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Exclusive Q and A: Sohanny Talks Tr3s, 'Step Up,' Collaborations

Latin artist Sohanny knows what it’s like to be on the grind. While she puts in hours of songwriting, singing, dancing, rehearsing, and promoting, it all seems almost effortless to the talented Dominican songstress. This past summer, her collaboration with Vein, “Get Loose,” was featured on the Step Up Revolution soundtrack, and she is currently working on her first English album. Though Sohanny is poised on the threshold of huge crossover success, she doesn’t forget where she came from. This month, she’s teaming up with OurStage to be the celebrity judge for the Tr3s “El Headliner” competition and to give back to up-and-coming artists who are looking to hit it big.  We caught up with Sohanny to chat collaboration, inspiration, and hard work.

OS: Your music has a lot of different influences that work together.  How would you describe it for somebody who has never listened to you before?

Sohanny: I’d say Tropical.  Tropical fusion with a little bit of urban pop for sure.  I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and also the US so it’s a mix of my roots together with what I grew up listening to.

OS: You also embrace newer electronic sounds like Moombahton as well.  What do you like about newer styles like that?

S: To a lot of people who are listening to it now it’s a recent thing, but it’s so underground. In most of what I do there are a lot of original sounds that came from the streets, like my first single that had a bit of Perico Ripiao, which is more of an upbeat mambo. Moombahton has been happening as well in Puerto Rico for a while now, but now all these Latin sounds are starting to come back and it’s a lot of the underground stuff that people loved but that was never really commercialized in the US. I’m very proud to be one of the pioneers to bring out the fusion of sounds from my country. (more…)

Press Shuffle: Why Latinos Party Best

If there’s something Latinos are known for, it’s partying. When it comes to letting loose and living a little, nobody comes close. The food, the drinks, the dancing, the people¦ it all just seems so fantastically exotic yet incredibly tangible. In an effort to describe this magical experience for you, we’ve prepared a simple analysis of the typical post-college level party by juxtaposing the main elements of both Anglo and Latino social gatherings. See the difference? Additionally, we’ve provided you with a premier sampling of some of our Latino artists here at OurStage to get you in the mood”you’ll be able to find this and much, much more over at the Tr3s Latin Music Channel.

Gato + Palenke Music Co.

1. Attendees:

Anglo “ List only, please. Make sure you RSVP!

Latino “ List only, but it’s OK to bring significant other(s), siblings, close friends,  second cousins, classmates, coworkers, neighbors and pets.

(more…)

GuacaMusic: Willie Villegas Y Entre Amigos

We all know music sounds better when it is played among friends, or better said, entre amigos. And music is even better when you are playing salsa.

Entre amigos is precisely part of the name of a two trombone-led salsa group based in Brooklyn, NY, and directed by multi-talented musician Willie Villegas. Besides co-leading Entre Amigos, playing timbales with them and producing the band’s albums, Willie hosts the cable TV show Salsa En La Calle . He has also played with well-known artists such as Joe Quijano, Joe Cuba, Eddie Palmieri, Frankie Ruiz, Lalo Rodrí­guez, Tito Puente, José Fajardo and Paquito Guzmán.

Need we say more?

Anyone who’s into serious salsa dancing or loves Latin beats needs to get to know Willie and his friends ASAP. Here on OurStage, Willie and his band have quickly gained the love and respect of many music lovers. Their catchy piece Castiellano was recently in the Top 10 charts and continues to climb to the roof. Play it when your day needs a lift or simply when you feel like dancing.

If you dig Castellano, you will also like other Entre Amigos’s favorites like Moliendo Café, a piece were you can feel the omnipotent presence of some Latin music staples like timbales, congas and bongos. For something more like cha cha, listen to Dame una Tacita de Café which means give me a cup of coffee.

In love already? Trust us, next time you are among friends play Entre Amigos and you will set the mood for a long, unforgettable evening. Enjoy this playlist. ¡Provecho!

