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DIAMANTES release new video

By: Kenny Ehman

Date Posted: 1998-02-14

DIAMANTES is starting off the year with the release of a complete three hour, two volume video, of their 1997 live performance at Ginowan Kaihin Park. The video will hit the shelves of most CD shops and many retail chains on February 14. It features Diamantes' Alberto Shiroma, Tarbo, Bob Ishihara, Tom Nakasone, Jorge Shiroma, Kenji Maekawa, Patty, and former member Chiaki, giving one of their best and most popular stage performances. The annual concert draws about 4,000 people from around the island, and the video showcases the fifth time the Latino-Okinawa pop group has appeared there. There is also some off stage footage, showing Diamantes' members in a much more relaxed and informal atmosphere. The band itself is quite pleased with the video, and the group's lead vocalist, Alberto Shiroma said "It is definitely something Diamantes' fans will like."

Although the band has sold many CDs both here in Okinawa and in the mainland, it is their live performances that they are noted for. Anyone that has been to the Club Pa'ti' to see them play, knows how their infectious music spreads though the audience. The club is always packed with fans and newcomers, and the night is filled with an energy level that is unforgettable. Amazingly, that same intensity Diamantes creates at the small Club Pa'ti', is also present at all of their big concerts. Their vibrant music gets thousands of people dancing, screaming, and singing through their entire show. Their concerts have a festive atmosphere, and they bring together Okinawans, Americans, Hispanics, and many other cultures. "The people who listen to us always give us more than we can give to them. Even though they can not understand many of the words, they are always singing and dancing. We are always with the crowd, and we are always want to give them more," said Shiroma about the success of their live concerts. They are definitely one of the best concert bands on the island, and their new video shows both Diamantes and their fans in one great performance.

Diamantes first started playing music from other popular bands like Santana, Gypsie Kings, and the Miami Sound Machine. The band began with only three members, doing some live shows at the Sun Marina Resort. They added some new members, and then began to write their own music. Their 'Latino' sound first appealed to many Hispanic-Americans here on Okinawa, but their audience gradually expanded to also include Okinawans.

They released their first CD in 1993, which was an instant success. "Gambateando" became one of the band's first big hits from the CD, and Diamantes soon began to attract huge audiences and much attention. A few years later their hit song "Shori" gave them even more exposure, being played for the newly formed soccer J League all around Japan. The very energetic rhythms and Spanish lyrics gave the band an original sound here on the island, and their following grew quickly. Soon, crowds of young Okinawans were flocking to see the band whenever they played. They continued recording a new CD every year, and the band is expecting to release their sixth this summer.

The band is looking forward to the future with much optimism. "We are trying to focus on the positive things. When we perform in the mainland, it is our chance to promote Okinawan culture and music. We can show the possibilities of the future and international exchange. I believe this is one of our missions," said Shiroma.

The band has also gone through a few changes, including a new sound. "Our music changes not only because of the situation in our lives, but also changes with the society and the world," explained Shiroma. Last year Shiroma recorded the famous Doors tune "Light My Fire" together with Ce'sar Rosas from Los Lobos. The collaboration was the first for Shiroma with a major American artist, and will appear on a solo CD from Rosas sometime this year. Diamantes is also planning on recording one song for their upcoming CD with Cyril Nevil.

Even though Diamantes is not the same band when they first started, they still play with the same enthusiasm for their audiences as before. When asked how to best describe their music, the down to earth Shiroma explained, "Our music is pop music. Popular music is music for everybody. It is something that everyone can listen to and enjoy. It's very simple.

Be sure and pick up their new video, and catch the same magic that thousands of other fans have experienced. It is available at Book Box, Family Mart, and other music stores. Simple?-maybe. but, their music crosses cultural boundaries and unites people, which is anything but simple.

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