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Danny Rivera is known as “the national voice of Puerto Rico,” and is beloved throughout the Spanish-speaking world. Over the course of his long career, he has recorded more than seventy albums. The only Puerto Rican artist to star at Carnegie Hall in four different decades (1979, 1989,1999, 2010), Danny has also become well-known for his activism, lending his voice and energy to many social, educational, and peace initiatives. “El Belén” is a song from the bomba tradition, “Bomba Puertoriqueña,” developed from ritual slave celebrations in the 17th century. The name came from the drum called the “bomba,” which was an empty codfish barrel covered with goatskin. The African heritage in bomba music includes call and response, dialogues between dancers and drummers, and collective participation in which there is no distinct line between musicians and audience. Abdel Salaam, choreographer of the Forces of Nature Dance Theatre, says of his company’s collaboration with the bomba performers in this event: “In the spirit of bomba, we are paying homage, through rhythm and dance, to the survival of the African heritage in the traditional culture of Puerto Rico.” 30 Disc II 4 4 Disc II 31 The word “belén” has a double meaning. It refers to Bethlehem but also to a Christmas carol. This “belén” is a song of love for two revered Puerto Rican masters of music, Rafel Cortijo and Ismael Rivera.


from Everybody Under the Sun: Voices of Solstice (The Singers), released December 6, 2019
Danny Rivera / voice
Ricki Martinez / accordion, keyboard
Pachito Vega / cuatro, guitar
Nicky Laboy / bomba drum, voice
Nina Rodriguez / voice
Hector “Papote” Jimenez / voice
Rye Rodriguez / bomba drum, voice
Eugene Friesen / cello
Eliot Wadopian / bass
Jamey Haddad / drums
Abdel Salaam / dun-dun
Frank Malloy IV / djembe
Kofi Ose / djembe


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Paul Winter Litchfield

Paul Winter is a seven-time Grammy-winning saxophonist, whose sextet was the first jazz group to perform at the White House in 1962. His second group, the Paul Winter Consort, interweaves sounds from the natural world with classical and ethnic traditions, and the spontaneous spirit of jazz. Their annual Winter Solstice Celebrations and Earth Mass are among the most popular events in New York. ... more

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