Big names of Latin music to join Obama celebrations

January 17th, 2009 - 12:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Marc AnthonyWashington, Jan 17 (IANS) The biggest names in Latin music like Alejandro Sanz, Paulina Rubio, Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, Lila Downs and Don Omar will be part of one of the events celebrating Barack Obama’s inauguration as the US president.The 2009 Latino Inaugural Gala, set for Sunday at Washington’s Union Station, will bring together the “creme de la creme” of the Hispanic artistic world just steps from where Obama will be sworn-in as the first black president in the more than 200-year history of the US, the EFE news agency reported.

Most of the artists have no American passports nor the right to vote in the US elections, but during the presidential campaign some of them like Sanz, Don Omar and Rubio made their preference for Obama clear.

Rubio, known as the “golden girl”, said in an interview to EFE that without doubt Obama was a “charismatic politico”, and one who was expected to improve the conditions of the Hispanic community in the US.

“It’s not that he’s sexy, but his message is attractive and he has incredible charm,” the Mexican explained, happy to be going to the gala.

Rubio isn’t afraid of politics but rather believes that her art can be a vehicle for a message of change.

“I’ve been very involved with politics in these elections. We have seen terrible things in recent years. I’m part of a movement that wants change, doesn’t want war but does want investment in education, in helping mothers and children,” she said.

Rubio isn’t the only one voicing such sentiments.

Her compatriot Lila Downs, versatile in her rhythms and compositions, also sings of peace, of defending immigrants, and of respect for the many ethnicities that make up the mosaic that is America.

Spain’s Alejandro Sanz also seems enthusiastic, saying that he feels honored to take part in “this historic event”.

For her part, Cucu Diamantes, vocalist for the Yerba Buena band, considers that this is a historic moment not only for the swearing-in of Obama but for Hispanics’ show of political might in the elections last Nov 4.

Obama won with 67 percent of the Latino vote, compared with 31 percent for his rival John McCain, according to an analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center.

She believes that Latino voters, speaking with a single voice, “helped this day become a reality”.

Her opinion is shared by the New Yorker of Puerto Rican descent, Marc Anthony, who thinks the year 2008 was a watershed for the Latino community, not only for its political maturity but for its outpouring of civic participation.

Hispanic activists and volunteers swelled the ranks of Obama’s electoral campaign during the primaries, most importantly in the so-called swing states.

Also among the growing number of artists who will parade down the red carpet in Union Station are George Lopez, Tony Plana, Rosie Perez, Angelica Vale, Wilmer Valderrama, Michael Salgado and Nati Cano’s mariachi band Los Camperos.

The gala, which has already sold more than 3,000 tickets at $200 each, will serve to promote the first Latin museum in the US capital.

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