It was my dad who introduced me to Latin American music when a kid in Ceylon, which is today known as Sri Lanka.
Through this music, I discovered their musical greats like Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria and Armando Peraza who I was to meet many years later when he became a member of Santana.
There being a similarity between traditional Sri Lankan rhythms like Kandyan dancing and the local dance known as the baila, during my years with Universal Music and then EMI Music, I tried to marry the two musical styles. But these were stop-start affairs with no focus and no fairytale ending.
A few months ago, with the venue Adrenaline at the Hong Kong Jockey Club opening up again, but having to endure various restrictions that suck the life out of making music the joyous freedom of expression it’s meant to be, there was a need to make up for this shortfall.
Bassist Franklin Torres, and Jazz Latino, a group led by drummer Alonso Gonzales, were booked to perform at the venue and the idea was to reinvent the wheel.
At least to me, apart from being a muchos nice chihuahua, Franklin is one of 2-3 musicians in Hong Kong I believe should move onto better and bigger things. But how?
Well, one has to start somewhere, so I got an original piece of music written by Alonso featuring him and Franklin.
H.G from HWB took on the Remixing chores.
It’s not easy remixing Latino music without it coming out sounding like a cliché. But H.G. made it work differently.
There was then the idea of an accompanying black and white music video to give the track a cool old time movie atmosphere.
Kat who works on all our videos made this happen. It’s a cool chic funky film noire paella with a kinda wicked Havana Xavier Cugat vibe to it.
Meanwhile, I had been talking to a former colleague with the Latin American division of EMI Music about combining Chinese instruments with Latin American rhythms.
This was something we had almost done some years ago with a Dance track for which I wrote the kinda dumb English lyrics that became a hit in this region for Chinese artist Jacky Cheung- “Corazon De Melao”.
While working on this and waiting for Franklin to make his debut with the virtual band HWB, we now have the “She’s Cool” Remix of Alonso’s original “Muchacha”.
It just might get the ball rolling and head us in the right direction and towards new fields of opportunities.
If one is restricted by social distancing measures, instead of sitting around waiting for for others to make things change, it’s about making the time to make this change happen by yourself and the team around you.