Singer; Dominican Republic; Bachata; Son cubano; Salsa; Latin music

Julio Guzmán: a Dominican singer bringing Latin rhythms to the streets of Manchester

Name

Julio Guzmán

Ethnicity

Black Caribbean

Area

Wilmslow

Researcher

James Nissen

Comments

"On the streets, we share – I hear other music and other musicians and they hear me. Music is a language, you can talk to anyone” Julio Guzmán (aka July Julay) is a singer from the Dominican Republic. After a successful musical career on the island, he moved to the UK in 2003. He is based in Manchester and has built a strong profile in the city, where he is particularly known for playing on the streets and at salsa/bachata dance nights, and he has performed at festivals across the country, including Tottenham Carnival and Carnaval Latino in London. He sings in a variety of Latin musical styles, including bachata, son montuno, salsa and merengue. He collaborates with several salsa collectives and, as a singer/songwriter, he also performs solo, accompanying himself on guitar and playing his own songs alongside classic repertoire. Julio’s Musical Life Story Julio was born in Santo Domingo, in the barrio of Sabana Perdida. He grew up surrounded by the rhythms of merengue and bachata, the ‘national music’ of the República Dominicana, as well as more localised styles, such as mangulina and balsié. He was also exposed to the music of the neighbouring countries, particularly son montuno from Cuba. “Merengue and bachata are like the national music of my country and they are very famous in Central America and South America, and also now in Spain and the world. But my dad used to play Cuban music at home all day long…And my mother, she was a singer, and she used to sing son montuno and bolero. I grew up hearing that music from very, very early age so I already had it in my head, in my blood”. “In my country, they have one part, called Villa Mejia, that is like countryside and son montuno is all they love. If you go there, you will think you are in Cuba! It’s Cuban music all day long”. From a very young age, Julio felt a call to be a singer and musician and his mother, who herself was a singer, encouraged him to pursue his passion. He received his first musical instrument, a tambora, as a Christmas present. “At Christmas, you give a present to your child – well, ‘the three wise men’, the ones who come on the camel, give the presents, but very early I understand it’s the parents, because we were a very, very poor community. But, one year, my mom bought me an instrument called tambora, it’s a drum. The one she bought me was like a toy one, it was not a professional one, it was very, very small. But I started to play this instrument and this was my first love!”. At school, Julio found the opportunity to play music with friends. At age ten, he began performing publically and, by twelve years old, he had started organising bands. As he and his friends could not afford to buy standard instruments, they learnt how to make their own, drawing on their creativity to make use of the materials available around them. Julio’s main role in bands was always as singer, but, in addition to tambora, he had also taught himself how to play güira, a scraper made from silver similar in function to the Cuban güiro, as well as trumpet and guitar. He had a natural talent for picking up instruments, so he could always lend a hand in any ensemble. Many of the performers from this neighbourhood have gone on to very successful careers; the musicians who played güiro and bongos in one of Julio’s bands subsequently played these instruments with bachata superstar Romeo Santos. “I was around ten years old when I started to do the music with my friends at school. Every Friday at school, we had to do something – comedy or poem or sing. The first thing I started to do was comedy, I used to write jokes. Then, I was writing music and songs. I used to sing bolero and merengue”. “When I play my first gig, I was around 12. I used to organise bands from that age…I used to meet all my friends from the same neighbourhood. Actually, we make our own instruments because we didn’t have the economic condition to buy a guitar or another instrument, so we had to make it ourself. We take a piece of wood and we take the electricity cable and make the strings with that. We find the radio and we find the brown wire inside and we put that on the wood to make the bridge. We take everything to imitate the guitar or the bass. One of my friend make a bass like that and it really sound like a proper bass! We make our own piano, our own instrument to imitate the piano sound. And the trumpet – I used to be an expert in making the trumpet!…We needed imagination and creativity. We were children but we had that vision, that hunger, to progress”. Beyond performing at events in his neighbourhood, Julio also went to work at tourist hotels on the island. While this was a very different context to performing in his community, Julio recounts that he liked to play son for the tourists and that he loved the opportunity to hear music from different places by listening to other bands in the hotels. He reflects that this experience helped to prepare him for moving to Manchester; after coming to the UK in 2003, he started working in a restaurant as a waiter and, in the evenings, he performed the music he had played in the hotels and found that the audiences knew and enjoyed the repertoire. “I used to play in a tourist hotel at one time, where people have a holiday. In that world, I started to hear Michael Jackson and all different music from different countries. There, I could play the son montuno and I really, really loved that”. “I moved to