SJZ Summer Fest 2017

 

 

SJZ Summer Fest Recap Video featuring photos from the festival and song (Somos El Son De La Calle by Braulio Barrera).

The only thing greater than experiencing the joy of a great live performance is doing so amongst an appreciative audience composed of other great music lovers. And it’s in that moment you realize festivals like the San Jose Summer Jazz Fest are really about music fans. Fans treated to so much hidden and diverse talents. Fans who get it.

This year’s Fest featured such an eclectic mix of old school favorites, world music, traditional genres like bebop and salsa, as well as a host of fresh new talent from around the world.
Silicon Valley Latino was thrilled to participate in this musical whirlwind and truly enjoyed seeing so many cultura ambassadors doing the same.

The music was rich, the food was wonderful and the weekend weather was perfect as thousands of attendees strolled the streets of downtown San Jose this past weekend.
SJZ is more than a jazz festival, it’s a cultural experience. Produced by jazz fans, for jazz fans. The love for music was prevalent and palatable on all stages. The experience of not just the music, but the stories behind the music. The rich history behind the artist’s interpretation of what we pool together and call jazz. Most settings had an element of intimacy and allowed the artist to talk and share their tales in such a refreshing format. These are the things that make San Jose Jazz Fest so unique and inviting. The artists were giving of their talents and the audience was receptive.

This widely diverse and engaging mix of musicians and audience couldn’t help but remind us how blessed we are to live in a place that champions the talent without judgments of race or background or political differences. The world could learn great lessons taught in the hearts and minds of these talented musicians. Voices that cut through division and sound the rhythm of unity and passion. Festivals like this cut through the thing that make us different, and celebrates those differences in the most artistic way. The voice and expression of love…for all.

It’s impossible to catch all the acts over the three day event, but SVL was in full force catching the sparks flying off stages all over downtown San Jo. The first Friday Night I was awestruck by the tightest band I think I’ve ever seen in my life. No not George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. Although they were a different brand indeed, loose, funky and fun. It gave the audience an opportunity to shake off the sillys and just vibe to that crazy three ring circus they bring to the stage. No, the real magic came from opener Orgóne. A soulful, bad ass group of young LA funksters that brought a joy and energy to opening night that was just right. Cool but accessible. Sexy and inviting and delivered to perfection. Look out for this band. They were absolutely amazing.

Late night Friday we hung out with our favorite crazy soul sister Ginetta Minichielio from New York who had us in stitches at The Jade Leaf. She is a super spirited and talented pocket trumpet player. Just a joy. Imagine Miles Davis meets Amy Winehouse. Beautiful stuff.

The warm Saturday sun saw a massive crowd dancing through the maze of music and energy bouncing from the Salsa stage to cool little jams at the blues/big easy stage and down at Café Stritch. The evening was capped off on the main stage with Chris Botti who brought an entire orchestra and by finale had pared down to a single piano. And at every turn lent his unique voice to each movement. A dazzling and moving production.

Sunday stand outs included Cyrille Aimée and Daymé Arocena. Both bringing unbelievable vocal stylings to the very charming Hammer Theatre.
Overall, the weekend left our souls stirred and our feet on fire. But we are so grateful to have this amazing festival as part of our wonderfully diverse Silicon Valley. It’s truly refreshing to know that we live in a part of the world that enjoys the various flavors and textures of our diversity, it all starts with an inclination towards an inclusive frame of mind. We’re optimistic about seeing this rich tradition continue to thrive and grow in our beautiful and transcending downtown.

28th Annual Summer Jazz Fest & A Farewell to Mr. Latin Jazz

 

For the past 28 years, the San José Jazz Summer Fest has brought a vibrant and exciting music festival to the San José community. What started out as a small party with a rather limited budget and mostly conventional jazz acts has now evolved into one of the most anticipated and comprehensive three-day jazz festivals going. One of the principal collaborators in shepherding the growth of the festival over the past thirteen years has been Board Chair Emeritus Arturo Riera, also known as Mr. Latin Jazz.

Riera is and has been a champion in the Latin Jazz movement for what seems to be a life time and that is what attracted him to San José Jazz over thirteen years ago. During his tenure with SJZ, he has been the Latin Curator of the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest. Through this role, he has spearheaded the growth of the number of Latin acts to twenty throughout the festival. You’ll be hard pressed to find another festival that offers close to twenty diverse and exciting acts in a three-day span. Maestro Riera has been active in cultivating key relationships for SJZ as well as securing key grants with the Packard and Castellano Family Foundations. His reach and influence have been an integral part of San José Jazz. So, if you see Mr. Latin Jazz this weekend at Summer Fest you may want to say “thanks” for his contributions the festival as this appears to be his last year with SJZ.

