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

SVL Inspire Higher Tour at Luis Valdez Leadership Academy

 

This Inspire Higher Tour continues with stops at the Luis Valdez Leadership Academy and Cristo Rey one more time. We were delighted to feature Pepe Gomez, Jess Ruval, Ivan Reyes, Veronica Cedillos, Marcela Antonia Denniston and Herminia Estrella Ojeda during these past two stops. They shared their journeys filled with challenges, failures, lessons learned and successes. The most rewarding aspect of this program is when these youth envision themselves as successful professionals and leaders because journeys shared by our Cultura Ambassadors.

Next up is ACE Charter High School!

#InspireHigherTour

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

SVL Inspire Higher Tour Luis Valdez Leadership Academy

This Inspire Higher Tour continues with stops at the Luis Valdez Leadership Academy and Cristo Rey one more time. We were delighted to feature Pepe Gomez, Jess Ruval, Ivan Reyes, Veronica Cedillos, Marcela Antonia Denniston and Herminia Estrella Ojeda during these past two stops.

The Women and Men In The Arena

 

Regrettably for generations the narrative around the Latino community has strategically been a negative one, and most recently it has taken an even darker tone. However, the Internet and the various platforms that have emerged in the last decade have now allowed a more even playing field. We now have the opportunity to be part of the narrative, in fact, we can now write our own narrative.  We now write a narrative that is based on facts, on our own experiences, our very real experience. Furthermore, documenting these experiences allows us to capture the way we contribute and add value to society and in doing so we educate ourselves and the mainstream about who we are, what we do and how we do it.

 

In our latest video project, The Women and Men In The Arena, we’ve taken Roosevelt’s epic passage from his 1910 speech, Citizenship In A Republic, and have remixed it to pay tribute to some of the men and women who have devoted themselves to strive valiantly towards worthy causes. To those women and men in the arena, who despite your early challenges were able to succeed, we applaud you for your perseverance, tenacity, vision, and aspiration to achieve more than was ever expected. We thank you for having the audacity to envision a different reality, a better reality. We applaud you for daring greatly.

Because of the vision, commitment, leadership and faith in our community by these men and women, our society benefits from organizations like the National Council of La Raza, the Latino Community Foundation, Hispanics in Philanthropy, the Castellano Family Foundation, the Mexican Heritage Corporation, the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, Sacred Heart Nativity Schools, the Small Business Administration, the Avalos Foundation, Conexion, Latino Start-up Alliance, Hispanic in IT Executive Council and LISTAS to name a few.

It is with great pleasure that we release this video as we approach May 1st’s “Day Without An Immigrant” and it is our hope that as you choose to participate in these marches that you are fueled with more pride about who you are, what you stand for, and what you represent.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”


We look forward to producing more videos that will feature more of the countless leaders from our community who strive valiantly, stay tuned.

 

 

Marcela Denniston – SVL Cultura Ambassador

 

Marcela Denniston is a Brazilian American living in California. Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil Marcela moved to New Jersey, United States with her mother at the age of 4.  Marcela is the first person in her immediate family to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in Computer Information Systems and an MBA: International Business.

At 17, she joined the US Navy where she began her career in Cyber Operations and Intelligence. During her military service, she received several medals, including a Joint Service Commendation Medal and a Navy and Marine Corp Achievement Medal for her work in the Navy Cyber Defense Operations Center and the National Security Agency.  After leaving the Navy, Marcela worked in several consulting roles, nationally and internationally supporting the growth and development of Cyber Security Operations and Products. Today, Marcela works as a cyber security consultant for government organizations, start-ups and venture capital firms.

Outside of work, Marcela is a passionate social activist supporting equality and inclusion for minority groups worldwide. She is an active member of several organizations focused on establishing meaningful connections between LATAM entrepreneurs and US investors including the Latino Start Up Alliance and BayBrazil. Marcela also participates in empowerment and education of STEM careers for young females through Girls Can Hack and IGNITE Worldwide.

Marcela is also a community contributor; she is a volunteer soccer coach for the American Youth Soccer Association as a girls U10 soccer coach. This opportunity allows her to help young girls build confidence and camaraderie with each other. Her team won the 2016 Hirschel Cup for the U10 girls age group.

Marcela currently lives in Foster City, CA with her husband and two daughters and hopes to continue her contributions to the Latino and female community through an initiative to empower, encourage and educate Latinas in technology and engineering fields called Poderosa. Marcela envisions her efforts will create a movement of young girls looking to pursue careers in technology fields and ultimately change the norm for women’s equality in business.

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 Tiq Chapa recognized by Voto Latino

We at Silicon Valley Latino are proud and encouraged with the work that Voto Latino leads for our community through its various initiatives  and Mission statement as a pioneering civic media organization that seeks to transform America by recognizing Latinos’ innate leadership.  They have recognized & awarded, through their “VL Innovators” video, Cultura Ambassador, Eutiquio “Tiq” Chapa for his Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative.

Tiq is the epitome of what it is to be a Cultura Ambassador. He along with the rest of his colleagues Dr. Jerry Porras (SVL Trail Blazer) and Remy Arteaga are doing an outstanding job in leading the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative and we look forward to sharing their success stories in the near future.

Tiq keep up the great work, we are very proud of you and delighted to support your efforts in empowering our entrepreneurship community.

Adelante!