England in 2003. I came here and I was working in a restaurant. But, always inside me, I wanted to do music again. I started to play in the restaurant and the people were very, very good with me. I started to play international music, ‘Guantanamera’ and ‘Chan Chan’ and things like this. I used to play solo or sometimes I bring three or four musicians, depending on the budget! We play for have a good time and we also used to ‘jamm’, we call it”. After this, Julio started to play on the streets and at salsa dance events. He began collaborating with various bands, including Mojito and Manteca, and he started working with Geli Berg, from the Lingua Franca World Music agency (you can find Geli’s profile on the voice map). As the bachata dance craze swept the world and raised the popularity of the music, Julio found that he could finally perform this music again in Manchester. Since then, he has become one of the leading bachata singers in the UK, he has helped to spread the music of his homeland to new audiences, and he has created his own signature style, mixing the ‘traditional’ bachata with influences from different musics and cultures he has encountered during his journey as a musician. “I have music all day long in my head! I have new music and new songs so I hope to carry on and continue. I got a bag full of songs! When I have time, I will approach these new ideas and keep writing”. The Meanings of Julio’s Music “The purpose of my music is to bring people to dance, to bring happiness, to tell a story, and to spread my culture”. Dance is at the centre of Julio’s musical purpose. He indicates that rhythm and dance have always been at the heart of his musical experiences, although he stresses that he prefers to provide the music rather than the dancing himself. “When you hear this music, you want to dance. It raises up your happiness. I can dance the music too, but I prefer to make the music for the people to enjoy to dance”. Julio’s emphasis on storytelling and his desire to share his culture reflects his commitment to the traditions of his homeland. While most people in the UK may view bachata as a new phenomenon, because it only recently became popular in Europe, Julio points out that his performances draw on the ‘traditional’ bachata and other longstanding styles from his area, including the son montuno from Cuba, and he also highlights that there are deep interrelations between the bachata and the son cubano. At the same time, his repertoire, and his own songs, combine these traditional models with a mix of other musical and cultural influences. As such, Julio’s musical approach can be understood as at once profoundly traditional and yet also fresh and innovative. “My style is more to the traditional bachata. But my style is very mixed too…My style is the traditional mixed with new colours, new flavours”. “I make my own music and I think people like it because it’s something different…I’ve seen the people dancing the bachata now and they want something different – they want more from the song, more from the singer. The problem is a lot of the new music just try to sound like Romeo [Santos]. I was in one event and a lady say ‘Why you play too many Romeo Santos songs?’ and the DJ say ‘No, those songs were all different artists’ and she says ‘But they all sound like Romeo!’ and it’s true! Everybody want to play exactly like that, but not me – I prefer to make my own music”. Since coming to the UK, Julio’s favourite way to bring people happiness through music has been to take to the streets. During the national and local lockdowns, instigated by the Covid-19 pandemic, he has continued to play for people when possible, following government safety rules. His performances have shone a ray of hope in these dark times. “I love to play on the streets. It’s a very great experience. When you play in one corner, people don’t know what you are singing, but they try to go with you. People come from work or they have something in their head on their mind, but they stop, they relax, because they see you play over there. When they go back home, they go with a smile, they taken something positive. It’s good, people sharing with you, you learn a lot. This is the wonderful thing, being on the street”. “This pandemic has made it very difficult for the musician. This has been very, very harmful. We all need to be positive and help the country and help the people to get through…People are coming to me saying ‘Wow, you made my day, my friend, it’s really good what you are doing because we have this awful time being inside in the house 24/7 for months in lockdown’. Everybody is being very good, everybody with mask and with distance. I feel very, very happy when I see people in the middle of the pandemic find a little happiness, singing along with me”. Latin Music in Manchester As mentioned above, Julio observes that the state of Latin music in Manchester has changed significantly since he first came to the UK. From the beginning, he says that he found a warm and enthusiastic audience for salsa and son cubano but that, over time, the popularity of bachata has exploded amongst the diverse population of the city. “The first Latin music I play [in Manchester] was salsa, because bachata wasn’t really well-known here. I play son montuno and the people love it…I play one salsa and everybody dance, or at least they have a go, they try…I like it because I used to sing the salsa back home too – like Marc Anthony, Gran Combo, Richie Ray, Bobby Cruz, Jerry Rivera. Even I find a lot of salseros dancing here – I never imagine people react so good to the Latin music, [especially] the Cuban music. I find English people who dance it better than me!”