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PARTICULARS OF "LA EPOCA"

spectacular line-up of old-school Salsa "Mambo" dancers and musicians is in progress for the long-awaited "La Epoca - The Palladium Era" a feature-length documentary-film, which focuses on Latin  music, rhythms, Latin dance and the musicianship during the hey-day of the Palladium Ballroom in New York City from 1950-1972 when Mambo was at its peak! This is the era just before all Latin music was minimized to a single term "Salsa."

The Palladium Ballroom, located on 53rd and Broadway in Manhattan, New York - was commonly referred to as, and affectionately titled, "The Home of the Mambo" and it was THE go-to hot-spot for Latin dancing! Actor Marlon Brando and musicians Sammy Davis Jr, and Frank Sinatra are among just some of the celebrities that used to frequent the ballroom to listen  to big-time Latin -name bands including Machito, Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, Arsenio Rodriguez, Cortijo and others.

"La Epoca" features Palladium-era musicians Alfonso "El Panameño" Joseph, Agustin Caraballoso, Santiago Ceron, Charlie Rodriguez, Luis Mangual, Jose Mangual Jr, Juan "Chiripa" Emilio, Leo Flemming, Julian Llanos and other musicians such as Sam Jacobs and Ileana Santamaria (the daughter of Mongo Santamaria).

Alfonso "El Panameño" Joseph, a bassist, played with Cuban legend Arsenio Rodriguez, Celia Cruz, Machito, Charlie Palmieri, Tito Puente, Hector Rivera, Joe Valle and many, many other legends!

Agustin Caraballoso, a Cuban trumpeter, played with Arsenio Rodriguez, Johnny Pacheco, Joe Valle, Marcelino Guerra and others. Caraballoso shares, in his interview, how he was the first person to perform with Cuban Vocalist Beny More upon More's trip back to Cuba from Mexico, where he'd been performing with Perez Prado. He also shares how his personal knowledge of how Arsenio Rodriguez truly was the originator of the "mambo" rhythm.

Santiago Ceron, a Dominican vocalist, sang with Arsenio Rodriguez's conjunto as one of the members along with Alfonso "El Panameño," Marcelino Guerra, Israel Berrios and Santiago Ceron. Ceron also shares his knowledge of how Arsenio Rodriguez was the originator of the "mambo" rhythm and also how Israel "Cachao" Lopez was the first to create an entire song out of the section of the "danzon" that Rodriguez created.

Charlie Rodriguez, a Puerto Rican tres player, who personally met Arsenio Rodriguez in Brooklyn, NY while opening up for the Cuban legend. He shares how Arsenio shook his hand and told him to keep playing the tres because he'll end up a good tres player like Arsenio. Charlie speaks about how he performed and worked with Johnny Pacheco, Larry Harlow and with Pete "El Conde" Rodriguez - and he provides photos for us to see.

Luis Mangual, a percussionist (bongocero), played with Hector Lavoe, Machito and many others and who has been a very, very valuable source of information and excellent interviewee in the actual movie "La Epoca."

Leo Flemming, a bassist, well in his age, provides great history of the Palladium and in the film, he actually acknowledges how he learned to play bass by observing Alfonso "El Panameño" Joseph and it is Leo Flemming who first confirmed that the origins of Latin music are from guitar players - meaning that Latin music evolved from just several guitarists strumming together into big-band Mambo orchestras and now contemporary bands today.

Juan "Chiripa" Emilio, a trumpetist, is a true inspiration behind "La Epoca." The core and the true embodiment of the "La Epoca" is so superbly expressed through "Chiripa" and the brunt of the message of the film he so gracefully carries on his shoulders in the film. Much of the trailers to be released of "La Epoca" include him speaking.

Jose Mangual, Jr, a musician and producer, is the brother of Luis Mangual (above) and also played with Hector Lavoe and also provided a great personal story on film.

Julian Lianos, a vocalist, recorded with Arsenio Rodriguez and Alfonso "El Panameño" Joseph on several of Arsenio's albums and he provided a great angle to the stories of the Palladium. Julian just recently past away and we all feel so fortunate enough to have documented his legacy so that his memory may continue to live on for the lifetime of this film!

Sam Jacobs, a percussionist, is more acquainted with Latin Jazz and in the film, he accounts for much the early history of how Machito and Tito Puente influenced Jazz musicians and developed Latin Jazz.

IN ADDITION to the amazing musical talent, we've filmed an amazing performance from the internationally-known dance duo Palladium Mambo Legends Freddy Rios and Mike Ramos. We filmed them performing authentic versions of "Mambo" and Cha-Cha-Cha that were danced during the era of the "Home of the Mambo." Many, many Latin dance instructors of today teach a neo-Mambo, which is very different from the original format. Freddy Rios and Mike Ramos danced and performed AT the Palladium Ballroom and they've danced for us on film, which we will bring to you.

