Friday, May 30, 2008

Manuel Martinez Olivera "El Llanero" y "Los Afortunados" N.Y.C. Rumba 1985

Born: 1930 La Habana, Cuba
Died: Jan. 29th 2010, N.Y.C.
*** Iba ayé ba yé t'orún ***

An important figure in the post 1980 and well into the 1990's N.Y.C. Cuban rumba scene, Manuel Martinez Olivera known as "El Llanero" or simply Manolo, came to the U.S. from La Habana via the mass exodus out from the Port of Mariel in Cuba that took place in 1980.
Manuel Martinez Olivera was the person responsible for creating the term "Guarapachangueo", as applied to a particular style of Cuban rumba first created in 1975- ‘76.

He quickly became a respected singer within the N.Y.C. rumba scene, specifically in the Sunday rumbas that had been taking place in Central Park since the early 1970's.

In the N.Y.C. Central Park Rumba "after 1980", Manuel Martinez Olivera was one of the first to "sing and phrase correctly within the rumba Clavés musical time signature"...
something that the "Newyorican" & "African American" rumberos and drummers were unaccustomed to "pre 1980".

(Many other changes took place during the "post 1980" time period, two important other
changes being placing the Clavé on the "other side" of the 'Tres Dos' drum rhythm & vice versa, as well as playing the 'Quinto' drum as to "mark/marcado" the dancer as opossed to playing 'Quinto' and making it/phrasing it to come out sounding like a timbale solo.)

During the mid 1980's a rumba group formed in N.Y.C. and was called "Los Afortunados".
Manuel Martinez Olivera was the principal lead singer. The band also included several others that I can remember: 'Paula Balin', Gina Schwartz & Elio "Yeyito" Flores singing coro, as well as Felix D. Sanabria (Quinto & Bata) and Abraham "Abe" Rodriguez (second voice), both respected drummers/rumberos. (Both to later play with and become musical disciples of the Orlando "Puntilla" Rios group.

Manuel Martinez Olivera, a.k.a. "El Llanero" never attained the "celebrity/notoriety" of a "Puntilla" or a Pedro Pablo Martinez, however.... "El Llanero" became and remains a much loved and respected figure in the history of the N.Y.C. rumba scene.

In 1985 a studio recording with 12 songs was done by Manuel Martinez Olivera y Los Afortunados, but never commercially released. These are from that recording session.

Manuel Martínez Olivera
Felix Sanabria - Dir.
Abe Rodríguez
Rocky Causcut
Ricky Soler
Mirta Masonet
Susan Sanabria
Paula Ballan
Junito Martínez

1. Los Afortunados
Manuel Martinez Olivera: 
vocal and two drums

2. Habana
Manuel Martinez Olivera: lead vocal.
Abraham "Abe" Rodriguez: 2nd voice.

5. Ya No Hay Sol
Manuel Martinez Olivera: lead vocal.
Abraham Rodriguez: 2nd voice.

6. Ay Nena!
Manuel Martinez Olivera: lead vocal.
Abraham "Abe" Rodriguez: 2nd voice

7. La Loma De Belen
Abraham "Abe" Rodriguez: lead vocal.
Manuel Martinez Olivera & Abraham Rodriguez: coro

8. Beny Moré
Manuel Martinez Olivera: lead vocal.
Abraham "Abe" Rodriguez: 2nd voice.

10. Imbalayé
Manuel Martinez Olivera: lead vocal.
Abraham "Abe" Rodriguez: 2nd voice.

11. Igual Como Mabo D' Oriente
Manuel Martinez Olivera: vocal

Unfortunately, the later years did not fare well for Manolo as he had to enter a "home for the aged and infirm" in the Bronx, N.Y.
A photo of my friend Tito Sandoval a great N.Y.C. rumbero, dance teacher and drummer taken during a visit to him.

Tito Sandoval visiting Manolo and 
playing rumba for him through an Ipod.

Drummers left to right:

Cecil Carter: Tumbadora. R.I.P. Iba ayé ba yé t'orún
Elio "Yeyito" Flores, Tres dos.
"Pablito de Mariel"
: Quinto.

Manuel Martinez and Abraham "Abe" Rodriguez singing right side.
Tito Sandoval in red shirt.
My father
playing Chekeré.
Iba ayé ba yé t'orún

Manolo in Central Park, N.Y.C.
Photos from a video I shot.

Cantando junto con "Tao La Onda"

"El Llanero"
Manuel Martinez Olivera
Born: Jan. 1, 1930 La Habana, Cuba
Died: Jan. 29th, 2010, N.Y.C.
80 years old
*** Ibayé bayé tonu ***

1 comment:

Ralph said...

Great info..i have been trying to get info on Los Afortunados for a while, such as old pics and songs...i've been to Felix's place and he has a ton of old pics but almost too many to really check out without having the time...any more info on them or pics?