. “When I came to England, when I started to play bachata, I remember the people look at each other like ‘What?!’. They didn’t know how to dance it…But, around 2008-2009, the bachata started coming and people start to recognise flamenco, merengue, guajira, reggaetón. This was a great experience, because I used to play bachata but nobody understand it, but, after 2008, I play bachata and the people love it – now, they even request bachata! This music that is coming from Central America and South America, now the people are requesting it here. I think that’s an amazing thing”. “In Manchester, I found people from all over the world who are into bachata. It’s a powerful music – I hear people who don’t even speak Spanish singing bachata songs in Spanish! The Italian people could already dance bachata very, very well. And the people coming from Africa here, they are very good too, because the kizomba is similar to the bachata. Actually, I even see people from Russia dancing bachata here, and that’s great! I saw a guy from Japan who did a video with one of my songs and he play the güira – and he play it with my music and he play it better than me! It is an honour for me that this guy, from another culture, is playing my song”. Julio suggests that, especially since this shift, the Manchester music scene is relatively open to Latin music. While he alludes to some challenges that he has faced in establishing a music career, he emphasises that his experiences have been overall positive, speaking of enthusiastic audiences, loyal supporters and open-minded musicians. He indicates that an atmosphere of camaraderie amongst musicians in the city has influenced his own music, as exchanges and collaborations have helped him to further develop his own ‘mixed’ musical style. “There’s great support [in Manchester]. When I’m doing gig or event, people supporting me go to the gig or event. People come up to us and say ‘I love that song’ and it’s a small example but it’s support…If they need a musician, people talk to me and they suggest me. If I need a musician, they come to me and say ‘I know someone who can help you’ and they come and help me. My piano player is from Greece, my bass player is from Cuba, my conga player is from England – he is tremendous, a very, very good player – my bongo player is from Dominican Republic too and my guitar player is from El Salvador. We are mixed, you know? I’ve got a lot of support – I support them and they support me too”. “[Since coming to Manchester], my music has changed, but it changed for good. I see things here I can bring to my music and make it better. I work with different styles in my music, I like to mix things. On the streets, we share – I hear other music and other musicians and they hear me. Music is a language, you can talk to anyone”. 'Ay Ñeñe (No Me Caso)' (see video) Julio wrote this song, which mixes traditional bachata style with some other expressive ‘flavours’, to tell a story about a person who falls in love, gets married, experiences a crushing heartbreak, gets divorced, and then swears off marriage for life. The expression ‘ay ñeñe’ is a Dominican idiom used to express refusal when you suspect that someone is trying to trick you into a bad deal. The music video, produced by El Primo Juan, a friend of Julio from Spain, was filmed in Manchester during lockdown and it features dancers from Italy, Portugal and Spain. The song certainly showcases Julio’s storytelling abilities, as well as his comedic side, and he hopes that, after the lockdowns are over, it will also get people’s feet moving again. “The idea of this song is there is a guy and he sees a girl and, before he ask for her name, he say ‘I like you!’, he fall in love with this very pretty girl. And then he give everything for her – big house, nice car, big wedding and every money he have he spend to make her happy. But, when she get all this, she ask him for divorce and she’s gone and she leave him with nothing. The guy gets very depressed and disappointed and he started to find other girls jumping on him. He says ‘They want to grab me and they want to get married but, no, I don’t get married anymore, ay ñeñe no!’. He says this because of his bad experience before. Now, he says ‘No, no, no, no’, he run away. Usain Bolt can’t compete with him when someone say ‘Marry me’! That’s why there is the sound ‘choo-fuioo’ – it’s the running away, like in the cartoon, the correcaminos [roadrunner]. The roadrunner is nothing compared to him when he is running from these girls!”. “The story in this song is nothing to do with me! A lot of people have been asking me ‘Oh no, that happened to you?’. I say ‘No!’. I’m a writer and I like to be very involved with the people, the citizens, the neighbours. I like to have great conversations and friendship. And, as a writer, you always keeping the eye on everything. When you go to the supermarket or on the street or on the train, you see a lot of things, you know? It’s all in your head”. 'Chan Chan' (see audio) Or see video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oXqJUmHJM4&ab_channel=JulyJulayHD This recording is taken from one of Julio’s performances on the streets of Manchester in October 2020. The song is a son composed in 1984 by Francisco ‘Compay Segundo’ Repilado, who was born in the Oriente of Cuba, and it was made famous via the Buena Vista Social Club (1997) album. As shown above, Julio treasures the son cubano alongside the music of his own country, and this performance perhaps symbolises both his own love for the music as well as its international appeal amongst the people from many different places who walk down Market Street in the city centre of Manchester.

