Latidomusic

We Sit Down With José Feliciano To Discuss the 50th Anniversary of His Christmas Masterpiece, ‘Feliz Navidad’

Photo by Debra L Rothenberg/Getty Images

It’s that time of year again! You know, the time of the year when everyone and their madre plays “Feliz Navidad” on repeat. And can you blame them? José Feliciano’s timeless earworm is the literal embodiment of the Christmas spirit. It’s fun, festive and–most importantly–irresistibly catchy.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of José Feliciano’s Christmas masterpiece, “Feliz Navidad”.

“Feliz Navidad” debuted in 1970 and became an instant classic. Since its release, the song dominated first the radio airwaves and now all streaming platforms around the holidays.

To make matters more exciting, the bilingual bop has climbed the Billboard charts and, at the time of this publication, is currently sitting comfortably at No. 10–right under “Holy” by Justin Bieber. This marks the first time “Feliz Navidad” has ever cracked the chart’s top ten ranking.

Luckily for us, José Feliciano caught up with mitú about his legacy, his inspirations, and the ongoing success of “Feliz Navidad”.

About what makes “Feliz Navidad” a classic, Feliciano says it is the message behind the song that people resonate with.

“‘Feliz Navidad’ is a song of joy. It’s a song that people grew to love. And they grew to love it because of its simplicity and its joy,” he told mitú.

Feliciano said that writing “Feliz Navidad” was simply a matter of deciding he wanted an original Christmas song on his Christmas album.

“[Producer Rick Jarrard] said to me, ‘You know, Jose, we need a Christmas song of your own on this album.’ And I said to Rick, ‘Rick, you know, I don’t know how I can compete.’ Because I’ve always been competitive. And Rick said to me, ‘Think of something and write a song.’ So, I did. And ‘Feliz Navidad’ was the victim.”

Despite hilariously calling “Feliz Navidad” a “victim” of his creativity, Feliciano said he is proud of having written the song.

Feliciano, who was born in Puerto Rico but moved to New York City at the age of 5, explained that part of what inspired “Feliz Navidad” was the songs that he listened to in his youth.

“‘Feliz Navidad’ came about from all of the Christmas music that I had listened to in Puerto Rico. Singers like Mario Moreno ‘Cantinflas’,” he told mitú. “The song came out of it because of what I remembered from the Christmas villancicos. The Christmas carols.”

Feliciano’s Puerto Rican heritage deeply influenced his musical sound–specifically his use of the cuatro in many of his songs.

Feliciano is famous for revolutionizing bolero music, adding elements of the blues and folk music into the popular Latin genre.

Feliciano, who was born blind, says he looked to music to give him a sense of belonging. “I used bolero music to cure my loneliness,” he told mitú. “I felt, at the time, that because I was blind, no woman was going to be interested in someone like me.”

“The guitar gave me a handsomeness that I never knew existed and if the guitar thought I was handsome, why shouldn’t I listen to it and play it?”

Now, in honor of “Feliz Navidad”‘s 50th Anniversary, Feliciano is will be streaming a concert this year.

Hosted by producer Rudy Perez, the concert will feature Feliciano singing Christmas classics–including, of course, “Feliz Navidad”.

Catch the livestream on December 20th at 7pm EST. Buy tickets here at www.feliznavidad50th.com before they sell out.

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Socially Distanced Navidad? Here Are the Best Family Games to Play Over Zoom

Culture

Socially Distanced Navidad? Here Are the Best Family Games to Play Over Zoom

Photo: Getty Images

This Christmas, unfortunately, is going to be tough for a lot of people. With the coronavirus pandemic still waging on, many of us have had to make the tough decision to stay home for the holidays. That means no traveling out of town or visiting extended family like we have in years past.

If you come from a family that likes to get into the competitive spirit and play games over the holidays, then giving up that tradition might feel too disappointing. Luckily, we can all rely on technology to keep us connected in these trying times when we’re forced to be apart.

We’ve compiled a list of Zoom-friendly games that you can play with your family over the holidays and beyond. Take a peak at our fun picks below!

1. Charades

This one’s an easy one. All you have to do is create a Zoom link, send it out to family members and pick a topic to act out. If you’re having trouble thinking of a word, trying using a Charades word generator.

