Left to right: Former Puerto Rican POW Dylcia
Eddie Palmieri,me, Ivan (my husband) at the Soul Rebels
unveiling reception at El Museo Del Barrio, November 5, 2005.
Thanks Eddie and Dylcia for making the day more special.
|Congratulations to Mr. Palmieri
on over 50 years of timeless music! Thank you for the long history
of empowering sounds and wishing you (and us) many, many more years
of continued Palmieri music!
(Allow an average of 2-3 weeks for the arrival
of prints. Giclee prints are special-ordered and will take around
4 weeks.See buy
page for more information on purchasing. )
13 x 19" inch print on watercolor
Archival Giclee Print, approx 24"x30":
Oyelo que te conviene
Eddie Palmieri: Soul Rebels series
Acrylic, oils, collage on Masonite
76 " x 19"
"Oye lo que te conviene" could be translated to "Listen,
it suits you" or "Listen, it's good for you". Altogether
"Oyelo que te conviene" is my favorite Eddie Palmieri song.
Its title is perfect for this portrait and perfect for the Soul Rebels
series which promotes music and poetry with an empowering message. In
other words, if it's garbage, close your ears to it.
Eddie Palmieri was born in El Barrio/ East Harlem in 1936. He was greatly
influenced by his older brother, master pianist, the late Charlie Palmieri.
He began performing at an early age, always in love with percussion, but
playing the piano. His passion shines with this instrument as he plays
it in a percussive fashion, getting the piano to do things you haven't
ever heard before. A true gifted spirit, he honors the beauty of all our
ancestry, incorporating all the various cultural heritages and legacies
of our Afro-Diasporic sounds infused with the arabic guitars that came
to us via Spain, as well as our Native American musical contributions
as heard in the guiro and maraca. Mr. Palmieri's creations have brought
us salsas, cha chas, boleros, boogaloos, son, soul, bomba, Latin Jazz
and others including the unclassifiable stuff that I like to call "Eddie's
thing" where he does, literally, his own thing, throwing together
a jambalaya/ sancocho/ sofrito of sounds that give you the ill stuff (as
we say in Brooklyn) like "Abriendo el dominante" (Masters At
Work, Nuyorican Soul) or "Spirit of Love" (Leyendas: Lucumi,
Macumba, Voodoo). His classic salsa favorites include "Muñeca"
and "Vamonos Pal Monte". In 1975 Mr. Palmieri won the first
grammy ever offered in a Latin category. Since then he has gon on to win
nine different grammies and the Latin grammy category has expanded from
one award to a whole separate award ceremony. But Eddie Palmieri as a
Soul Rebel has more to do with Eddie Palmieri the beautiful spirit, than
with the grammy-award winner and internationally acclaimed musical powerhouse
that he is. Mr. Palmieri has had to battle record companies because of
certain "alternative" messages presented in his music. Yet despite
that, and despite his success, he continues to remain true to his people's
struggle, documenting that voice in his music.
Within Mr. Palmieri's discography, you'll find a little of everything,
however there are three particular albums that provided the inspiration
for this portrait. They are Live at Sing Sing (I & II), Justicia and
Live at the University of Puerto Rico. In the 1970's, when social activism
was alive and well in the streets and on campuses, and black and brown
pride resonated from the continued civil rights movement, Eddie Palmieri
had the perfect formula for reaching young people of color. He took his
movement to the college campus and to prisons like Rikers, Attica and
Sing Sing, reaching thousands of marginalized young people in struggle,
seeking an outlet for their rage and a source of healing. Hearing the
roar of those crowds on those live albums generates great emotion. I listen
to Live at Sing Sing and am stirred by the sounds of "Somebody's
Son" with Harlem River Drive. Then I imagine myself as an inmate
in Sing Sing having a group of musicians delivering the message, "I
don't care what you say, people shouldn't be treated that way, I don't
know what they've done, but they're all somebody's son" and am brought
to tears. Or being at the University of Puerto Rico, the site of on-going
political repression against nationalists, hearing the message: "no
me trates asi, la libertad caballero no me la quites a mi". Eddie
Palmieri also understands the common struggles of Puerto Ricans, Latinos,
African Americans and Native Americans and makes certain to reflect this
solidarity in the lyrical messages of his songs and in their rhythms,
bridging cultural gaps and celebrating a common ancestry.
The painting reflects on the path traveled by Palmieri, celebrating over
50 years in music. The image in the foreground is inspired by a photo
I took of him after an interview at Columbia University in the spring
of 2005. The clapsed hands and bowed head after his piano solo performance
are a true gesture of Eddie's humbleness and modesty. In the center is
Eddie, performing years ago on the organ. He is surrounded by a collage
of images highlighting different moments from his career. Behind him are
prison bars and the wall and tower of the Sing Sing penitentiary, both
used on the Izzy Sanabria design for the Live at Sing Sing album cover.
The glazed, transparent bars, for me, symbolize the liberating elements
of this music, with its ability to tear down prison walls and bars and
liberate inmates and oppressed people if only for a moment in time. It
also celebrates the power of art to plant that love for freedom in people's
minds and inspire them to struggle towards liberation. Behind the wall
is a collaged image of Sing Sing prisoners on black solidarity day. The
featured text is taken from the song "Justicia" co-written by
Eddie Palmieri and vocalist Ismael Quintana. The large white letters are
stenciled in a slant, reminiscent of the "Justicia" album cover".
The lyric excerpts read:
Justicia veran.... (They will see justice)
Recompensa ellos tendran (They will be rewarded)
no seran perjudicados (They will not be persecuted)
Si no hubiera tiranía (If tyranny did not exist)
Todos fueramos hermanos (We would all be brothers)
Dulce paz y armonia, alegría (Sweet peace and
T u lo veraz.... (You shall see)
[ Con el canto de mi tambor, Oye mi tambor] (With the
song of my drum, listen to my drum)
La Justicia yo reclamo (I demand justice)
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