Singer; Dominican Republic; Bachata; Son cubano; Salsa; Latin music

Julio Guzmán: a Dominican singer bringing Latin rhythms to the streets of Manchester

Name

Julio Guzmán

Ethnicity

Black Caribbean

Area

Wilmslow

Researcher

James Nissen

Comments

“On the streets, we share – I hear other music and other musicians and they hear me. Music is a language, you can talk to anyone”. Julio Guzmán (aka July Julay) is a singer from the Dominican Republic. After a successful musical career on the island, he moved to the UK in 2003. He is based in Manchester and has built a strong profile in the city, where he is particularly known for playing on the streets and at salsa/bachata dance nights, and he has performed at festivals across the country, including Tottenham Carnival and Carnaval Latino in London. He sings in a variety of Latin musical styles, including bachata, son montuno, salsa and merengue. He collaborates with several salsa collectives and, as a singer/songwriter, he also performs solo, accompanying himself on guitar and playing his own songs alongside classic repertoire. JULIO’S MUSICAL LIFE STORY Julio was born in Santo Domingo, in the barrio of Sabana Perdida. He grew up surrounded by the rhythms of merengue and bachata, the ‘national music’ of the República Dominicana, as well as more localised styles, such as mangulina and balsié. He was also exposed to the music of the neighbouring countries, particularly son montuno from Cuba. “Merengue and bachata are like the national music of my country and they are very famous in Central America and South America, and also now in Spain and the world. But my dad used to play Cuban music at home all day long…And my mother, she was a singer, and she used to sing son montuno and bolero. I grew up hearing that music from very, very early age so I already had it in my head, in my blood”. “In my country, they have one part, called Villa Mejia, that is like countryside and son montuno is all they love. If you go there, you will think you are in Cuba! It’s Cuban music all day long”. From a very young age, Julio felt a call to be a singer and musician and his mother, who herself was a singer, encouraged him to pursue his passion. He received his first musical instrument, a tambora, as a Christmas present. “At Christmas, you give a present to your child – well, ‘the three wise men’, the ones who come on the camel, give the presents, but very early I understand it’s the parents, because we were a very, very poor community. But, one year, my mom bought me an instrument called tambora, it’s a drum. The one she bought me was like a toy one, it was not a professional one, it was very, very small. But I started to play this instrument and this was my first love!”. At school, Julio found the opportunity to play music with friends. At age ten, he began performing publically and, by twelve years old, he had started organising bands. As he and his friends could not afford to buy standard instruments, they learnt how to make their own, drawing on their creativity to make use of the materials available around them. Julio’s main role in bands was always as singer, but, in addition to tambora, he had also taught himself how to play güira, a scraper made from silver similar in function to the Cuban güiro, as well as trumpet and guitar. He had a natural talent for picking up instruments, so he could always lend a hand in any ensemble. Many of the performers from this neighbourhood have gone on to very successful careers; the musicians who played güiro and bongos in one of Julio’s bands subsequently played these instruments with bachata superstar Romeo Santos. “I was around ten years old when I started to do the music with my friends at school. Every Friday at school, we had to do something – comedy or poem or sing. The first thing I started to do was comedy, I used to write jokes. Then, I was writing music and songs. I used to sing bolero and merengue”. “When I play my first gig, I was around 12. I used to organise bands from that age…I used to meet all my friends from the same neighbourhood. Actually, we make our own instruments because we didn’t have the economic condition to buy a guitar or another instrument, so we had to make it ourself. We take a piece of wood and we take the electricity cable and make the strings with that. We find the radio and we find the brown wire inside and we put that on the wood to make the bridge. We take everything to imitate the guitar or the bass. One of my friend make a bass like that and it really sound like a proper bass! We make our own piano, our own instrument to imitate the piano sound. And the trumpet – I used to be an expert in making the trumpet!