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TuVez Goes To Pedro Capo’s “En Letra De Oro” HBO Party

Puerto Rican singer and all around good-looking guy Pedro Capo releases his latest album, En Letra De Oro, today accompanied by an HBO Latino documentary of the same name. It premieres on HBO Latino tonight at 8pm. I was invited to the HBO Latino party in New York celebrating the release of the documentary and it was quite a night. The party was held at the world famous La Marina in Inwood waaaaayyyy at the top of Manhattan island. I arrived wearing my flyest striped guayabera and jeans, because I wanted to look cool and not like I was trying too hard.

I hung out with the press at the red carpet. All of New York’s Latino media people were there. Everyone from HBO Latino’s own crew and the Spanish networks to 20-year-old hipster bloggers. Then there was me, your humble friend and writer. The bar was open and it was pretty hot so before they even opened the party up to the guests I was already fairly tipsy. I was drinking one of the specialty cocktails named after the songs on Pedro’s album. It was called Amor Pohibido, (after the song by Selena), and had Hennessy, schnaps, apple pucker, pineapple, and cranberry juice. Let me tell you it looked like iced tea but it kicked me in the polongas.

Soon after they opened the gates, the scenic patio overlooking the Hudson River was crowded full of seriously good-looking Latinos, all of them wearing designer clothes and a king’s ransom in jewels. Then the red carpet started buzzing as Pedro arrived looking all kinds of suave. The question everyone kept asking him was why he decided to do an album of 90’s cover songs. He explained that these were the songs and artists that inspired him to become the musician he is today. Many of them, including Jon Secada and Luis Miguel, appear in the documentary.

This was the music of my youth as well. Pedro is 36, just four years younger than me. Because we are both Americans, we were also listening to Nirvana and Pearl Jam in our teen years. But because we have a foot in both worlds, that of the United States and Latin America, these songs by Selena and Chayanne were as much a part of our teen years as any of that flanneled stuff from Seattle.

After I had gorged myself on little bites of chorizo and potato croquetas and chicken on a stick, it was time for Pedro to take the stage. He and his band played in the dimming dusk with the George Washington Bridge all alight in the background. I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t get a lump in my throat when he sang Amor Prohbido. I am from Texas and when Selena was viciously murdered it sent shock waves through the Mexican-American community around me. I was a fan, and I’m not usually into Tejano music, but Selena transcended all of that. You can see his performance below. Later he was joined by the very sexy songstress Fey to sing their hit Azucar Amargo.

Did I sing…no, scream along with him when he sang my fellow countryman Jon Secada’s Otro Dia Mas Sin Verte? Hell yes, I did. I became horse, but luckily they had set up a piragua cart in the back to quench my thirst. I chose piña colada flavor because it was clear and if I spilled it on my shirt you wouldn’t be able to tell. They served up mountains of paella at the after party (with lobster tails!) while we listened to drunken party goers doing karaoke versions of the songs on the album. After people ate, the party ramped up with a DJ playing Latin pop. You know, Pitbull and Despacito. Like all Latin DJs, this guy would not shut up and just let the music play. I don’t want to hear your running commentary, fool!

They say nostalgia is a bad thing, that it is an escape from reality into a past seen backwards through rose-colored glasses. Maybe so, but to guys like Pedro and I who are entering middle age those memories of summers past, abuela’s cooking, and making out to Luis Miguel with a girl who would later break your heart, are some of our best memories. The older you get the more of a past you have to look back on. It’s only natural that you would want to celebrate that. I pondered this on the long subway ride back to Brooklyn. So, what if it’s escapism? Isn’t the world a scary place? Don’t we all need to go in our minds sometimes to happier days? I don’t see any problem with that.

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