Apparently, my personal NaBloPoMo theme is: “Revealing my Embarrassing Musical Taste.” So, here goes…
I don’t remember how this topic came up tonight at dinner, but Laurel mentioned José Luis Rodríguez, a Venezuelan singer I hadn’t thought about in years.
In the early 80s, I was an exchange student in Venezuela for about a month. I lived with a Venezuelan family in the city of Barquisimeto, the capital city of the state of Lara.
While there, my Venezuelan “sister” (Graciela) and most of her girlfriends were swooning over Jose Luis. Her room had two giant posters of him; he had that sort of Latin George Hamilton look: deep tan, thick and wavy hair, and wide, vampire-like shirt collars.
In Venezuela in the 80s, families held big parties usually at least once a week. Everyone was invited, from the yougest kids to the great grandparents. Nearly everyone danced the “salsa,” and, though they played a lot of American music (Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration” was played at every party I attended that month), you can bet Jose Luis was a musical staple.
I didn’t have a lot of room in my suitcase for souvenirs from my trip, but I did bring home two special things: a quatro (the national instrument of Venezuela) and a Jose Luis album.
When we looked up his music tonight, after not listening to him for at least a decade (probably more), I was happily surprised to find him on iTunes. We listened to just the first few seconds of one song and we laughed. How could we possibly have listened to that music?! As sappy and poppy as it is, we still remember every note, and most of the words, even though we’re still not sure what he’s singing about.
Here, for your listening pleasure is the title track of that album, Atrévete.
Okay, now I’ve humiliated myself in front of you. What are your musical guilty pleasures?