I went to see Peret, the king of Catalan Rumba, at Lincoln Center's mid-Summer Nights' Swing, and he was FABULOUS. He is often given credit for originating this genre, drawing from his Roma roots - flamenco mixed with Latin rhythms, he sings in Spanish, Catalan and his own language. The music is hard to describe but here is a video from around 1969:
This is the soundtrack to my childhood, so it was a thrill to finally see him in person, at the age of almost 80 he still has the same beautiful voice, energy and charisma, even though he's lost the full mane of hair & the fierce mutton chops.
In the mid-1980s apparently he left the music behind when he was "born-again" but then could not stay away and staged a come-back. Shockingly, this was his New York City debut. Many of us in the audience knew the lyrics which I am sure amused him greatly. He was just in the news in Spain because he left his wife of 50 years to go live with a 19 year-old fan, just to show how the new generations also respond to his timeless music. (OK there is some irony in the last paragraph)
Not all of his fans were Spaniards or Catalans, spotted in the audience was the always fabulous David Byrne, who was also singing along to the songs! And if that wasn't enough to make me love him even more than I already did, he was rocking a gas-station attendant jumpsuit! Hot!
For more info on Peret, go to: