Posts tagged: Hispanic / Latino Heritage Month

Discover the voice of Graciela Párraga this Hispanic Heritage Month

By , September 27, 2019 12:17 pm

2019-hispanic-heritage-month-graciela-paraga-mainIn celebration of Hispanic Heritage month, we wanted to share one of several recordings within our hispanic/latin american collection of recordings. Last year we highlighted Xavier Cugat, as an important artist who shaped the world of Latin music into what it is today.

This year we’d like to highlight the voice of Graciela Párraga and composer Vicente Gómez. Both of whom are featured on the album Blood and Sand within the Recorded Sound Archives Hispanic/Latin American collection.

Very little can be found about Graciela Párraga other than what can be found on the jacket of this album. Graciela Párraga was born in Havana, Cuba.  Although it is mentioned that she gained noterity and fame by singing to a large group of women prisoners within a dentention center inside Cuba where she received tons of offers to sing professionally, all of which she refused. It goes on to say her professional singing career began shortly back in 1937 with her arrival in New York.

She went on to sing at several hotels also working at the East Side night club La Rue for two years. Appearing in radio, Miss Párraga went on to sing on the Rudy Vallee Show of which several transcriptions were made and were broadcast throughout all 21 Latin American Republics at the time. In the 1938 issue of Stage Magazine, Miss Párraga was one of the Palm Award winners for her work while at La Rue.

She went on to perform at Hotel Berkeley in London and during her stay in England, where she performed twice weekly for Television by the British Broadcasting Company.  She was even invited to sign for her Royal Highness and the Ex-Queen of Spain at a garden party given by the Duke of Alba.

Upon returning to the United States, Miss Párraga was invited to sing at a Reception Ball given by the Cuban Embassy in honor of Colonel Fugencia Batista, during his good-will visit to the United States. And on one of her return trips to Cuba, Miss Párraga  was appointed Chancellor to the Consulate General of Cuba in New York and Honorary Artistic delegate for the promotion and appreciation of Cuban music in the United States and Europe.

In this position she went on to give a series of concerts throughout the United States in leading colleges such as Vassar, Columbia University, Princeton and more.

You can hear the voice of Graciela Párraga by clicking here along with Vicente Gómez playing guitar on the Blood and Sand soundtrack he composed himself prior to retiring to compose and teach.

This is just one of over over 180 Latin American recordings for you to listen to. Click here to view collection.

Please note, due to copyright some items may only be available as a 45 second snippet.

If you are a Researcher or Educator in need of full access to these recordings, click here.

3 Interesting Facts about Xavier Cugat! – Celebrating Hispanic / Latino Heritage Month

By , October 2, 2018 12:44 pm
Photo of Xavier Cugat. This work is from the William P. Gottlieb collection at the Library of Congress.

Photo of Xavier Cugat. This work is from the William P. Gottlieb collection at the Library of Congress.

As part of Hispanic / Latino Heritage month, we’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to some important artists who shaped the world of Latin music into what it is today. Today we would like to highlight Xavier Cugat. Born January 1, 1900 in Catalonia, Spain, his family had bigger plans venturing first to Cuba when he was five. In Cuba, this is where Xavier picked up the violin training as a classical violinist he went on to play with the Orchestra of the Teatro Nacional in Havana. Xavier trained further in Paris and Berlin and in 1915, his family boarded the SS Havana en route to New York City where Cugat went on to train before serving five years as a violinist appearing in recitals with Erinco Caruso. Cugat went on to lead the resident orchestra at the Waldorf-Astoria before and after World War II before venturing out west to Los Angeles.

Here are 3 interesting facts about Xavier Cugat, you may or may not know about him.

 

Three interesting facts about Xavier Cugat!

1. He was a classically trained violinist who conducted with his bow, and can be seen in quite a few films waving his violin bow. Below is an animated gif showcasing Xavier Cugat in Stage Door Canteen waving his bow as he conducts his orchestra. You can watch the clip below from Stage Door Canteen, 1943 where Xavier Cugat can be seen conducting with his bow at 1:16.

via GIPHY

2. Xavier was known as the Rhumba King and is credited with pushing Latino music and dance into popularity and best-known for having popularized the rumba in the United States during the 1930s.

He and his band, the Gigolos, were featured in several popular Hollywood movies in the 1940s and 1950s. They introduced many popular Latin American rhythms to North American audiences and toured extensively every year, playing tangos, rumbas and congas.

“Under the influence of tropical skies and a couple of daiquiris, people developed a taste for my Latin American style of music,” he once said.

3. Xavier went on to work for the Los Angeles Times as a cartoonist. Not a huge stretch, considering art seemed to run in the family. His older brother Francis Cugat worked as a portrait, poster, book jacket artist and set designer.  He is known for his 1925 cover of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Cugat himself can be seen in a few films drawing his caricatures prior to or during a performance.

via GIPHY

Here at the Recorded Sound Archives, we have over 30 recordings by Cugat and several of this bands. To listen to more music by Cugat, click here.

In celebration of Hispanic / Latino Heritage month, we have digitized over 180 Latin American recordings for you to listen to. Click here to view collection.

Please note, due to copyright some items may only be available as a 45 second snippet.

If you are a Researcher or Educator in need of full access to these recordings, click here.

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