revered lineage of Puerto Rican singers right here in Chapel Hill on Saturday.


Associacion de Puertorriqueños Unidos de NC - Events Calendar

History of Puerto Rican Trova (Spanish)
Olguita Morales artist webpage (Spanish)

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