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Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is For Xavier

Xavier Cugat was a Latin bandleader from Cuba who popularized Latin dance music in the US during the 40's and 50's.

Although he was trained as a classical violinist, Xavier preferred entertaining in the clubs and big hotels. Cugat's records and films made him a household word as Latin music took hold.

He was responsible for calling the Cha Cha....... the Cha Cha Cha, because, he said, the three chas made the sound of the maracas. This title stuck and even in the competition world, you will find either Cha Cha or Cha Cha Cha.
The video below shows you Xaviar's band

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49 comments:

  1. I really didn't know that about the cha cha. Cool!

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    1. Al
      Hey there, I thought you would be on your hiatus, swap'n buddy talk.

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  2. Now the cha cha is a dance I love to watch!! I never thought about why it was called the cha, cha, and cha...

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    1. Terry,
      I used to wonder if there was any difference between the 3-cha and the 2-cha. I heard both from people in the know. I just learned this when I was writing the Flamenco posts for my theme a couple of years ago.

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  3. Oh, yes, my friend... I remember watching Xavier Cugat and his band in movies and on TV. I was around when he was still playing. I will be 80 next month, and have many fond memories of seeing him play. Best regards to you, my friend! Ruby

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    1. Grammy,
      Yes, we used to dance our little tootsies off to the music of Cugie. He was a fascinating man in the entertainment field.
      Congratulations on your coming birthday in May. I turned 83 last month.
      Thank you for stopping by.

      Delete
  4. I always got the Cha Cha confused with the Can Can when I was little and heard about them.

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    1. River
      Ha ha I can see why, as when written, at a glance they both kinda look alike. Can Can was a risque dance, too, when it first appeared in France.

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  5. He was my mother's favorite band leader. I heard the 3 cha first and thought people just got lazy when the last cha disappeared later on.

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    1. Patti
      He was a fun entertainer and a cartoonist too. He used all his talents upon the stage. Quite the womanizer too. He had a huge number of wives and Charo was his last wife. I think that is her name. Really bubbly gal, played the guitar, heavy accent. She was the wife when he died and was much younger. She is still alive. I saw her on TV not long ago and looks older, many face-lifts later.

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  6. Geez...I thought it was Ricky Arnaz??? Ricardo??? Guess I've got I Love Lucy on the brain...

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    1. Was it Desi Arnaz but his stage name was Ricky Ricardo? He was a cuban bandleader too but not as popular as Cugat was. Desi was younger, too.

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  7. Both have an Xavier on our post today
    Mine is just fake at my bay
    And yeah always heard it with three
    Here at my sea

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    1. I noticed the name in your post today
      Was the same as mine all the way.
      I used this name two years ago
      In the Flamenco for the show
      X is a hard one, I thought no one would notice
      But you spotted me down, you get the bonus. Hahaha

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  8. He was a personality on TV in the 60s and I remember him well. I didn't know he was classically trained.

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    1. Yes and his Father wanted him to be a classical violinist and you never really heard how good he was in that kind of a band. But with the clubs, TV and movies he made far more money than a violinist. I think his parents came around because I remember his presenting his parents during his club days.

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  9. Speaking of Xavier...there's a small college in Cincinnati called Xavier University. I wonder who they're named after?

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    1. Keith
      I'm not acquainted with that one. X. Cugat was born in Spain but came to Cuba at an early age so it must be a Spanish name. It would be interesting to find out.

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  10. Haven't stopped by for a while! Thought I'd check in and said "oh, yeah, this is the dance one!" And then I just thought you might enjoy this poem I did that links my theme - maine lobster boat names - to your theme - dance! Who would have thought it possible? If you have the time...it's quick at http://mainelywrite.blogspot.com/2013/04/q-is-for-quick-step.html

    visiting from the a to z challenge

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    1. Donna
      I enjoyed your poetry and seeing the boats. It is interesting too, in the fact that I know nothing about boats.
      Have a restful Sunday.

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  11. I was wondering what you were going to for "X"...nice call :)

    I've heard of Cugat, mainly from watching old movies, but didn't know he was so influential in dance, as well.

    Very interesting!

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    1. Mark
      I think it was his music that made Latin dancing so popular during the 50's/60's. I used to have a ton of his records. What are those, 78's?

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  12. I remember Cugat & Charo. She was supposed to be a dumb blond, but she was smart. She also played a great flamenco guitar!!

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    1. Fishducky
      Yes, she was a QT and a lot younger than Cugie when they married. She was the only woman I know of who was kind of famous for Flamenco guitar. She was smart to be Cugie's last wife, for sure.

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  13. Replies
    1. Poke the Rock
      He was a cartoonist too. He drew pictures on a big board when his band performed.

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  14. I love these Caribbean rhythms.

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    1. Julia
      I do too, as I jump around to that music every morning.

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  15. I remember Xavier and Charo. Latin music makes me want to get up and moving!

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    1. Susan,
      That's a good thing. Me too. Get up and move away!!!

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  16. It's very festive! And the perfect day to hear such music (it's warm outside, woot!).

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    1. Rosey,
      If you can get a warm day without the wind, I'd turn up and music and dance outdoors.

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  17. Hey Manzanita,

    Yay, I've arrived! :) I remember hearing stuff about Xavier Cugat! Although in the video, I was almost expecting Ricky Ricardo and the lady from "Chiquita banana" to show up!

    Thank goodness this alphabet challenge is nearly over!

    Be well and smile, my friend.

    Gary :)

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    1. Gary
      Chiquita banana. That goes back too. I know the whole song and now I'm stuck with it for the rest of the day.
      I get so far behind and good thing we take Sundays off to play catch-up time.
      I hope you enjoyed this Sunday

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  18. I love that dress! Cugat, too. And the cha cha cha. I always wanted to play the Conga, but I'm dyslexic or something when it comes to doing two-handed beating of drums. :-)

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    1. Su-sieee
      Then you'll have to shake the maracas I guess. I'll help. I thin they usually have 2 people on them.

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  19. I had heard of him but didn't know quite why. Didn't know about the cha cha cha either.

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    1. Ros
      Maybe his Latin music was still being played when you were young. I still have some of his records that I hate to part with and I do have a machine for playing them.

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  20. Never heard of him, but the cha cha cha surely have

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    1. John
      He must have been way before your time, so to speak.

      Cha Cha never seems to go out of style.

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  21. I grew-up with his wonderful and uplifting music!

    My favorite dance always has been the "cha-cha-cha"!!! Xavier was right about adding an extra "cha" to "cha-cha"...he knew the beat :)

    Jan

    BTW...neat blog :)

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    1. Jan
      He was an entertainer and a showman. He made a lot of movies too and he always looked like a kid at Christmas with a big grim on his face.
      Thank you for stopping.

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  22. Yes, I remember him - and Charo.

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    1. JJ

      She was pretty darn sexy. Didn't she have a phrase, like hootchi cootchi or something like that? She played a mean flamenco guitar too

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  23. He is absolutely right. The cha cha cha does sound like maracas. I don't remember him, but he deserves to have a dance named after him (I think).

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  24. Robin
    I had to laugh at the "I think." I never heard your voice but I could hear you saying it. :)

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  25. Hi Manzanita .. loved seeing the video and finding out why the Cha Cha Cha is called that ...

    Cheers Hilary

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  26. What a surprise to learn he was a classical violinist. I like the sound of cha cha cha too.

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