PHILIP ROSS - Boogalu Productions, Director
My over 40 year passion for Cuban life and culture began as a teenager growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area where I was first exposed to live performances of Afro-Cuban music. The deeply satisfying rhythms, the interaction among musicians, the sheer beauty of those events, all made a profound impact on me. In time I adopted a lifestyle and livelihood centered on music, culture, and travel, that I am following to this day.
I began my path as a student of Afro-Cuban & Brazilian percussion and then became a performer and teacher. Along the way I got a university degree in Cultural Anthropology, and in 1999 made my first trip to Cuba where I began documenting with video the music-dance culture. In 2001 I founded Boogalu Productions, and for 12 years produced a series of educational DVDs of traditional, folkloric, and popular Cuban music and dance, all produced on the Island.
Where does the name Boogalu come from ?
When I has a teenager in the 1960's, some of the big hits on the radio were by Latin bands from New York playing songs such as "Watermelon Man" and "El Watusi". Years later I discovered this genre of music had it's own name. Boogaloo or bogalú is a fusion of soul music and Latin music that was invented as a cross over style influenced by the Afro, Anglo, and Latin-American music-dance communities in New York in that era. I created Boogalu (mix of the two spellings) Productions to commemorate my first exposure to Latin music as well as to honor this trend in the Americas to blend cultural expressions.