GuacaMusic: Maraca

Summer is here and with it comes the fever for hot Latin rhythms like salsa, rumba, mambo and merengue. Lucky for you, OurStage hosts some of the most talented Latin stars, and their music is sure to turn your summer into a caliente extravaganza.

When it comes to mixing Afro-Cuban rhythms in style, there is one band that really catches our eye. We are talking about Maraca, an act that has been making the Top 10 OurStage Latin charts for some time now.

Described as One of the hottest names in Afro-Cuban music” by the Los Angeles Times and the most influential Afro-Cuban band of the emerging century by the Chicago Tribune, Maraca blends jazz with improvisations of rhythms such as rumba, folklore, danzon, cha cha cha, mambo, son and timba.

Maraca’s musical career is pretty outstanding. The band has been rocking the Latin stage for more than fifteen years, and has performed in some of the most prestigious international jazz, Latin and world-music festivals and venues worldwide”including North Sea, Playboy, Monterey, Houston, Montreux, Lugano, Nice, Marciac, Vancouver, Montreal, Juan-les-Pins, Vittoria-Gasteiz, Pori, Jamboree, Vienne, Istanbul, La Villette and many others.

And that’s not all. Maraca has released nine albums and three professional video-clips, each one of them rewarded during national contests in Cuba and highly acclaimed by national and international critics. In 2003, Maraca was even nominated for a GRAMMY Award for “Best Salsa Album.

Can’t wait to play some Maraca? Head to our Latin Channel and discover the magic of well-played Afro-Cuban rhythms that are sure to heat up your summer. We especially recommend Maraca’s song Castí­gala. ¡Provecho!

¡Provecho!

 

GuacaMusic: Gato + Palenke Music Co.

Often, some of the most eclectic blends are the ones who taste the greatest. Just think about salsa verde, mole or other eccentric dishes that combine extremely different ingredients like chili and chocolate.

In our opinion, the same thing happens with music. Some of the greatest bands have members from different backgrounds or have very distinct talents. A great example of this is Gato + Palenke Music Co., an awesome OurStage band that combines the talents of  its diverse members who hail from Peru, Colombia, El Salvador and Paraguay.

During the first years together, the band played mostly covers, a formula that worked for a while. Once the band’s distinctive sound was achieved, Jaime Andrés Salazar”Gato”who is the vocalist, composer, guitarist, producer and director of the band, began writing new songs.

This new formula worked wonders. Fans fell in love with the amazing combination of rhythms such as salsa, merengue, festejo, bomba, cumbia, merecumbé, punta and gaita.

Curious? Just play Gato + Palenke Music’s song El Incendio and you’ll know what the entire buzz is about: the rhythm, the lyrics and the blend of instruments. It all comes together perfectly. No wonder this song is among the Top 10 on our Latin Channel.

Beyond their great music, what we love most about this band is the sincerity of their lyrics that relate to the feeling of many emigrants who leave their country in search of new opportunities. As the band puts it they speak of wanting, longing and hope.

A great example of lyrics that speak about the common struggles of immigrants is the band’s song La Olla Rota.  Using playful and danceable melodies, the piece talks about economic struggles and how these can have a real impact on our emotional lives.

So now you know, if you are into eclectic blends, profound lyrics and amazing music, follow Gato + The Palenke Music Co. on OurStage.com. You won’t regret it. ¡Provecho!

GuacaMusic: Leon Cheva

Bad day? Try some salsa!

Let’s face it. There is NOTHING better to brighten up a gloomy day than a dose of good old tropical music. Whether it is salsa, rumba or merengue, everyone feels better after hearing the first beat.

Here on OurStage, we have plenty of songs that will lift your spirits even on the darkest day. Our Latin Channel is full of amazing, talented artists, and one of them is Leon Cheva.

Originally from Puerto Rico, Cheva specializes in playing tropical music, salsa and rumba. His is an all-time fan favorite on OurStage, with four Latin Channel prizes already.

