Home New York Report Podcast: Remembering Vocalist, Composer, and Activist Frankie Dante

Podcast: Remembering Vocalist, Composer, and Activist Frankie Dante

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST: FRANKIE DANTE SINGING FOR PEACE AND SOCIAL CHANGE HERE

“Si yo fuera presidente, si yo fuera un presidente, no hubiera fuerzas armadas, las guerras se acabarían, los muchachos regresaban a casa donde pertenecen…Frankie Dante pa’ presidente”..

“If I were president, if I were a president, there would be no military, wars would end, kids would go home where they belong…Frankie Dante for president.”

Today we will honor a sonero who never received the acclaim and recognition he should have. His political and socially charged lyrics contributed to his lack of recognition; he was even blacklisted.

Lenin Francisco Domingo Cerda was born on September 15, 1945, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He was heavily influenced by Eddie Palmieri, Ismael Quintana, and Mon Rivera. Palmieri’s two-trombone lineup was an important influence on Frankie, and he admired Palmieri’s singer, Ismael Quintana’s vocals and style. In 1968 he appeared on the album for the first time after he signed with Critique Records. His Orquestra Flamboyan soon became widely accepted at venues, and the band began recording albums.

Today I’d like to highlight the socially and politically conscious songs Dante wrote. Dante sings of politicians’ lies and empty promises in the song ‘Ciencia Politica’ (Political Science) from his album’ Los Salseros de Acero.’ He calls for change and continues to sing, “together; we will win.”

We have to change, José

the Flamboyan tells you why

We want to change the system

removing all the clowns

If the politicians don’t change

destruction will come very soon.

We have to change, José

the Flamboyan tells you why

Living with so many promises

and they never keep their words

CIENCIA POLITICA—FRANKIE DANTE Y SU ORCHESTRA FLAMBOYAN

In another song, on the same album, titled’ Me Quieren Crucificar’ (They want to crucify me), he sings of being blacklisted but goes on to say he isn’t going to be stopped and is always going to go “Pa’lante” (forward). Not only does this song show what Dante was up against, but it also shows his determination and strength in the face of these problems. ‘Presidente Dante’ and ‘Paz’ also exemplify his anti-war principles. ‘Paz’ was written primarily against the War in Vietnam.

In a song titled’ Venceremos’ (We Shall Triumph), he calls for an end to wars and fighting. This slogan was used heavily by the Cuban government after the Cuban Revolution (and is still used today).

I don’t want war anymore,

I don’t want to fight anymore.

The time will come to live in peace,

time is approaching; the world is ending,

that is why time is approaching,

the world is ending; that is why I beg you,

we get together, and we are going to win,

you’ll see. . .

VENCEREMOS—FRANKIE DANTE Y ORQUESTRA FLAMBOYAN
Because of the consciousness of Frankie’s music, he was blacklisted. This inevitably led to his popularity waning. This contributes to the fact that he is rarely mentioned in the pantheon of great soneros of the 70s. Frankie Dante died of cancer on March 1, 1993. He was only 48 years old. Though he died young, his music and consciousness live on.

¡Que viva Frankie Dante!

SUGGESTED LISTENING

  • Frankie Dante & Orchestra Flamboyan Con Larry Harlow (Cotique, 1972)
  • Beethoven’s V – Markolino Dimond with Frankie Dante and Chivrico Davila (Cotique, 1975)
  • Los Salseros de Acero – Frankie Dante and His Orchestra Flamboyan (1976)
  • VISIT ANANI CENTENO’S WEBSITE HERE
  • READ MY INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR HERE

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