I think we risk becoming the best informed society that has ever died of ignorance.
Everyone comes back. It makes no difference how far we wander, we always have our country, our land, in our souls and our minds.
People are a lot smarter than anyone gives them credit for being.
So that I saw music as a way of documenting realities from the urban cities of Latin America.
What I do not accept is the fact that so many people's talents were ripped off.
I was the first person to come into New York with a Latin American point of view which was also very much influenced by political happenings in Latin America.
There was no television, so the radio provided you with everything.
I was a kid, and I remember my mother singing. She was also a radio soap opera actress, but my mother sang.
So that when I came from Panama... my family was exiled in 1973 and they went to Miami.
So that in 1974, when I graduated as a lawyer, I figured I'm not going to be a lawyer under a military regime.
So I went to Miami in '74 with my family and while I was there it became obvious that we needed money and we needed to do something, because my family, we left without anything really, and we didn't have any money to begin with.
A lot of times you're just conditioned by what's around you.
I didn't do drugs, I never did do drugs. Never. I don't have any story of drugs, you know, to speak of. Never did drugs, never was interested in drugs and then I wasn't interested in the people around the drugs.
I was born in Panama, the Republic of Panama, on July 16, 1948 in Panama City, in an area called San Felipe.
Every band had their own distinctive sound, but it was pretty much dancing music and rhythmic music with a tremendous emphasis on copying the Cuban models.
I think in New York we had respect and we would pretty much fill up the places where we went, but I never got the sense that we really were Number 1 here in New York among the Latin crowds.
So that when I came to New York again, it was, I'm not too sure right now, but it was '74 or '75. I went to Miami in '74 and then I came to New York, I think, at the end of '74.
Yes, I was going to law school and it was closed in '69.
Anywhere you had a commerce center, you had a lot of music.
And music was a very important part of our lives. The radio was on all day.
They're making a ton of money, and no one is getting a nickel.
It doesn't make sense for me to be a lawyer in a place where there is no law.
And, he'd seen me in Panama, and he talked about maybe doing something in New York so I hooked it up when I came here and I recorded in 1969 my first album with Pete Rodriguez.
We had something to say. Whenever we played, people didn't dance, they listened.
What is interesting in this is the exchange of music that occurred between New Orleans and Cuba, I mean, they had ferries that would go from one port to another.
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