Cheva started playing music at an early age. Growing up in Puerto Rico, he had the opportunity to work along some of the greatest salseros of all times, like Tito Allen, Cano Estremera, Ismael Rivera Jr, Adalberto Santiago and Tito Puente. His successful career and amazing talent earned him the name El Salsero Urbano

Intrigued? Play one of Cheva’s songs on OurStage and you’ll clearly see what that talent is all about.

Let’s start with Un Nuevo Comienzo, a salsa ensemble that will conquer the hearts of any true salseros out there. The song talks about a new beginning and the challenge of leaving the past behind.

Another great favorite by Leon Cheva is Ella. Featuring Papo Lucca a romantic Puerto Rican salsa that will get you moving in no time.

If you are into songs that convey a compelling messages besides making you want to dance, play Cheva’s Señora Señora a catchy piece that speaks about violence against women. As Cheva says, each one of his pieces tells a story and will make you laugh and cry.

For more amazing tropical pieces, visit Cheva’s profile and see why the Salsero Urbano is a true gem on OurStage. Enjoy Cheva and let salsa illuminate your day. ¡Provecho!

GuacaMusic: Manuex

When it comes to Latin music, the first thing that comes to mind when we hear the word dancing (or bailar) is salsa or merenge. However, by doing that we are ignoring one of the most exciting ways move to a Latin beat: Dance music.

If you love dance music you’ll love the Dance y Electrónica Channel on MTV DEMO. In case you didn’t know, MTV DEMO is a new site in Spanish, powered by OurStage, and geared especially towards Latin American artists. Dance y electrónica is one of the channels on this new platform, and in our opinion, it is also one of the most exciting.

To guide you through the top picks on this channel, we’ll introduce you to the music of Manuex, an artist from Venezuela who is getting rave reviews from fans on MTV DEMO.

Manuex launched his career two years ago with a concert in Venezuela and has been collecting successes ever since. He has performed in several festivals in Latin America, including: Jóvenes que dejan Huellas, Festival de la voz liceí­sta Mérida, Ferias del sol, Ferias de la frí­a (Táchira), among others.

Intrigued? Just play Manuex’s song Lo Que Tu Digas on MTV DEMO and you’ll see why fans are loving this danceable piece and voting to move Manuex to the top rankings on the site.  Perhaps the most interesting thing about Lo Que Tu Digas is that it is a somewhat sad song about a lost love, and yet it lifts your spirits with its danceable beat. This is one of those songs you could totally hear playing in any cool club in Latin America.

If you like Lo Que Tu Digas, then you’ll love Manuex’s song Poliamor, another love song that puts you in the mood to party. Play it and witness how all negative emotions disappear.

Dancing already? If you like these songs, you’ll love other danceable acts on MTV DEMO. Just visit the Dance y Electrónica Channel to hear why fans are loving this new way to move to a Latin beat. Put on your dance shoes and enjoy Manuex. ¡Provecho!

GuacaMusic: Luci

What do you get when you add pop, R&B, funk and a touch of Latin?

The answer is simple: You get amazing music. Just ask Luci, a talented artist from Peru that has been writing exciting Latin songs for years. Lately, her song Live It Up has been getting rave reviews from OurStage fans, who seem to love her mix of Latin flavors and the excitement of her voice

Play Luci’s song Live It Up and you’ll understand why this spicy combination of traditional salsa and lively, modern sounds is rapidly raising through the top charts on OurStage’s Latin Channel.

Luci’s singular style is due, in large part, to her bicultural upbringing. Although she was born in Lima, Peru, she spent a large part of her childhood living in the US. She argues that her style comes from a sea of influences varying from Celia Cruz and Christina Aguilera, to Aerosmith and Stevie Wonder.

After years of prepping herself to make it big in the music scene, Luci released her debut EP in May of last year, getting very positive comments from critics and fans. She is continually writing fresh, new music and remains ambitious about her passion for producing, dancing and dressmaking for her shows.

Besides “Live It Up”, other great songs by Luci include “Save the World“, “Entertainer” and “Chocamos“. Don’t miss Luci’s Latin flavors on OurStage. You’ll fall in love with her sabor. ¡Provecho!

