El Sonero Del Mundo: Oscar D'Leon

Oscar Emilio León Somoza, better known as Oscar D'León, "El Sonero Del Mundo" (Singer of the World) is a Venezuelan musician who became internationally famous for his salsa music. One of his most popular and well known song is  "Llorarás," which he recorded in 1975 with his group La Dimensión Latina, a salsa band he, Together with percussionist José Rodríguez and trombone players César Monge and José Antonio Rojas, formed  in 1972.

Four years later, D'León quit the group and created La Salsa Mayor. With La Salsa Mayor he recorded the merengue standard "Juanita Morell", a version that became a huge radio hit in Puerto Rico.

 He later founded La Crítica in 1978 in memory of the legends of Cuban Rumba, such as Miguelito Valdés. For a while, D'León would alternate singing with both orchestras, giving him enough flexibility to stay working constantly. This also gave him an opportunity of inviting some of his personal musical heroes (such as key members of the Sonora Matancera and Daniel Santos) occasionally onstage during live presentations.
He is known as El Sonero del Mundo ("the Son Singer of the World") or as El Sonero Mayor ("the Great Son Singer"), a title he's quick to defer to Ismael Rivera out of respect for the late Puerto Rican salsa singer.

Because of successful tours throughout America and Spain, D'León was the first latino to sign a contract with the BBC.

Oscar D'Leon's charity work has been praised. He has traveled to Colombia to aid "desplazados" (people seriously displaced from their homes, land, or work due to guerrillas, paramilitaries, or the government). He has a wife and several children who are all musically talented like their father. His son Yorman plays with him in his band and has even recorded with Oscar in the studio. They sang the song "Padre e hijo" together on Oscar's 1992 album titled "El Rey De Los Soneros".

 His other son Jimmy sings and plays bass, while daughter Irosca plays piano and dances. His daughter Adiaroz has also shown signs of talent as well.

In 2003 Oscar D'León suffered 3 heart attacks while performing in a festival in Martinique: one while onstage and two more at the hospital. According to D'León's physician, high cholesterol was the culprit. On Dec 20th 2009, he suffered yet another heart attack, but he has since recovered.

Adapted from: Wikipedia

Dia Alegre: Festival of Nations

Many of Greater Vancouver's local talents performed at Dia Alegre, Festival of Nations/Festival del Popoli at the Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, this August 1st. Many North Americans equate Latin music and dance simply with Salsa, or Latin Pop, and are unaware of the many colors and diverse styles the continent has to offer.  It has been a real pleasure to watch the literally and metaphorically colorful  Latin Music and Dance culture presentations. The following is but a small sample of the presentations by local, professional and amateur groups and artists.