As for the Latin acts we are anticipating at this year’s festival, they include our friend Oscar Hernandez and Alma Libre, Bay Area Salsa All-Stars featuring Jimmy Bosch: A Tribute to “El Timbalero” Louie Romero, Angelique Kidjo’s Tribute to Salsa with Pedrito Martinez, Lily Hernandez Orquestra featuring Calixto Oviedo, Eddie Gomez & Jimmy Cobb and of course the Pacific Mambo Orchestra.

Silicon Valley Latino and our community also appreciates the tireless work the San José Jazz family (SJZ Board, staff and volunteers) dedicates to this exceptional festival each year. Additionally, we would also like to thank and acknowledge the contributions from our Silicon Valley Latino Cultura Ambassadors and SVL Honorees such as Tommy Aguilar, Mia Perez and of course the Castellano Family Foundation. We look forward to seeing you this weekend!

If you attend the festival go ahead and tag us (twitter @SVLatino/Instagram#SVLatino) to have your photos highlighted #SVLatino

 

2017 College Declaration Day – Call for Nominations

 

Silicon Valley Latino is delighted to announce its First Annual Declaration Day.

Declaration Day will be a special event where we will pay tribute to select high school graduates that will be entering top tier schools the fall of 2017.

At this time, we ask our community to submit nominations for this special and inaugural event that will recognize some of our special local graduates.

In order to submit a nomination fill out the following google form: Submission Form

• Name of Student
• Contact Information (phone number and email address)
• Nominees Compelling Story  (Essay 350-500 words)
• GPA (weighted and unweighted)
• University accepted and entering in the fall of 2017

We look forward to receiving your nominations!

Daniela Cervantes: HHF Ignite Program Fellow & SVL Intern

 

 

Daniela Cervantes is a 17-year-old incoming freshman at the University of California, Berkeley. She was born in Salinas, California and grew up in Greenfield, California where she attended Greenfield High School and graduated at the top of her class. Growing up in an underserved, low-income community, Daniela was fueled by her parents’ experiences as blue collar workers and Oaxacan heritage in order to strive for academic success.

Daniela distinguished herself as a leader in her school and agricultural hometown by serving as President of her student body during her 8th grade, freshman, and sophomore years, and then serving as Associated Student Body President as a senior. Through these roles Daniela ensured that organizing, planning, and executing activities such as Homecoming Week, rallies, and Prom met her class and school’s needs. Additionally, she co-founded her school’s first Gay-Straight Alliance to advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusion in a generally intolerant community. Daniela is especially proud to have impacted her community as founder and President of her class’ French Club which fundraised, planned, and executed a trip to France for herself and eight other low-income classmates who had been rigorously studying the language for four years.

Through her extensive leadership positions and dedication to volunteering with her local outreach organizations, Daniela’s senior year of high school was filled with college acceptances to New York University, UCLA, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, and early admission to UC Berkeley, along with Berkeley’s most prestigious merit-based Regents and Chancellor’s scholarship.

Furthermore, Daniela was awarded the Coca Cola Scholarship of $20,000, which went to only 150 students in the United States out of 86,000 applicants, as well as the Youth Award in Community Service from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation.

Daniela is truly passionate about activism and advocacy for the representation and success of under-served and underrepresented groups such as communities of color, women’s and LGBT rights. She’s currently at a stage in her life where she can see herself as a politician, cinematographer, marketing executive, film producer, or a non-profit CEO. Daniela is looking forward to taking advantage of all the opportunities at UC Berkeley and beyond to fulfill her goals and create a meaningful impact in the world.

We are delighted that Daniela’s passion, vision and goals align so well with those of Silicon Valley Latino. We also believe her future is full of promise and are optimistic that she will not only accomplish her goals but exceed expectations. Silicon Valley Latino is happy to have her as an intern through the Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s Ignite Program and we’ll do everything to support her success. Adelante!

 

 

Pioneer Giju John & his Latin-Indian fusion music

 

Fusion music has evolved over the past few decades, bringing the characteristic elements of different regional music styles together in a harmonic way. This has also led to the formation of new music styles all together – Latin-Jazz, Mambo, Cha-cha-cha etc. There are numerous fusion styles in the global music scene now, but you may not have heard much about Latin-Indian fusion. And chances are also less that you are familiar with singer-songwriter named Giju John (unless you were in the competitive Salsa scene in Americas during the late 2000s).

