Friday, April 10, 2009

Joe Bataan & Seattle Experience Music Project

LA Weekly: "Streetology: Joe Bataan's Rap on Latin Soul"
Festival reflections: When the fun is done

Here is a very good interview (more than 1.5 hours long) between Latin Soul legend Joe Bataan and the homey Jeff Chang in Australia. Jeff and Joe review Joe's long career in music while also playing some of Joe's classic music for the audience. As a young Afro-Filipino guy growing up in Spanish Harlem in the 1960s-70s, Joe tells great stories about breaking into the music industry and pioneering music movements such as Latin Soul (Latin-rhythmed music in English) and rap (with his song "Rap-O-Clap-O," peep the 1 hour mark).

I love his story-telling about how he aesthetically bridged the Latin and Black musical communities with boogaloo/Latin Soul, as he is able to linguistically, musically, and racially straddle both communities. For example, Joe's record company "SalSoul" successfully attempted to be the Motown of Salsa.

I also like his story about performing and fast becoming a (afro-haired) celebrity in East Germany during the heat of the Cold War!

On a related note, I will be presenting at the Experience Music Project Pop Conference in Seattle this weekend. I will be exploring Joe's success in the music industry, and the challenges of popularizing "Rap-O-Clap-O" in the United States. Here is a description of our panel:

Sunday, April 19
>> Liminal Grooves
Venue: JBL Theater
Moderated by: Gayle Wald
Oliver Wang, "Crash, Burn and Return: Betty Davis' Lost Album"
Mark Villegas, "Hitting Abroad: The Global Travels of Joe Bataan’s 'Rap-O-Clap-O'"
Jason King, "Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite: Disconnected Intimacies"
Andy Zax, "Lost in Lost Music: Rediscovering Johnny Mathis' I Love My Lady"

"Hitting Abroad: The Global Travels of Joe Bataan’s 'Rap-O-Clap-O'"
"Rap O, Clap O" was one of hip-hop's earliest hits internationally but scarcely remembered in the U.S. Recorded by Latin R&B singer Joe Bataan, "Rap O, Clap O" became a chart-topping hit in Europe and even Latin America, where Bataan rapped the song in Spanish, making it one of the first "Latin rap" songs of note. Bataan first discovered hip-hop in 1978, before the rap music movement had a formal name. Intrigued by the "rhythm-and-rhyme" styles he saw engrossing the youth of New York City, Bataan set out to produce, write and record "Rap O, Clap O" on his own, claiming to have preceded the now legendary "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang. Despite this, the single's poor reception in the U.S. has muted its legacy. (CONTINUE READING)

Also some other juicy panels/presentations:

"¡Reggeat├│n! Perreo and Beyond" with Raquel Rivera

""The Age of the Crew: ABDC and its Dance Dance Revolution"" with Christine Balance

"Seduced by Hip Hop"

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