#mitúWORLD

Cali Rivera Makes Cowbells Like No One in the World, Ask the Best Percussionists

CREDIT: JAZZ NIGHT IN AMERICA / YOUTUBE

Every Cowbell is Made One-by-One

“I’ve been a cowbell lover all of my life,” says Cali Rivera, who lives in the Bronx and has been making congas, bongos and cowbells for the greatest percussionists in the world like Bobby Sanabria, Eddie Montalvo, Tito Puente and Giovanni Hidalgo.

“We don’t advertise, we don’t promote, the musicians do,” his wife says. And people call from all over the world to get their hands on a Cali-made instrument.

READ: These are the 9 Types of Salsa Dancers

Rivera has been making the instruments since he was a kid, “My father used to make the instruments like the guitar. He used to make it, but we were the helpers.”

And there’s a special technique to his beloved cowbells: “If you get the right metal you get the right sounds. Strong metal, strong bell. Bend it. Hit it with the hammer. Weld it. And that’s the bell right there,” he says.

Will Ferrell is for sure jealous.

Don’t forget to share this story with your friends by clicking the button below!

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

Johnny Pacheco, the ‘Godfather of Salsa’, Has Passed Away at the Age of 85

Entertainment

Johnny Pacheco, the ‘Godfather of Salsa’, Has Passed Away at the Age of 85

Photo via Getty Images

Johnny Pacheco–the trailblazing musician, record executive and bandleader–passed away on Monday. He was 85.

In his life, Johnny Pacheco was known as the “Godfather of Salsa” due both popularizing the term as well as co-founding Fania Records, which came to be known as the Motown of Salsa music.

Yes, he was known for being a brilliant artist in his own right (Pacheco played the flute and the saxophone along with countless other instruments), but he was most famous for his role as star-maker.

Fania Records was famous for it supergroup, the Fania Allstars, that had a revolving lineup of talented musicians like Tito Puente, Héctor Lavoe, and of course, Celia Cruz.

Pacheco’s continuous collaborations with Celia Cruz is one of his greatest legacies. He first teamed up with Cruz in 1974, for their successful album Celia & Johnny–which certified Gold. Together, Pacheco and Cruz released over 10 albums.

You could say that music ran in Johnny Pacheco’s blood. Born in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic in 1935, the Pachecos were a musical family. Johnny’s father, Rafael Azarías Pacheco, was a successful clarinetist and big band leader.

When Johnny was 11, his family left the Dominican Republic and fled to the U.S. to escape the dictatorial regime of Rafael Trujillo. The Pachecos relocated to the Bronx, where Johnny’s love for Afro-Cuban music like charanga and pachanga truly blossomed.

After studying percussion at Julliard, Pacheco began to focus all of his attention on a new exciting genre that was sweeping New York City: salsa. Salsa was named such because it reminded listeners of sauce–it was spicy.

Pacheco co-founded Fania Records with his business partner, a laywer named Jerry Masucci. It was through Fania that Pacheco discovered numerous Latin artists and helped solidify salsa as a genre that was here to stay–forever.

Later in his life, Pacheco received innumerable awards and honors for his cultural contributions. Not only was he a 9-time Grammy nominee with 10 gold records, but he was awarded the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.

On Monday, Fania records released a statement that recognized Pacheco as “more than a musician, bandleader, writer, arranger and producer” but as “a visionary”. “His music will live on eternally,” they wrote. “And we are forever grateful to have been a part of his wonderful journey.”

He is survived by his wife, Maria “Cuqui” Elena Pacheco, and his four children, Norma, Joanne, Elis and Phillip

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

Netflix’s ‘Vampires Vs. The Bronx’ Takes A Horror-Comedy Approach To Gentrification

Entertainment

Netflix’s ‘Vampires Vs. The Bronx’ Takes A Horror-Comedy Approach To Gentrification

Netflix / YouTube

Netflix has been making the content we have all been waiting for and the latest hit is “Vampires Vs. The Bronx.” The movie is a new way to tell the narrative of gentrification through the lens of family-friendly horror. Netflix viewers are clearly loving the movie and some want to see it make history.

It’s hard to tell who is the biggest danger in “Vampires Vs. The Bronx.”

The comedy-horror was directed by Osmany Rodriguez who is the mastermind behind some of the funniest moments of “Saturday Night Live.” Basically, all of the 2016 election sketches with Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon are thanks to Rodriguez and his directing prowess.

Rodriguez brings his same comedic look on the darker issues to this movie where vampires, gentrifiers, and gangsters are overwhelming the Bronx. Yet, despite all of the obvious dangers out there, it is hard to figure out who the real threat to safety is.

First off, people were here for the way to real cultural moments.

Like, okay. We all know that Timbs are a thing in the Bronx. They are a cultural icon of the neighborhood and to see them used as a weapon in “Vampires Vs. The Bronx” was just *chef’s kiss*. Tbh, it was the kind of reaction you could feel in your soul as our communities are still actively fighting against rampant gentrification in our neighborhoods.

The trailer shows a group of boys trying to exist in their neighborhood as the ultimate turf war begins between the three factions. White people with canvas bags, insanely evil vampires, and the stereotypical gangsters are out in full force in this relevant and quickly beloved movie.

Rodriguez did what most filmmakers should: he talked to people in the Bronx.

Rodriguez didn’t shy away from learning what the people had to say about what was happening to their neighborhood. The most common complaint and observation he heard from people in Washington Heights and the Bronx was that gentrification was really taking a negative toll on the communities.

According to an interview with The Daily Beast, Rodriguez learned from Bronx and Washington Heights residents that gentrification was killing the souls of the two Latino neighborhoods. The same can be seen in Boyle Heights in Los Angeles, a Mexican and immigrant neighborhood.

People on social media cannot hype up the movie enough.

Fans of the movie appreciate the balance the movie has been able to strike when telling the story of gentrification. Also, the addition of vampires that seem to be just as horrible is a comical relief that communities impacted by gentrification seem to welcome. Rodriguez wanted to intentionally flip the narrative of gentrification making neighborhoods better and instead show that the neighborhoods are strong and vibrant with their own communities.

The movie has been compared to classics, like “Dracula.”

“Vampires Vs. The Bronx” is a clear commentary on the current class struggles happening in communities of color across the country. Much like the 1931 film “Dracula,” the narrative painted by the Netflix movie is poignant look at what is happening in the world.

“Dracula” was seen as a capitalist’s nightmare with the vampire representing the dead labor. That dead labor, which is the relentless work under capitalism, can only survive by draining the life out of the living to keep itself thriving.

It is clear that Netflix and Rodriguez gave their fans exactly what they wanted out of “Vampires Vs. The Bronx.”

People are more than fans. The movie has become a cultural entertainment moment for the communities represented in the film. This kind of representation is amazing. Afro-Latino talent is front and center in the film as the heroes and that is something we can all celebrate. Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, and Black actors delivered a performance that is resonating far beyond the Netflix-universe.

“Vampires Vs. The Bronx” is currently streaming on Netflix so you can watch it now.

READ: Netflix Finally Gave Us The Release Date For “Selena: The Series” And Fans Can’t Wait

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