SVL Amigo, Giju John, is one of the pioneers in the Latin-Indian fusion who debuted in the world music stage in 2007 with the first ever Indian-Salsa track. And since then he has continued to push this genre, through his work as an independent artist. There are other musicians who have produced notable music in the Latin-Indian style – primarily focusing on the Spanish guitar and Tabla tones – but what makes Giju’s work different from the rest is that he has taken the popular Latin dance-music genres – Salsa, Cha-cha-cha, Bachata – and created a unique style that blends in specific Indian elements while maintaining the essence of the original.
His debut album, released in 2007, ‘Rang Rangeeli Yeh Duniya’ (This Vibrant world) featured the first Indian-Salsa track which highlighted this creative balance, along with a music video that showcased an impressive and befitting Salsa choreography. Since then he has produced several tracks in his distinctive take on the Latin-Indian fusion genre and now for his latest work, he has chosen one of the most popular Latin music styles currently out there – Bachata. By bringing in Santur – an Indian string instrument – in place of the traditional lead guitar, along with a singing style influenced by his Indian classical training, Giju is introducing a uniquely soulful style called ‘Bachata Indu’.

For this album, Giju has teamed up with Grammy winning producer and director of the renowned Pacific Mambo Orchestra, Christian Tumalan. Together they have created a beautiful balance that at once brings out the romantic and sensual feel of Bachata while also highlights Santur fitting perfectly into its simple yet wholesome orchestration. Bachata Indu is also Giju’s first all-Spanish work, with plenty of guidance and help from Christian on the lyrics and diction. The album features three original tracks that have a dreamy-romantic and upbeat feel. The listeners would be pleasantly surprised to hear some non-traditional tones layered in the orchestration.

Originally from a small state in India called Kerala and growing up there till he was 23, Giju had gotten training in Indian Classical music and dance at a very young age. He used to perform in music bands during his school-college days, something which he pursued after he migrated to US 19 years ago for Graduate studies. It was in 2000, after he moved to Silicon Valley in California, that he got introduced to Latin music – in the form of Salsa. He happened to walk into local Salsa club randomly on a Friday night and it was pretty much love-at-first-sight for him. He started taking Salsa lessons the very next week and soon enough joined Salsamania Dance company, a newly formed dance company in 2000 which went on to become one of the top-rated Salsa teams in the world. Giju pursued Salsa professionally for over a decade as a dancer, instructor and choreographer with Salsamania and his own company, Beyond Dreamz Entertainment. It was during this time the idea of ‘Latin-Indian’ fusion dawned on him. Based on his exposure and expertise in the Indian and the Latin music/dance styles, he wanted to introduce specific Indian elements into the Latin dance-music styles without diluting its true essence. Purists may have a different opinion on it, but his work has resonated with thousands of music enthusiasts around the world.

About his latest work Bachata Indu, Giju says “As an enthusiast of Indian and Latin music styles, my intention with this fusion genre was to celebrate the differences in these two rich and vibrant cultures and create a sound that’s unique and soulful. I believe, this is the true essence of fusion music that transcends language barriers”. SVL got a pre-release copy of Bachata Indu, and after listening to the tracks, we are absolutely confident that these tracks can definitely bring the Latin-Indian genre, as well this gifted artist, into the mainstream.

 

‘Bachata Indu’ is releasing on June 8th. You can order it HERE.

You can check out some of Giju’s Latin-Indian fusion tracks here:

First Indian Salsa

First Indian Cha-cha-cha

First Indian Bachata

 

Giju’s official website is www.gijujohn.com and his FB music page is https://www.facebook.com/GIJU-133229957073/ .

Some of the artists that Giju is inspired by includes Tito Puente, A R Rahman, Aventura, Alfredo de la Fé and Prince Royce.

 

Miguel Garcia – SVL Jr. Cultura Ambassador

 

Silicon Valley Latino is excited to introduce our Jr. Cultura Ambassador program, which is focused on featuring stellar high school students. We are delighted to introduce our first Jr. Cultura Ambassador, Miguel Garcia.  Miguel is a junior at Cristo Rey High School in San Jose, California and an intern at Cisco. Through his internship, Miguel works in the IT department for Katty Coulson, IT Director (Regional IT Leader for Americas) where he has been doing an outstanding job on various projects.

Besides being focused on achieving his academic goals by taking AP courses, Miguel enjoys playing on the varsity soccer team and next year he plans to join the volleyball team.  In addition to academics and sport, Miguel has taken a deep interest in photography and video editing and plans to pursue a career in this field in the future. Miguel also enjoys working on bicycles and when he’s not fixing them he enjoys riding throughout San Jose. He also derives much satisfaction from working in landscaping with his father on a weekly basis.