…We needed imagination and creativity. We were children but we had that vision, that hunger, to progress”. Beyond performing at events in his neighbourhood, Julio also went to work at tourist hotels on the island. While this was a very different context to performing in his community, Julio recounts that he liked to play son for the tourists and that he loved the opportunity to hear music from different places by listening to other bands in the hotels. He reflects that this experience helped to prepare him for moving to Manchester; after coming to the UK in 2003, he started working in a restaurant as a waiter and, in the evenings, he performed the music he had played in the hotels and found that the audiences knew and enjoyed the repertoire. “I used to play in a tourist hotel at one time, where people have a holiday. In that world, I started to hear Michael Jackson and all different music from different countries. There, I could play the son montuno and I really, really loved that”. “I moved to England in 2003. I came here and I was working in a restaurant. But, always inside me, I wanted to do music again. I started to play in the restaurant and the people were very, very good with me. I started to play international music, ‘Guantanamera’ and ‘Chan Chan’ and things like this. I used to play solo or sometimes I bring three or four musicians, depending on the budget! We play for have a good time and we also used to ‘jamm’, we call it”. After this, Julio started to play on the streets and at salsa dance events. He began collaborating with various bands, including Mojito and Manteca, and he started working with Geli Berg, from the Lingua Franca World Music agency (you can find Geli’s profile on the voice map). As the bachata dance craze swept the world and raised the popularity of the music, Julio found that he could finally perform this music again in Manchester. Since then, he has become one of the leading bachata singers in the UK, he has helped to spread the music of his homeland to new audiences, and he has created his own signature style, mixing the ‘traditional’ bachata with influences from different musics and cultures he has encountered during his journey as a musician. “I have music all day long in my head! I have new music and new songs so I hope to carry on and continue. I got a bag full of songs! When I have time, I will approach these new ideas and keep writing”. THE MEANINGS OF JULIO’S MUSIC “The purpose of my music is to bring people to dance, to bring happiness, to tell a story, and to spread my culture”. Dance is at the centre of Julio’s musical purpose. He indicates that rhythm and dance have always been at the heart of his musical experiences, although he stresses that he prefers to provide the music rather than the dancing himself. “When you hear this music, you want to dance. It raises up your happiness. I can dance the music too, but I prefer to make the music for the people to enjoy to dance”. Julio’s emphasis on storytelling and his desire to share his culture reflects his commitment to the traditions of his homeland. While most people in the UK may view bachata as a new phenomenon, because it only recently became popular in Europe, Julio points out that his performances draw on the ‘traditional’ bachata and other longstanding styles from his area, including the son montuno from Cuba, and he also highlights that there are deep interrelations between the bachata and the son cubano. At the same time, his repertoire, and his own songs, combine these traditional models with a mix of other musical and cultural influences. As such, Julio’s musical approach can be understood as at once profoundly traditional and yet also fresh and innovative. “My style is more to the traditional bachata. But my style is very mixed too…My style is the traditional mixed with new colours, new flavours”. “I make my own music and I think people like it because it’s something different…I’ve seen the people dancing the bachata now and they want something different – they want more from the song, more from the singer. The problem is a lot of the new music just try to sound like Romeo [Santos]. I was in one event and a lady say ‘Why you play too many Romeo Santos songs?’ and the DJ say ‘No, those songs were all different artists’ and she says ‘But they all sound like Romeo!’ and it’s true! Everybody want to play exactly like that, but not me – I prefer to make my own music”. Since coming to the UK, Julio’s favourite way to bring people happiness through music has been to take to the streets. During the national and local lockdowns, instigated by the Covid-19 pandemic, he has continued to play for people when possible, following government safety rules. His performances have shone a ray of hope in these dark times. “I love to play on the streets. It’s a very great experience. When you play in one corner, people don’t know what you are singing, but they try to go with you. People come from work or they have something in their head on their mind, but they stop, they relax, because they see you play over there. When they go back home, they go with a smile, they taken something positive. It’s good, people sharing with you, you learn a lot. This is the wonderful thing, being on the street”. “This pandemic has made it very difficult for the musician. This has been very, very harmful. We all need to be positive and help the country and help the people to get through…People are coming to me saying ‘Wow, you made my day, my friend, it’s really good what you are doing because we have this awful time being inside in the house 24/7 for months in lockdown’. Everybody is being very good, everybody with mask and with distance. I feel very, very happy when I see people in the middle of the pandemic find a little happiness, singing along with me”. LATIN MUSIC IN MANCHESTER As mentioned above, Julio observes that the state of Latin music in Manchester has changed significantly since he first came to the UK. From the beginning, he says that he found a warm and enthusiastic audience for salsa and son cubano but that, over time, the popularity of bachata has exploded amongst the diverse population of the city. “The first Latin music I play [in Manchester] was salsa, because bachata wasn’t really well-known here. I play son montuno and the people love it…I play one salsa and everybody dance, or at least they have a go, they try…I like it because I used to sing the salsa back home too – like Marc Anthony, Gran Combo, Richie Ray, Bobby Cruz, Jerry Rivera. Even I find a lot of salseros dancing here – I never imagine people react so good to the Latin music, [especially] the Cuban music. I find English people who dance it better than me!”. “When I came to England, when I started to play bachata, I remember the people look at each other like ‘What?!’. They didn’t know how to dance it…But, around 2008-2009, the bachata started coming and people start to recognise flamenco, merengue, guajira, reggaetón. This was a great experience, because I used to play bachata but nobody understand it, but, after 2008, I play bachata and the people love it – now, they even request bachata! This music that is coming from Central America and South America, now the people are requesting it here. I think that’s an amazing thing”. “In Manchester, I found people from all over the world who are into bachata. It’s a powerful music – I hear people who don’t even speak Spanish singing bachata songs in Spanish! The Italian people could already dance bachata very, very well. And the people coming from Africa here, they are very good too, because the kizomba is similar to the bachata. Actually, I even see people from Russia dancing bachata here, and that’s great! I saw a guy from Japan who did a video with one of my songs and he play the güira – and he play it with my music and he play it better than me! It is an honour for me that this guy, from another culture, is playing my song”. Julio suggests that, especially since this shift, the Manchester music scene is relatively open to Latin music. While he alludes to some challenges that he has faced in establishing a music career, he emphasises that his experiences have been overall positive, speaking of enthusiastic audiences, loyal supporters and open-minded musicians. He indicates that an atmosphere of camaraderie amongst musicians in