Posts Tagged ‘costa rican’

Very Close to the Finals

November 27, 2009

Two concerts is what separates Costa Rican representative Eduardo Aguirre from the Latin American Idol grand finale.

The young man from Esparza, advanced to the group of five semi-finalists and he will sing two songs in order to fight to keep his place among public’s favorites.

“I’m Proud of the support from my country and what I have shown.  I am going to sing a ballad by Juan Luis Guerra.  If I move on to the seventh concert, I will sing two pop songs, but none by Cristian Castro,” he said.

Aguirre noted that the hardest part is coming and he does not care if the judges sometimes tell others that they are among their favorites.

“I put the pressure on myself.  We all have our minute and a half on stage.  All I need is a little push to reach the final.  I only ask people to continue believing in me and the will hopefully be satisfied with the effort,” he said.

The Chilean, Ruben Alvarez and the Dominican, Martha Heredia, two of his strongest rivals on the show, also made their predictions.

“I am very happy with what I’ve been doing.  People have seemed receptive, but now we five are starting from scratch.  I’ve shown a lot of dancing and now I will offer a more romantic mood,” said the Chilean.

The Caribbean said she is preparing vocally and emotionally.  She denies being overconfident, as the jury told her not long ago.

“Sometimes I seem arrogant, but I am really very simple.  What happens is that the I transform myself when I sing.  I am really preparing myself,” said the brunette, who calls Ruben her strongest rival.

The reprimand that the Costa Rican representative received during “Cantando por un sueño” (Singing for a Dream) where he was told by music producer Fabian Zolo that he must go from being  a puppy to being a man was not in vain.

The producer sees him as being more mature, but there are things he must still improve.  “Without fear of being wrong, I can say that he can get to the finals…but only if he changes his strategy. He has to take more risks, take over the stage.  He is in a comfort zone and he must come out of it.”

Zolo said that the young man has already demonstrated that he can sing, but he must now show himself, show more nuance and be the artist who wants to be the show.  Maria Jose Castillo, a finalist last year, said that she sees the young man from Esparza in the finals against Martha or Ruben.

“He is among the best, no doubt.  He should continue with ballads and vary a little with pop.  We need to see him in that genre to show different facets.  He’s doing a good job and he is paying attention to what the judges say, but I think Mediavilla (Oscar) is a little obnoxious when he makes his comments.”

But even when things seem to be all right, we must support our representative from Costa Rica.  We are asking for your votes so that he can reach the final.

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Celebrating Black Culture in Costa Rica

August 12, 2008

Black Heritage is on the Forefront this Month.

Girls from the San Marcos Educational Center were seen performing African dances in San José. The San Marcos Educational Center is in the Caribbean port city of Limón, and they helped kick off a month-long celebration of black culture in Costa Rica. The 10th annual Black Culture Festival also features Afro-Caribbean artists, dances and food. It ends Aug. 31, on Black Culture Day, with the Great Gala Parade in Limón.

Let’s take a look at history.

As Costa Ricans, we have to remember that Black Culture is part of our national heritage. All Costa Ricans are involved in this not just the African-Costa Rican population. The first blacks who arrived in Costa Rica came with the Spanish conquistadors. It was common in all the countries conquered by Spain to have slaves since slavery was prevalent in the Iberian Peninsula, and in Costa Rica the first blacks seem to have come from specific sources in Africa- Equatorial and Western regions. This was no different than most of the other countries that practiced slavery. Equatorial and Western Africa was the historical source for most of the slave trade. The people from these areas were thought of as ideal slaves because they had a reputation for being more robust, affable and hard-working than other Africans.

In the seventeenth century, the Costa Rican elite from the then capital city, Cartago, invested in cacao farms in Matina, now a Canton in Limon province, in the Atlantic region. African slaves worked and lived in these farms, and remained isolated from the rest of the country. The slave/farm owners only went to oversee the crops once a year. However, the following century witnessed a gradual lessening of the abysmal differences between blacks and their white owners. It was common practice for whites to take black women as their concubines and they freed the children that were born from this union. The same thing started to happen with the “sambos” or the products of the union between Indians and blacks. Experts have suggested that this tendency to free slaves was due in part to the desire of the owners to free themselves from the economic burden that slaves had become in a poor country such as Costa Rica, others are of the opinion that they freed them because they felt a fatherly duty to release their own sons and daughters form the chains of slavery. Whatever the reason, this is how freedom began to come to African-Costa Ricans.

We might not ever know the real reason, but it’s a fact that by the time of Costa Rica’s Independence from Spain (1821), slavery was a vanishing institution. The Federal Assembly of Guatemala, Costa Rica being a member, declared the abolition of slavery in the region in 1822, but this law didn’t get fully authorized in Costa Rica, until April 17, 1824. By the time the law was established, the slave population in the country was considerably low, since a lot of the slaves had already been freed de facto if not de jure.

The railroad to the Atlantic started being built in1871. Henry Meiggs Keith, an American hired by the Costa Rican government, was in charge of this monumental task. He insisted in utilizing blacks for clearing the forest and building the railroad tracks. Several workers arrived from the Caribbean, Panama and other countries. In 1872 the first group of Jamaicans entered the country. These Jamaicans and their descendants would become the main inhabitants of the Caribbean region, thus providing the basis for a culture that was entirely different from any other in the country. There were two large Jamaican migrantions at the time of the railroad construction and in the next century, for the banana plantations owned by the United Standard Fruit Company. If it hadn’t been for this influx of black population, Costa Rica wouldn’t have become the world’s largest producer of bananas in 1911.

In the 1920’s, the black population had improved its economic status dramatically, through their own farms or through their jobs with the banana company. However, since they weren’t even considered citizens of Costa Rica, they didn’t possess legal rights to own land. In the 1930’s many white Ticos, as Costa Ricans are generally called, moved into this region and took over the black lands. Many blacks had to migrate to Panama or other countries when they were dispossessed of their land or even of their jobs at the banana company. Due to these repressive circumstances, many black workers organized strikes and labor unions, and they even participated with Jose Figueres (revolutionary leader), ex president now deceased, in the 1948 Civil War, after which they won citizenship and full guarantees.

So the story of the black population in Costa Rica started with slavery, as did the story in most Countries in the Americas. From the beginning, this group of people was indispensable in agricultural chores and in cacao and later on banana plantations. Their participation was also central in the construction of the railroad that would connect the interior of the country with the coast, thus, with the rest of the world. However, the blacks didn’t only contribute to the economy and progress of the nation, since elements of their culture, such as their language, religion, food and music, shaped a whole new culture in the Caribbean, and eventually extended to the rest of the country.

At TicosLand.com., the leading Costa Rican web directory, we wish our African-Costa Rican the best during their month-long celebration.  We know that they have contributed mightily toward making Costa Rica a better country.  At TicosLand.com, we laud their contributions and we applaud the celebration of their culture and heritage.