We’ve also received several reports that Miguel is a great networker and enjoys meeting people from various backgrounds and learning about their journeys so don’t be surprised to see him at one of our networking events in the near future. This summer Miguel will be attending the Saints and Scholars program in Indiana at the Holy Cross College.  We will certainly keep an eye on Miguel and his up and coming senior year at Cristo Rey.

Interested in becoming an SVL Cultura Ambassador?  Reach out to us so that we can give you all the details on joining this growing community of professional latin@s.  email us info@svlatino.com

HITEC Making Great Strides – Pushing Up and Pulling Up

 

HITEC is the Hispanic IT Executive Council and one of the most relevant and impactful organizations in the country as they Push Up and Pull Up their members and the communities they engage in. It was founded to increase Hispanic representation in the diversity-challenged IT industry.  HITEC is also a premier global executive leadership organization of senior business and IT executives who have built outstanding careers in information technology.  Its premiere network spans the Americas and is focused on building stronger technology and executive leaders, leadership teams, corporations, and role models in a rapidly changing, flatter, and information technology centric world. These global leaders include executives leading Global 1000 corporations while others lead some of the largest Hispanic-owned IT firms across the Americas.  HITEC enables business and professional growth for its members and fills the executive pipeline with the next generation of Hispanic IT leaders.

This has all been made primarily possible through the vision and leadership of Andre Arbalaez (President) and Alberto Yepez (Chairman) as well as through the dedication and support from numerous distinguished Board of Directors many of which work for Silicon Valley High Tech companies. In addition to having excellent leadership awards and recognition events in markets like New York, DC, Miami and Silicon Valley (soon also in Dallas and Guadalajara, Mexico) they also offer their members a comprehensive emerging executive program. Most recently they’ve launched the HITEC Foundation that will provide scholarships to Latino students who are interested in pursing a STEM degree.

Silicon Valley Latino salutes the great work this organization has accomplished and continues to lead. We are also proud to note that many of our Silicon Valley Latino Cultura Ambassadors (Guillermo Diaz Jr, Ileana Rivera, Ramon Baez, Juan Carlos Gutierrez) have taken an active part in propelling HITEC to new heights while others (Pepe Gomez, Anne-Marie Olholm-Azzi, Jorge Titinger to name a few)  have been behind the scenes.

Once again, we congratulate and salute HITEC and look forward to collaborating with this great organization again in the future.

Adelante!

In The Making – The Ivan Reyes Story

Every once in a while we are fortunate enough to see an extraordinary talent unfold before our eyes. Well, fortunately for some of us in the Bay Area we have been able to witness the commitment, drive and passion of Ivan Reyes transform into the evolution of a true musician, an inspirational role model, a talented music producer and a visionary entrepreneur. Throughout his journey, Ivan has been committed to helping under-served youth through his work at places like the Boys and Girls Club and the Movimiento De Arte y Cultura Latino Americana MACLA.

Ivan is an accomplished musician and a truly talented music engineer and producer.  In addition, he possesses both solid non-profit experience and that of the commercial recording industry. Through his leadership and passion, many creative arts organization and entertainment companies/artists have benefited.

Ivan’s latest designs are two unique companies known as TempLo and Escena. TempLo is a team composed of talented music producers out of the San Francisco Bay Area innovating music production with their versatile skill sets. Beyond the music, TempLo helps musicians establish a brand within the music industry. Escena encompasses the multi-media and visual arts to deliver premier photography products and video services in the Bay Area.

His latest project, Untamed,  is co-produced with The BeatPushers. The album consists of 8 songs featuring different singers from around the states and sounds like a party!

We invite you to enjoy this short video featuring “In the making – Ivan Reyes”

 

 

 

Cultura Ambassador Diana Albarrán featured in Vanity Fair

 

“In Celebration of the Release of the Movie Hidden Figures,Vanity Fair Studios Profiles Notable and Diverse Figures in S.T.E.M.”

And highlighted is, Cultura Ambassador and friend, Diana Albarrán Chicas among these wonderful women!

 

Latinx Leader Laura Gomez lands 2MM for Startup!

Since landing an investment of $2MM in her startup, Cultura Ambassador & Advisory Board member of SVLatino Laura I. Gómez has been interviewed by many but this interview with CNN is her most entertaining in a while.

Share your thoughts on this success story here or via our social media platforms