the city has influenced his own music, as exchanges and collaborations have helped him to further develop his own ‘mixed’ musical style. “There’s great support [in Manchester]. When I’m doing gig or event, people supporting me go to the gig or event. People come up to us and say ‘I love that song’ and it’s a small example but it’s support…If they need a musician, people talk to me and they suggest me. If I need a musician, they come to me and say ‘I know someone who can help you’ and they come and help me. My piano player is from Greece, my bass player is from Cuba, my conga player is from England – he is tremendous, a very, very good player – my bongo player is from Dominican Republic too and my guitar player is from El Salvador. We are mixed, you know? I’ve got a lot of support – I support them and they support me too”. “[Since coming to Manchester], my music has changed, but it changed for good. I see things here I can bring to my music and make it better. I work with different styles in my music, I like to mix things. On the streets, we share – I hear other music and other musicians and they hear me. Music is a language, you can talk to anyone”. 'AY ÑEÑE (NO ME CASO)' (SEE VIDEO) Julio wrote this song, which mixes traditional bachata style with some other expressive ‘flavours’, to tell a story about a person who falls in love, gets married, experiences a crushing heartbreak, gets divorced, and then swears off marriage for life. The expression ‘ay ñeñe’ is a Dominican idiom used to express refusal when you suspect that someone is trying to trick you into a bad deal. The music video, produced by El Primo Juan, a friend of Julio from Spain, was filmed in Manchester during lockdown and it features dancers from Italy, Portugal and Spain. The song certainly showcases Julio’s storytelling abilities, as well as his comedic side, and he hopes that, after the lockdowns are over, it will also get people’s feet moving again. “The idea of this song is there is a guy and he sees a girl and, before he ask for her name, he say ‘I like you!’, he fall in love with this very pretty girl. And then he give everything for her – big house, nice car, big wedding and every money he have he spend to make her happy. But, when she get all this, she ask him for divorce and she’s gone and she leave him with nothing. The guy gets very depressed and disappointed and he started to find other girls jumping on him. He says ‘They want to grab me and they want to get married but, no, I don’t get married anymore, ay ñeñe no!’. He says this because of his bad experience before. Now, he says ‘No, no, no, no’, he run away. Usain Bolt can’t compete with him when someone say ‘Marry me’! That’s why there is the sound ‘choo-fuioo’ – it’s the running away, like in the cartoon, the correcaminos [roadrunner]. The roadrunner is nothing compared to him when he is running from these girls!”. “The story in this song is nothing to do with me! A lot of people have been asking me ‘Oh no, that happened to you?’. I say ‘No!’. I’m a writer and I like to be very involved with the people, the citizens, the neighbours. I like to have great conversations and friendship. And, as a writer, you always keeping the eye on everything. When you go to the supermarket or on the street or on the train, you see a lot of things, you know? It’s all in your head”. 'CHAN CHAN' (SEE AUDIO) Or see video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oXqJUmHJM4&ab_channel=JulyJulayHD This recording is taken from one of Julio’s performances on the streets of Manchester in October 2020. The song is a son composed in 1984 by Francisco ‘Compay Segundo’ Repilado, who was born in the Oriente of Cuba, and it was made famous via the Buena Vista Social Club (1997) album. As shown above, Julio treasures the son cubano alongside the music of his own country, and this performance perhaps symbolises both his own love for the music as well as its international appeal amongst the people from many different places who walk down Market Street in the city centre of Manchester.

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Singer; Dominican Republic; Bachata; Son cubano; Salsa; Latin music

Julio Guzmán: a Dominican singer bringing Latin rhythms to the streets of Manchester

Name

Julio Guzmán

Ethnicity

Black Caribbean

Area

Wilmslow

Researcher

James Nissen