Sunday, March 1, 2009

Happy Birthday, Padrecito!

March 2nd is my friend Padre Hoyos' birthday and to keep up a tradition we started a couple of years ago on the Padre Hoyos Blog, here are your Mañanitas, Padrecito...sung by Nat King Cole!

Now, we usually think of Nat King Cole as an African-American jazz and big band pianist and singer, best known for his signature song "Unforgettable". Cole was also an ardent fighter against racism, refusing to perform in the segregated venues so common in his time. He was a friend of the late President John F. Kennedy, frequently advising him on civil rights.

What is less well-known is that Nat King Cole also had a musical career in Spanish. In 1958, Cole recorded his first Spanish language album, "Cole Español" in studios in Havana and in Mexico with Cuban jazz musician Armando Romeu Jr.'s orchestra and a mariachi band. This was to be followed by "A Mis Amigos" (1959) and "More Cole Español" (1962). "A Mis Amigos" contains the famous Venezuelan waltz Ansiedad which Cole, who didn't really speak Spanish, learned patiently phrase by phrase.

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