Tag Archives: Jr.

PRDream mourns the passing of Little Ray Romero

Little Ray Romero:
Master Rumbero
June 18, 1923 – August 16, 2006

A percussionists’ percussionist, this master rumbero lived a life of music spanning more than six decades. Born Hernan Romero in Ponce, Puerto Rico on June 18, 1923, Little Ray played with legendary bandleaders and musicians in both the Latin music and American music scene. His percussion solos have become standard rhythmic patterns for young percussionists today. Little Ray passed away peacefully in Florida surrounded by his family on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 at 10 p.m.

Kicking off his career in the late 30s with Puerto Rico’s leading songstress, Ruth Fernandez, Little Ray began playing bongos before picking up the congas. His conga playing was influenced by Chano Pozo whom he met while Chano was performing with Dizzy Gillespie. During the 40s, Little Ray performed with the legendary Xavier Cugat Ochestra before joining the U.S. Army. After his army tour, he played with Noro Morales, Joe Locco, Jose Curbelo, and Miguelito Valdes. By the 50s, he was performing in Puerto Rico and composed part of the percussion section for Cortijo y su Combo when the great Puerto Rican percussionist Rafael Cortijo organized his first band in the early ‘50s.

He went on to become an essential part of the legendary percussion section organized and fronted by Tito Rodríguez. However, he was noticed by Eartha Kitt and recruited to play with her orchestra from 1952 to 1956.

Little Ray Romero went on to back up Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dean Martin. By the late 60s and early 70s, Little Ray could be heard with the orchestras of Eddie Palmieri (on the Live in Sing Sing recording), Frankie Dante and Orchesta Flamboyan, Ray Baretto (on the Lps: Indestructible, Guarare, The Other Road, & Baretto Live Tomorrow where he plays the bata drums), and Machito just to name a few.

The 80s saw Little Ray give back to the younger generation through education. He taught at the Drummer’s Collective, the Johnny Colon Music School and Boy’s & Girls Harbor Conservatory for the performing Arts.

An exemplary family man, a good musician and a great percussionist are the three things Little Ray Romero embraced in his long road through life.

He was the recipient of the first Living Legends tribute at The Point CDC in the Bronx under the direction of Angel Rodriguez in New York in 1997. On Thursday, October 2nd, 2003 the community in East Harlem that saw Little Ray grow up honored him with a tribute at the Julia de Burgos Cultural Center that was formerly P.S. 107 where Ray went to elementary school. Ray Barretto, Rene Lopez, Jimmy Delgado and many others were present. Little Ray was presented with a proclamation from the City of New York that recognized the many important contributions made to the cultural soul of this nation through the music of Little Ray Romero.

Ray Romero is survived by his wife Lucia Romero, his sister Irma Rosen, his four children Stephanie Soffi, Elaine Romero, Little Ray Romero, Jr., and Isabel Santiago, eight grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

He will be flown to New York to be viewed in the neighborhood where he was raised in East Harlem known as El Barrio on Sunday, August 20, 2006 at the Ortiz Funeral Home, 141 East 103rd Street
Between Lex. and Park Ave. 212-876-1913 from 2 to 10 p.m.

Elaine Romero who was with her father and prepared him for the transition has asked all who knew Ray to bring the gift of music and that in lieu of flowers, donations to defray the cost of the funeral should be sent to:

Lucia Romero
35 East 10th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11218

Aurora Flores

Little Ray Romero

El Taller Boricua and Jimmy Delgado Present

Every Wednesday through August 29 • 5:30 PM

Uptown Salsa After Work Party Event

July 4 – Soneros de Oriente
July 11 – Caransalsa
July 18 – Frankie Morales’s Mambo of the Times Orchestra
Juy 25 – Excelencia
August 1 – Orchestra Broadway
August 8 – Jimmy Sabater, Jr. & Los Salseros Del Hudson
August 15 – Sonsublime
August 22 – Rigo Y Su Grupo Ecua-Jei
August 29 – Tipica Novel
Ladies $5 from 5:30-6:30; $10 after 6:30
Gentlemen $10 all night
Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center
1680 Lexington Avenue
212.831.4333; www.tallerboricua.org

Every Thursday through August 23 • 6:30-9:00 PM
Summer Nights at El Museo

Target Presents Musical Icons of El Barrio
July 5 – Tito Puente, Jr.
July 19 – Plena Libre
August 2 – Spanish Harlem Orchestra
August 16 – Tribute to Hector LaVoe with Chino Nuñez

Budweiser Select’s Alternative Music Festival
July 12 – Circo
July 26 – Cultura Profética
August 9 – Latin Funk Night with Pacha Massive and Folklore Urbano
August 23 – Los Amigos Invisibles

Free. Limited seating – first come, first served.
Teatro Heckscher
El Museo del Barrio
1230 Fifth Avenue

Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Jr., Re-Elected as NALEO President

Adolfo Carrion Jr.

NALEO Board Officers Re-Elected, Hon. Ana Rivas Logan of Miami Dade County Public Schools Elected to NALEO Board

WASHINGTON, DC -The Board of Directors of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) today re-elected Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Jr., as president of the organization for a second one-year term. President Carrion is the first person of Puerto Rican descent to lead the organization.

A former urban planner, teacher and community organizer, President Carrion was elected to the New York City Council in 1997. He served one term before running for the Borough Presidency of the Bronx and winning in 2001. He was elected to his first term as NALEO president in 2007.