 

About LBAN:

In 2012, Professor Jerry Porras and a group of Stanford Alums came together to form a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, the Latino Business Action Network (LBAN), focused on making America stronger through LBAN funded Latino research and education impact programs at Stanford University.

One Step Forward…Two Steps Back by Cultura Ambassador Maria Hernandez, PhD

 

The events of this past week weigh heavily on many of us—particularly the Latin@ professionals who dedicate their lives to advancing diverse and inclusive workplace environments. As if the national headlines are not enough, this month’s Harvard Business Review has published a series of articles with titles that suggest diversity training has not worked during the past 30 years—not quite a true depiction of the article’s content but sensational titles do help sell even in academia!   There is no question that the nation has made much progress in the past 40 years.  But clearly we just experienced the proverbial one step forward, two steps back.

For the better part of the past 25 years, I have had the opportunity to be invited into organizations that want to recruit, engage and advance diverse employees or to develop strategies to better compete for diverse consumer markets or serve diverse constituents. There are successes but no quick fixes.   Based on my experience, there are two key factors that I look for as a sign of potential success.   Executives who demonstrate a strong level of self awareness is key.  Since the majority of senior executives are white males, I look for that leader’s ability to be aware of their personal impact on others.  Do they understand that being a white male has an impact on their views, their leadership, and their own cultural reference point as they navigate their work life?  At some point the conversation of unconscious bias and its corollary of privilege lets me know if there is capacity for psychological insight necessary for authentic conversations.  This personal awareness coupled with clear data that points to how the organization is missing opportunities is the first step in moving forward.

One of the tools that many D/I professionals have pointed to is Implicit Association Test, which is useful to outline unconscious bias.   The harder construct to appreciate is privilege.  The Whiteness Project recently emerged as a resource for this discussion.  Take a moment to watch a few of these short statements. I’m sure you will find these remarkable young people describe how they have privilege with painful clarity.  They are not all men and not all white.  Privilege comes in different forms in our society despite our strong belief that we live in a meritocracy.  There is no more cherished value than a belief that each of us gets where we are by our own effort.  The possibility that gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or skin color serves to either help or hinder our advancement in the nation is the hardest conversation.  It’s soothing to see the next generation may be ready to see this in clearer focus.

The next step is to introduce the idea that cultural humility requires that we look for ways to understand and see situations as others see them.  Empathy is the new gold standard for leaders.  The national conversations surrounding affirmative action, equality and equity are much easier to have when leaders can see the situations through diverse perspectives.  And as the global economy continues to dominate the financial success of multinational companies, the ability to be effective in other countries cannot happen if we think of American culture as synonymous with human nature.  There are many ways in which people across the globe see the world and we all need to appreciate those truths determine the context in which companies engage in a region’s market.

Once these conversations about self-awareness and cultural humility take place, the best news I can share with an executive is that the behaviors most associated with inclusive leaders across the globe can be learned.  The ability to navigate multiple cultures is a skill.  The ability to engage in authentic dialogue with a person different from yourself is a skill.   This week’s events call upon all of us to harness these skills and take two steps forward.

 

Cultura Ambassador Lisa Morales-Hellebo tech founder way ahead of all of us!

Cultura Ambassador Lisa Morales-Hellebo is highlighted via Verizon for being a tech finder that is way ahead of all of us!

Learn more about Lisa via this two part series that Verizon has put out.

How Advertising is Evolving: From “In Your Face Ads” to Sponsored Experiences

how-advertising-is-evolving_700x400

What is a sponsored experience?
One of the examples that comes to mind from the “real” world, is the Sephora makeup session: When a customer walks into the store to get a free makeup session using the products from brands Sephora want to promote, that’s a sponsored experience.

How can we create sponsored experiences in the mobile world?
Advertising needs to evolve. Smartphone screens are very small (even though they have grown into phablets), and display ads take too much of that screen real estate. Hersh Choksi, VP Products & Strategy at Flightly, an exclusive Twitter advertising partner, agrees: “Mobile has been much faster to adopt native advertising, which aligns more with the idea of a sponsored experience rather than an interruptive ad.”

In today’s digital world, we see a shift towards convenience and instant gratification. Sponsored experiences can be part of this mobile content, and would provide users a convenient experience on their smartphones without having to leave the mobile app or browser experience they are currently in. So how can we provide meaningful experiences for brands that relate with users?

Here are some examples and use cases for sponsored experiences in the mobile world:

1. Meeting Locations
Many of us use our smartphones to coordinate when and where we are going to meet with colleagues and friends. When we are searching for that cool restaurant or bar, wouldn’t it make sense for either the location apps or restaurants themselves to pay for placement right there, at your fingertips?

2. Transportation
Once we decide on the place and time, we need to get there! Why couldn’t there be a sponsored transportation experience at this time to take an Uber or a Lyft? This could be sponsored or subsidized by the transportation company, or for the transportation company could pay for the opportunity to surface at this time in the user’s screen.

3. Music for Fitness
Let’s assume you are one of those people that track their physical activity while exercising; using apps to track your ride or map your run, etc. Let’s also assume you like to listen to some music to “pump you up” and energize you while exercising. Today you need to open your fitness apps and then go and open another music app to find that music. What if Pandora or Spotify would offer you a sponsored “Work out music” option within the fitness app itself?

I wanted to show you through the examples above how sponsored experiences can be meaningful to users and not be considered interruptive.

How would you prefer to have Sponsored Ads served up to you?