2. Card Games

Who says a little old pandemic can keep us from playing cards with our loved ones? For many of us, playing cards with our family is as steadfast a holiday tradition as exchanging gifts is. Log on to https://playingcards.io/ to create a custom game room to share with your family.

3. Bingo

Think about it: Bingo is the perfect game to play over Zoom. Websites like https://myfreebingocards.com/virtual-bingo have virtual bingo games you can play for free with up to 30 participants!

4. Heads Up!

Heads Up! is a game in which a player has to guess which word/topic is on their phone screen by the clues their team members are giving them. In order to make the most of this game, players at each Zoom location will have to download the Heads Up! app on their phone. And after that, it’s smooth sailing.

5. All Bad Cards (aka Cards Against Humanity)

If you’re the type of family that likes to push the envelope over a game of Cards Against Humanity, consider logging onto https://allbad.cards/. All you have to do is generate a party room and send the link out to the members of your “party”. Then, you’re ready to go!

6. Pictionary

Pictionary is the kind of game that Zoom was practically invented for. In order to play this game, you’ll have to fire up Zoom’s whiteboard tool and share your screen with all of the participating players. Again, if you can’t think of a topic, get some help with a Pictionary random word generator.

7. Trivial Pursuit

You’ll have to own this classic board game in order to play over Zoom, but if you do, setting it up and playing is super easy. In order to make this game user-friendly for all participants, make sure there’s someone in your location that can play on the same team as someone in a different Zoom location. That way, all the players can be sure that there’s no cheating involved.

8. Outburst

If you’re a fan of Family Feud, then Outburst is probably right up your alley. This game requires that each player brainstorm lists off of a given topic (i.e. Top Ten Christmas songs). Unfortunately, there is no virtual or online version of the game, but instead, team members can take turns coming up with topics and having other players brainstorm lists.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Stephen And Ayesha Curry Are Donating Thousands of Books To Schools For Christmas

Entertainment

Stephen And Ayesha Curry Are Donating Thousands of Books To Schools For Christmas

Handout / Getty

Hark the herald! Stephen and Ayesha Claus Curry– are here to bring literary joy this season.

The Golden State Warrior and his wife are donating thousands of books to schools around Oakland, California this holiday season in an effort to bring joy to children.

The couple, behind Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation, made the announcement earlier this week.

“We along with our entire team at Eat. Learn. Play. understand the importance of early childhood education, especially when it comes to literacy,” Stephen and Ayesha told People magazine in a recent interview. “Nothing is more basic, more essential, more foundational, or more important to a child’s success in life than the ability to read well. We know there is a lot of work to be done, but with partners like Literati, we’re hopeful that we will be able to make an impact on these children’s lives.”

The Currys’ donations will arrive to schools in boxes that will contain six books.

The packages will include five children’s books and one for adults. All of which come from Stephen Curry’s “Underrated” book club selection.

Along with their thousand book giveaway, the couple’s Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation will donate boxes to students who are learning remotely amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in collaboration with and Literati. Fourteen thousand boxes will go directly to Oakland Unified Schools.

According to people, “The remainder of the donation, which was also made possible through Bay Area investor Aydin Senkut of Felicis Ventures, will be distributed through community partners in the new year.”

Speaking about their own experiences of teaching their children during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Stephen and Ayesha (who are parents to Canon W. Jack, 2, Ryan Carson, 5, and Riley, 8) told People that they’ve been hard work attempting to keep their children busy and learning.

“My oldest is pretty disciplined so that’s been easy, but our 5-year-old has a little trouble staying engaged for an extended period of time,” Ayesha, host of ABC’s new show “Family Food Fight,” explained.

Ayesha says she has found that taking part in “some kind of physical activity right before class starts” helps her daughter Ryan “to focus the mind and get some of the wiggles out, and periodic ‘dance breaks’ between lessons.”

“We also added resistance workout bands to the legs of her chair, which give her something to do if she gets antsy during a long Zoom session,” Stephen added.

“Luckily for me, Stephen has really stepped in with education and their schooling. And I’m okay with that because I birthed them so now [he] can birth and nurture their education,” Ayesha joked in a recent episode of “The Kelly Clarkson Show.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com