January 2021 – We are already in 2021! Many of us are thinking “how quickly the year has passed.” I know many others are thinking “the year 2020 is finally over”. It’s just that 2020 was not easy. With all the precautions and restrictions that we have had to tolerate (due to the pandemic caused by the Covid-19 virus), the truth is that this year leaves a lot to remember.
But, not everything has been bad news and not everything is negative. Well, as a small Christmas and closing of this year 2020 gift, I bring here another special interview. I’m working together with my cousin Auranyd, known on social media as Una Boricua en Louisiana. She recently started her Isla Nena Café online coffee business.
We have started virtual coffee chats that we call Isla Nena Café Hour. These talks are on Facebook for now, but we are working on some ideas to share these conversations with you in other ways. If you’re on Facebook, connect with Auranyd live on Saturdays at 4:00 PM (Eastern Time, Florida). As part of this adventure, we bring you interviews with friends and family who deserve to be recognized, that’s why we are putting them in the spotlight.
On this occasion, I introduce you to young Puerto Rican musician Abcir (his full name is Abcir José Meléndez Torres -remember that in Puerto Rico we use both surnames). His mother, Celin, is the sister of late Doña Carmen Torres, paternal grandmother of my cousin Auranyd. He grew up in the Bermejales neighborhood of the town of Orocovis, where most of the members of the Alvarado family live and originate from.
In the Alvarado family there are many musicians, all lovers of typical music and family parties, especially at Christmas time. My dad Neco has always really liked participating in these activities.
Abcir has been dedicated to music, writing and performing his songs. Hearing about this made me curious. Looking for information about Abcir, I found his recent single La videoparranda. I loved it! Listen here (it’s in Spanish) La videoparranda de Abcir.
Recently, the Primera Hora newspaper in Puerto Rico published this article about Abcir (in Spanish) Cantante busca llevar ánimo durante la pandemia con la videoparranda. I share this review, taken from his Facebook page: “Young Puerto Rican singer-songwriter, a native of Orocovis. He has been part of several local groups as the lead singer and has participated in at least two commercial recordings. He has currently set his musical career on track as a soloist, publishing Unreleased songs on social media. His music has been chosen for several Puerto Rican films. His musical style is very peculiar, influenced by the new trova, salsa, British rock and North American blues. His lyrics seek to describe the manifestation of feelings and emotions in a convincing, firm and real way. “
My cousin Auranyd, Una Boricua en Louisiana, invited him to one of her live Facebook chats and he very kindly shared with us. So I invited him to share a cup of coffee and tell me his story. Here is our conversation:
The name of my blog is Full of Coffee, so guess the first question: how do you like coffee?
- I love coffee; I prefer it black with brown sugar.
Being Puerto Rican, you probably started drinking coffee like I did, when you were young. Any stories about how you started drinking coffee that you want to share with me?
- My parents are coffee lovers and I always saw Mommy brewing coffee very early in the morning until one day I got up early and surprised them… and I made them coffee.
I know you grew up in Orocovis, and I know that we are “almost family.” We both grew up very close to the Alvarado family, and we enjoyed their music and parties, especially at Christmas time. Tell me about your childhood.
- My favorite time of the year is Christmas. My family always took me to parties. I was raised around excellent musicians and singers, starting with my mother who is an exceptional singer, my dad who was the one who taught me my first chords, as well as playing the güiro, my uncle Bolivar who plays the cuatro, the accordion and the violin, and other relatives like Francisco “Kinso” Alvarado who plays the guitar. They were my first influence on music and since I was little I carried my guitar for all the parties.
I imagine that this is how your interest in music arises. So when did you start writing songs?
- I started writing songs in high school. As I mentioned in the previous question, the Christmas season is my biggest influence on music. After studying various musical influences, like the Beatles for example, I felt ready to compose.
And when did you decide to try music professionally?
- I met Javy Fernández at work, and he is a producer and arranger. He was setting up a recording studio and we started working on different songs that I had already composed. With his magic, he turned my songs into a commercial project.
Has your dedication to music affected your profession or your personal life?
- No, it hasn’t affected me, there is time for everything. I was working in banking as an auditor, then as a residential building manager and currently I work for an engineering firm, I am also currently studying civil engineering. My personal life has not been affected, my family supports me especially my wife. My children are fascinated that their father is a musician. Without music my life simply wouldn’t be as wonderful as it has been and is.
The support of the family is definitely super important. How has the experience been of participating in activities as a singer, as a musician?
- It has been the most comforting thing I have ever experienced. I love being on stage. I was born for this. I was opening the concert of the legendary rock band Saga, and this was an unforgettable experience, the audience asked us to continue singing. In addition, I had the honor of being a guest singer at the concert of the Puerto Rican band Puya at the Viva La Rock Fest in Guajataca in 2018.
Wow! You also have several collaborations with other artists. Tell me a little about who you have written for.
- I have collaborated with Nico Favio, son of the Argentine singer-songwriter Leonardo Favio, in which we interpret the famous song of his father Ella ya me olvidó. I was involved with Ramón Ortiz (Puya’s guitarist) in his project Firecan proyect. I have also worked with Odd John Hawkins writing songs and performing them. And, I was also in the song #UNION of the Puerto Rican band Tropa along with artists like Vivanativa, Ignacio Peña, Sol de Menta, Pekeke, La Obra de Marte, Emanuelli among other great exponents of Puerto Rican Rock and roll. I was, with my song “Quiero”, in the first 30 songs of the year on the famous station “AZ Rock” antes “Alfa Rock”.
Your most recent single, La videoparranda, arises from the restrictions that the Covid pandemic has imposed on all of us. How did the idea of writing the song and making a video come about?
- As a result of the situation we are experiencing, it is not possible to have parties at home. You know that we Orocoveños, we are very excited when this date arrives to be with the family and to party. So that the family would not be left pending, with the desire to party, I decided to make this song. Each family can identify with it. Puerto Ricans like Christmas very much. It’s a time for one to do something to make people happy on the Island, and to get the Christmas spirit out. It would be good for us to realize what we have around us, that maybe it is the only time we have to be with the family 100%, because when we start working, we are going to want that time to be with the children, the family, for quality time.
The Covid pandemic has also put many projects on hold for a lot of people. Any future project you want to talk about?
- Actually, this pandemic is when I’ve been able to make the most music. The time we were quartered was a valuable time to compose and sing at my house and put aside the covers of other artists’ songs. I assure you that I am crazy to sing my songs live in front of many people and that everyone hums them. I have many projects in mind and we are working on them. I’m sure when this is over there will be plenty of gigs.
Thanks for sharing your story with me. And so it will be! I hope that many projects are achieved and that you have many gigs to come! (Gigs refer to hires and invitations to events as a musician.)
To learn more about Abcir, follow him! Visit their page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AbcirFanPage, and follow him on Twitter as @Abcir https://twitter.com/Abcir. Also follow him on Instagram as @Abcir_music_maker and listen to his music on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/Abcirmusic.
I hope you all enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed writing it. It’s a great opportunity for me to be able to introduce you to all these amazing people.
I’ll keep reading, I’ll keep writing, I’ll keep dreaming! I have some more pending projects to work on. Thank you for reading! It’s time for mi tacita de café. ¡Salud!
Para la versión en español, vea https://fullofcoffeeblog.com/como-llegue-aqui-una-tacita-de-cafe-con-el-musico-abcir-melendez-torres/