Documenting this powerful topic has been one of the biggest and unexpected joys of my life. Sometimes life offers serendipitous opportunities that you can't ignore and Sweet & Sour Salsa was defiinitely one. The music captured me and it's story and characters naturally unfolded in a manner that compellled me to produce a full length story to honor it. Not only did it enrich me as Cuban American but it brought to the forefront how important and influential this music was and continues to be. It's origins are strewn with recognizable musical legends, innovators and celebrities. This is NOT SALSA. It is the father of many muscial styles that can all be traced back to Son Montuno, which is why we engaged a musicologist in the interviews as well as many of the veteran musicians with first hand experiences in the old nightclubs of Cuba. We know that the international market is hot for latin music and are confident that this documentary will ignite even more intense passion for this great music bringing awareness, appreciation and securing it for the enjoyment of genrations to come.
You would think that two Cuban American Kung Fu Masters training side by side as brothers for over two decades would know each other very well. Oddly, it was a casual conversation that brought to light that Master Perez was the Musical Director for Conjunto Impacto, a famous and sought after band in the 70's and 80's and Master Rubio was also an accomplished musician and production studio owner. When Master Rubio offered his studio for a few recording sessions, he began documenting the process and also began to research the origins of Son Montuno, an infectous and potent musical style rich with Cuban history and international significance. Once he began conducting interviews the story took on a life of its own and the content was outstanding. The band members offered insightful stories both personal and cultural about this influential musical style that has been almost forgotten. Further reserach revealed thousands of successful men and women who were forced to abandon their familes as children in the Peter Pan flights became quite successful in Miami. Master Perez was one of them. Overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds, this documentary serves as the soundtrack for that historic escape. The fact that the Musical Director persists to this day to preserve this legacy despite advanced Parkinson's, is a testiment not only to the tenacity of those collective individuals but to the diligence engendered by the traditional Kung Fu training which functions as the connective link for the story development.
To have such a seasoned and talented cinematographer as Egon Stephan Jr. as an overall production consultant and lighting and setup conducted by Mitch Cuba really allowed me to be free creatively and focus on telling this great story. This project also allowed my talented wife to share her eye for detail, timing, dynamic and other skill sets to enhance the project each step of the way. My Kung Fu brother, Master Perez and I became closer than we had been for many years and he allowed me to become very instrumental in his rehabilitation with Parkinsons through our martial arts. In the screenings we've offered, the Conjunto musicians often come up to me teary eyed recognizing the importance of our mission together. All artistic projects always build a temporary family of friends. In the case of Sweet & Sour Salsa, we've created a family that is beyond blood or time, we're bound by the eternal bonds of music, culture and eternal joy.
"Sweet And Sour Salsa."