GuacaMuisc: A Bailar

If you love Latin music, you know there is nothing that complements it better than a good, sweaty Latin dance. Salsa, merengue, cumbia and bachata are only a few of the staple rhythms that get even the I-don’t-know-how-to-dance types moving.

As an avid fan of la música Latina, I am convinced that Latin dancing is good for the body as well as for the soul. I really don’t think there is nothing more rejuvenating than Salsa or more fun that a good merengue.  Unfortunately, many people are afraid to dance to Latin beats for fear of being ridiculed.  Others believe that, in order to be able to do it, they have to enroll themselves in expensive dance classes.

The truth is, Latin music was meant for dancing and everyone with a pair of shoes can do it, as long as the songs are good. Here on OurStage we have a number of very exciting Latin pieces that not only will get you moving, but will also make you the king or queen of any dance floor.

Let’s start with Bailando! by Kephas, an awesome piece that won the Latin Channel prize back in March and has been in the Top 10 charts for several months. Kephas is a songwriter, producer, guitarist and vocalist who was born in Miami. His parents emigrated from Cuba and raised him on the sounds of their homeland: urbane big bands easing effortlessly into the rhythms of Africa; the hushed sanctity of a Catholic mass contrasting with the rituals of Santerí­a.

One song that will get even a rock dancing is Me encantan todas by Many Cepeda (also known as El Salsero Clásico), a song about a guy who is in love with every woman he sees. Check out Many’s OurStage profile for other great salsa pieces.

Samba anyone? For a more Brazilian type of dancing, play “Carnival” by Quinta Toka, a band that plays a crossover of different styles including samba, bossa nova and jazz. This song will lift your spirits anytime.

If you aren’t in the mood for salsa and prefer to dance club style, then play Chica Elegante by David Rolas and Crooked Stilo, or any song by DJ Prieto Black.

Are you dancing already? Here is a playlist that will make you never want to stop.

¡Provecho!

GuacaMusic: Santa Mamba

If you had to choose between Latin music styles, which one would you pick? Would it be the excitement of salsa? The catchiness of merengue? The passion of tango?

Luckily, you don’t have to pick just one. In fact, there is a OurStage band that’s made a home in the Top 10 Charts for several months due to its ability to present it all: rock, salsa, reggaeton, funk, rap, jazz, rhumba, merengue, bachata, disco, reggae, bolero, son and more.

I am talking about Santa Mamba, a group that combines all of these sounds to create an interesting fusion of musical elements.

While artists from many bands that fall under the broad classification of Latin often share an ethnic heritage, the story of Santa Mamba is different. All of their members come from different places. Some were born in small towns in the US, others grew up in American cities with strong ties to Italian and Portuguese tradition, and a few more were born in Latin American countries such as Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.

You are probably wondering how artists from such diverse backgrounds manage to come together and form such a fantastic band, right? Well, Santa Mamba’s members are aware of their differences. On their Web site they write: We have little in common, besides that we were all born with a passion for music and an openness to it in all its varieties of expression.

In fact, they say, their differences have brought them even closer, since they had to learn how to listen and understand each other. Over time, they figured out the value of diversity and forged their own style, which they named Latin Roots Rock, a sound that takes a firm understanding of various Latin and American musical traditions.

Whatever this band is doing is definitely working well. On OurStage, Santa Mamba has received awesome feedback from fans with their song Aroma which means scent or smell, and talks about the exquisite aroma of the person you love. Play this song and you will be amazed by the mixture of sounds and the interesting influences from iconic figures such as Santana, Ruben Blades and Mana.

For a more danceable tune, play their song Senseo which was the title of their most recent album and combines elements of salsa, rhumba and a touch of rock.  The fervor of this beat demands some serious dancing; so don’t forget to play it when you are feeling the urge to move.

What do you think? Isn’t it great when you don’t have to pick just one music style? After all, this is what Latin music is all about, a big dish of ingredients and flavors that, when mixed together, create the most exquisite combinations on earth. Enjoy this playlist by Santa Mamba. ¡Provecho!