“I want to thank my colleagues on the NALEO board for their continued support of my leadership of this important national organization,” stated NALEO President Carrion. “With more Latinos in the history of the nation voting in the 2008 presidential election, NALEO has a tremendous opportunity to raise the issues and concerns for Latinos to the forefront for discussion at a national level,” he continued. “I look forward to working with the NALEO board to usher in a new era of Latino political empowerment.”

At its meeting, the Board re-elected its officers, including New Mexico Secretary of State Marry Herrera as Vice-President; East Chicago School Board Member Fernando Trevino as Secretary; and Texas State Representative Pete P. Gallego as Treasurer. The Board also re-elected its members to another term. In addition, Board Member Ana Rivas Logan of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools was elected to serve a three-year term on the organization’s Board of Directors.

“The future success of this nation will be determined by the increased participation and continued growth of the nation’s second largest population group,” said Arturo Vargas, Executive Director for NALEO. “I am confident the NALEO Board is up to task in pursuing the organization’s mission of Latino empowerment.”

The President, Officers and Directors were selected at the Annual Meeting of the NALEO Board of Directors, the culmination of NALEO’s 25th Annual Conference, the nation’s preeminent Latino Political Convention.



$2 million grant is largest in museum’s 40 year history

New York, NY – Yesterday, Congressman Charles B. Rangel, joined by Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, Luis Miranda, a member of the Board of Directors of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corp., (UMEZ), and Julián Zugazagoitia, Director of El Museo del Barrio, announced today that the organization has awarded the museum a $2 million grant to implement a strategic plan that will complement renovations to the museum that are currently underway.

The announcement was made during Summer Nights at El Museo Del Barrio’s 2007 concert series at Teatro Heckscher, with Tito Puente, Jr. as the evening’s performer.

El Museo del Barrio was founded in 1969 by artist-educator Raphael Montañez Ortiz in response to the interest of Puerto Rican parents, educators, artists and community activists in East Harlem’s Spanish-speaking El Barrio, the neighborhood that extends from 96th Street to the Harlem River and from Fifth Avenue to the East River on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The contexts of El Museo’s founding were the national civil rights movement and, in the New York City art world, the campaign that called for major art institutions to decentralize their collections and to represent a variety of non-European cultures in their collections and programs.

El Museo del Barrio is among the leading Latino and Latin American cultural institutions in the nation. The New York Times recently characterized El Museo as “the first stop on Museum Mile,” an institution offering “some of the most beautiful and disquieting art there is.” One of only a handful of Latino museums in the United States with a permanent collection, El Museo maintains the most comprehensive collection in the eastern region and one of the most varied in the country.

The Museum recently embarked on a long-term, multi-million dollar capacity-building program, the “Re-Envisioning of El Museo.” It consists of a five-year strategic plan and institution-wide programmatic expansion, for which El Museo has already raised a substantial amount of leveraged funds. At the same time, the Museum is undergoing a physical transformation through a $20 million capital renovation project.

UMEZ helped El Museo lay the foundation for organizational development and expansion by providing the Museum a technical assistance award of up to $50,000 to complete a strategic plan. The plan addresses the Museum’s programming, educational offerings, community engagement, theater programs, membership program, and governance and board development. Full strategic plan implementation will require $5.5 million in funding. The Museum had already secured over $2 million toward project costs prior to the $2 million, three-year UMEZ investment.

As a result of UMEZ’s three-year investment in strategic plan implementation, the Museum will create ten new jobs, deepen its relationships in its founding community, increase its earned income, and establish its first formal marketing and communications department. A re-invigorated El Museo will serve as a driving force in revitalizing cultural tourism in the East Harlem community and help brand el barrio as ‘the center of Latino culture and a tourist destination.’

Mr. Miranda, who chairs UMEZ’s Cultural Industry Investment Fund (CIIF), said, “The history of El Museo del Barrio is not only inextricably
linked to the history of the East Harlem community, it is also linked to the history of our great City. Through its many outstanding exhibitions and programs, this unique museum has helped to enlighten the world in so many, many ways. That’s why we at UMEZ are pleased and proud to be able to provide financial support to this fine institution.”

“It is an honor for El Museo to accept this $2 million as it represents the largest grant ever received in our 40-year history,” said Mr. Zugazagoitia. “This funding from UMEZ marks an investment in El Museo and El Barrio at this transformative time for both our community and our institution, and will ensure that the museum will continue to excel in providing the best in Latino cultural resources to New York

Over the past two years, UMEZ has approved investments in East Harlem Business Capital Corporation, Taller Boricua, Art For Change, La Fonda Boricua, PR Dream, and East River Plaza. The East River Plaza investment, which totaled $55 million, is the largest single investment in UMEZ history.

UMEZ believes that investments in East Harlem will have a positive impact throughout upper Manhattan in terms of its economic impact, the creation of jobs and improvements to its infrastructure.

ABOUT THE Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone DEVELOPMENT CORP.

UMEZ seeks to revitalize distressed communities by using geographically targeted public funds and tax incentives as catalysts for private investment. In Upper Manhattan, the communities that lie within the Empowerment Zone’s borders include Harlem, East Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood.


UMEZ’s CIIF celebrates Upper Manhattan’s rich past while creating new legacies. The work of the CIIF is two-fold: community building through a cultural and economic lens; and, a marketing of place that repositions Upper Manhattan as one of New York City’s primary cultural districts. The goals of the CIIF are sustaining the local economy by promoting development, revitalization and tourism; making strategic cultural investments; and, strengthening the cultural ecosystem.

The CIIF provides support to cultural organizations that use the arts as a tool for economic development, job creation and growth of cultural tourism, within the five communities of Upper Manhattan. Primary means of support include funding and provision of technical assistance.