Divino, Miranda, De
León perform at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
By Arooj Ashraf, La Prensa Correspondent
Cleveland: Rock and
Roll Hall of Fame kicked off its annual celebration
of Hispanic Heritage Month with three outstanding Latino
performers on Aug. 28, 2010. The free festival attracted more
than 250 fans, who enjoyed performances by Ismael Miranda
(salsa), Sammy De León of Cleveland (salsa), and
Those visiting the Museum
enjoyed a screening of PBS documentary, ‘Chicano Rock! The
Sounds of East Los Angeles’. The documentary celebrates
Mexican-American’s distinct contribution to music in the 1930s
Los Angeles, and how the unique sounds defined cultural
better known as Divino, said he was thrilled to be invited to
perform at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and humbled to be in
company of the legendary performers honored in the museum. Born
in Bronx, New York he spent his teen years in Ponce, Puerto
Divino began writing songs
at 14 years of age and collaborated with his younger brother,
Obed Velázquez, who distinguished himself as a reggaetón
artist under the name K2Young. After K2Young was murdered at age
21, Divino returned to writing and composing and channeled his
anger into refining his talent. “Those who didn’t know my
brother will know him now,” he said, and his song Una Lágrima,
does just that.
For him, every melody and
lyrics are inspired by emotions, “I find myself sitting with my
eyes closed, feeling the songs, and often acting them out,” he
said, adding his mission is for his fans to connect and relate
to his work. “I am not the kind of writer to have 40 songs, I
want one good song,” he said.
He has worked with many great artists and producers such as
Tunes, and Ivy Queen and toured
internationally in Spain and many Latin American countries.
While performing in Argentina in front of 64,000 people who
knew all of his songs by heart, Divino realized he had made it.
His focus now is giving back to the community and partnering
with charities to raise awareness on breast cancer and bullying
in high school.
His advice to aspiring
artists is to look at rejection as an opportunity to improve,
learn and never give up. He laughed, recalling his mother’s
pessimism, insisting he stay in school and even getting him a
job as an assistant at a juvenile correctional institution.
He is also beginning to
work on a book which parallels how he and his mother channeled
their grief, and seeking to inspire others who have lost a loved
one to violence. “The only certain thing in life is death; we
should live prepared, be prepared to continue to live life as
scheduled,” he said.
Ismael Miranda, also a
Puerto Rico native, was invited by the City of Cleveland. Local
dance group Grupo Isla Del Encanto and Perlas del
Caribe performed traditional Puerto Rican folkloric
dance called plena & bomba, as well as bachata,
reggaetón, merengüe, tango, and hip-hop. Ohio
Natural Gas and Key Bank sponsored the Latino Heritage fair.
Throughout the United
States, Hispanic Heritage Month begins Sept. 15, 2010.
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