Spotlight 360 I was always interested in music and I took violin lessons for many years as pre-teen. I loved singing but my dad was very cautious about letting me get ‘too’ into the music scene…he wanted me to be in an established career before focusing too much on music. After finishing my first year of law school, my dad finally let me start singing in his band and I’ve been doing it ever since then.
What is your favorite composition to sing and what does it mean to you?
There are so many to choose from but I’ll probably go with the very first song I ever sang ‘formally’ in a public setting. My dad likes to joke that I chose one of the most complicated songs for my singing debut. It’s a Puerto Rican song featuring a type of style called Alondra de los Bosques by a composer named Carlos Padilla. The song is a “contra canto” style song, where two lead voices sing simultaneously, but they sing different words and different melodies. It’s a beautiful song once it is all put together. I sang it with my father for my grandparent’s 45th wedding anniversary when I was 12-13 years old in front of all of my Puerto Rican family and friends. To this day, I sing the song with my dad during one of our many bohemias.
What are some of the wellness benefits you find from singing and secondary percussion?
Creative outlet for sure. The type of career I have and other ‘life’ responsibilities don’t leave a lot of time for creative expression. Singing, percussion and the dancing that happens during both, is a great way to tap into that artistic side of my personality that isn’t usually front and center during your average day. Not to mention that during most of our events, especially in this Florida weather, I work up enough of a sweat between singing and dancing to count for SEVERAL workouts!
Do you have any musicals or events that you would like to complete on your bucket list?
Following Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, we came together with several other local musicians for a benefit concert to raise funds for those affected by the storm. The format for the first part of that concert was different than what we usually perform as a band (our band performs, in large part, danceable music – merengue, salsa, bachata…anything that gets people up and moving). The concert we did was a much more ‘unplugged’ style featuring music either from Puerto Rico or about Puerto Rico. Many songs we sang
WELLNESS360 | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2018
talked about the beauty of the island, the remarkable people, our pride and Puerto Rican history. The concert was a very emotional set of music and showcased a side of us as musicians that we don’t usually show to the public (although it was very similar to the bohemias we have among our close friends and family). We would love, as a band, a family and as individuals to take that same set to our native Puerto Rico and perform it in my father’s hometown of Jayuya which is up in the mountain and is still far from recovered from the devastation of the hurricane. For me, music is also very much a way for me to keep my culture and heritage alive. Most of the music I sing and perform is from Latin America, quite a bit from Puerto Rico. Music defined us culturally growing up, almost as much as the language we spoke and it still does today. To be able to perform songs about our island, in our island and for our friends and family on the island is most certainly a bucket list performance!
What are you practicing for right now?
The vast majority of our performances are for private events such as weddings, birthdays and anniversaries. However, every September we perform at the downtown Bo Diddley plaza in conjunction with the City of Gainesville and the Latina
Womens’ League Downtown Latino Film Festival. The event is always one of our favorites because the plaza is filled to capacity with over 1000 people dancing and singing and enjoying their evening. It’s a blast and we can’t wait.
How would you encourage others to start living a full and balanced life through music?
Music is universal…whether its listening to energizing tracks while working out, some serene music while meditating or doing yoga, or background music in the car on your way to work while organizing your thoughts, music is everywhere. It makes us happy or makes us sad; makes us remember past moments; makes us excited; makes us hopeful. In a time where so much is focused on the present, and the means to an end, music can make us stop and help us feel. The act of ‘feeling’ is so simple, yet, in my opinion, takes a back burner to our ‘goal focused’ way of life. Music can help us tap into that database of emotion and the more we allow that side of ourselves to be stimulated and developed, the more we can put our whole selves into all that we do.