We've also interviewed international dancer "Cuban Pete," along with his dance partner Barbara Craddock, in April of 2008, at an exclusive event at West Point in New York, where Pete reunited for the first time, in over 40 years, with Alfonso "El Panameno" Joseph and also performed along with Orquest Dicupe. The program was put together by Special Guest Executive Producer Josue Joseph - who was able to pull all these major players of the Palladium together in one place - because he has the contacts with each.

We've also interviewed Ileana Santamaria, who is the daughter of legendary icon Mongo Santamaria and she gives a truly emotional interview for the film, regarding her memories and legacy of her father.

Additional interviews featuring Gina Noel D'Ambrosio with Yoshiho Hibino. Gina is a dance instructor in Manhattan, New York.

The film also features interviews with dancers Anya Katevsman and Luis Aguilar and Desiree Dicupe, all of whom were first filmed at Club Cache in Manhattan in July of 2007, but who later came together with Exec Prod Josue Joseph in April of 2008 for an outstanding show.

Also featured in an interview is Andy Jerrick, a Palladium-era dancer who danced at the Palladium. Producers are very excited about sharing this film with the country, the region, the many cultures and the world as this film will certainly educate many on the evolution of Latin music and dance.

ABOUT THE FILM "LA EPOCA"

Countless times, we've heard the names of Celia Cruz and Tito Puente, but how many times have we heard the names of the musicians who played the music that made them sound so good? "La Epoca" exposes the legends supporting those big names!

What is the Mambo? Who really-really created the Mambo since there are several figures who are often credited with being originators of the Mambo, like Israel "Cachao" Lopez, Perez Prado, Beny More, Tito Puente and Cuban legend Arsenio Rodriguez - so then, who really is the creator of the Mambo? We have the answer documented on film. What is Salsa? Which is Cuban and which isn't? Which rhythms are Puerto Rican, Dominican or Panamanian? What's guajira, guajira-son, guaguancó, montuno, son-montuno, cha-cha-chá and are they just rhythms or are they dances? Why are these questions in need of answers in today's society? It's because the term "Salsa" was created, which diluted the ability to distinguish between each rythm. "La Epoca" goes into great detail, with personal interviews with the legends who PRECEDED that umbrella term "Salsa," and they share with us how it came to happen.

Many of the Latin musician legends such as Celia Cruz, Tito Puente and Arsenio Rodriguez are no longer living, but their enormous contributions to the Palladium-era remain!

There have been several films, recently, which touch upon the "Palladium" times, in New York City, which mentioned many other Latin legends like Machito, Beny Moré, Perez Prado, Tito Rodriguez, and many others. But, "La Epoca" takes it much, much further into the stories and the inside-never-heard-before informative details of the Mambo origins, the relationship between the musicians and most importantly, the legendary musicians who were behind the scenes of the major band-leaders. In addition, the film puts to rest the controversy of Dancing "on 1" vs. Dancing "on "2," and it also exposes the controversy over the umbrella terma "Salsa" and the generations that have followed since its conception.

"La Epoca" is a major success in comparison to ALL other documentaries and documentary-films and all other films EVER done on Latin music and the Palladium. There are ONLY 2 other films that have plenty of following - those films are "Buena Vista Social Club," which is a documentary-film. Buenta Vista is a fine film and has its value, however, we find that it only focuses on a small group of musicians and does little to provide history. The other movie is called "Mambo Kings." But, do you know what's so funny about that? May of the legends, from the Palladium-era, who we've spoken to us, have all made it absolutely clear that Mambo Kings did no justice for Latin-American roots and rhythms and dance - and that it "watered down."

"La Epoca - The Palladium Era" incorporates BOTH Palladium-era Latin music AND dance AND IN ADDITION to this, it incorporates the Palladium-era musicians AND the dancers - so this movie has got it all covered. We go back to the origins - the roots and follow it up to present day. The movie is not ONLY about the Palladium Ballroom, located at 53rd and Broadway in Manhattan, but about the Palladium-era to present day - all the clubs open at the time and the music born at the time - comparing the dancing of back then to the dancing of today. We even have interviewed those who tell us who it was that started "on 1" Salsa dance, which happened in the Catskills.

We have intimate interviews with major musicians and performers of the Palladium-era that NO other producer has been able to get!! That's so important! It's because of this - that the movie has continued to expand. The 2-hour long feature-legnth documentary-film premiers in each state that producers filmed in - Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and South Carolina during the month of August. Then, in September, the film hits select theaters nation-wide!

Charlie Rodriguez, the tres player of Johnny Pacheco and who also worked with Larry Harlow and Pete "El Conde" Rodriguez, says in his interview exactly what this film is about. Speaking in Spanish, he says (translated), "Much of today's youth does not know how to distinguish between the origins of the rhythms. Today, they call all those rhythms by one name - Salsa." To have such a major player for the Palladium say this - is amazing and to actually get it on video is even more amazing.

Now playing!!

Please, donate to our mission, or if you would like to advertise with us, please contact Lynne Merrill at lynne.merrill@laepocafilm.com.