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“Light My Fire” Alberto’s New Salsa Solo Album

By: Stephen Carr

Date Posted: 2000-08-25

Alberto, the lead singer of Diamantes, one of Okinawa’s best known rock bands, has released a new solo album, Light My Fire. Diamantes are a group with a Latin flavor and Alberto was born in Peru, where he lived for 20 years. Like a lot of emigrants from that country, by the mid-1980s he was desperate to leave. The Maoist guerrilla group Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) was on the rampage and Alberto says everyone was afraid, even in the capital Lima, far from the guerrilla bases. He did not complete his university education, spending only a year studying. After winning a karaoke competition a free air ticket brought him to Tokyo in 1986. There he stayed a couple of months in a music professor’s house before coming to Okinawa and forming Diamantes in 1991.

Light My Fire, the song made famous by The Doors during the Vietnam War era, has been given the Latin treatment before, most famously by Julio Iglesias. On this album the idea was to do a salsa record especially for a Japanese audience. It was recorded in a studio in New Jersey which had the expertise to do arrangements different from traditional ones. All the tracks are love songs and they are interpretations of famous cover versions like Besame Mucho. There is some reggae and Colombian rhythm in the mix too.

This is Alberto’s first solo record and he says one of his ambitions is to play a big salsa festival at Madison Square Gardens which brings together New York’s Puerto Rican community. The record will be released in New York next month and Alberto is hoping for maximum airplay on the city’s FM radio stations.

He says salsa, which has much percussion, brass and trumpets, is a difficult style to play, particularly bass and piano arrangements.

One highlight in Alberto’s musical career has been writing for well-known Tokyo singer Akina Nakamori. “It was a sad song about a prostitute” he says.

Other activities include a weekly flight to Tokyo to appear on NHK’s Spanish language instruction program which goes out on Wednesdays at 6.30 and Fridays at 12.00 pm.

Diamantes play a big Tokyo concert every year and this year will be doing so again on September 23. Meanwhile their next local date this Sunday August 27 at the Sun Marina Hotel. It is a free outdoor concert on the Center Field near the parking area. It starts at 7.20 pm and finishes at 8.50 pm.

Directions: From Moon Beach drive north for one and a half kilometers and the Sun Marina Hotel is on the left.

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