Simplemente Lara, José Rubén De León's spare, intimate tribute to the torch-song majesty of Agustin Lara, was one of the great local releases of 2006, and De León continues to receive acclaim for his Lara-themed performances.
On Saturday, May 12, De León will be honored by his hometown of Laredo, as the Webb County Heritage Foundation presents him with its Heritage Award. The award recognizes the singer/actor for "outstanding work in preserving the musical heritage of the region as evidenced in Simplemente Lara."
ESPN's Page 2 columnist Sam Alipour recently wrote an amusing piece about the French release of Tony Parker's debut album. Alipour notes that in its first week, the album's Amazon sales rank (16,234) put the Spurs' point guard ahead of Ron Artest and Kevin Federline, which probably says a lot more about their cultural disfavor than about Parker's musical prospects. More tellingly, Parker's album also ranked above the latest release from Booba, France's biggest rapper.
Alipour also offers details from a recent visit to Paris, which included a stop at a trendy nightclub, where Parker's single, "Balance Toi," apparently set the dance floor ablaze. Alipour's random interviews with people on the street, were less conclusive, however, with at least one person wondering if Parker is "the one who is marrying the girl from that show about the women."
"Balance Toi" finds Parker, renowned for his work ethic on the basketball court, wanly admitting that he'll sit out this dance and simply swing his arms while vegging on his sofa. In spite of the inevitable language barrier, it's a couch-potato sentiment that most Americans can probably connect with, and Parker is still considering a U.S. release for his album if sales are promising in France.
- Gilbert Garcia