Galileo

Did you think I wouldn’t tell you about the blog name?

Galileo is what we named our group about 24 years ago. Chon the poet thought of the name, and I loved it right away.

In the little town (rancho) that Chon is from, everybody, but everybody has a nickname. When he was a musician in Chicago, he was called Diego (by an enterprising promoter), Leo by fans (pronounced Lay-o by Spanish speakers, Lee-o by English speakers). He even had a couple of different names at his day jobs. Chon is a nickname, as well, for his given name.

Well, my name is Gail, certainly not hispanic-compatible, and at the time we began practicing together in Los Angeles, planning to start a group, I was working with a Spanish speaking woman who pronounced my name Gali (sort of like Golly). We became, then, Galileo.

Our first paying gig, I think, was in a restaurant in Pasadena. I was really new at this kind of performing. I was a “classically trained” pianist, a reader, and suddenly I was playing from “charts” with chords and lyrics – in Spanish! Not much longer after this period, we began playing on Olvera Street, at La Golondrina regularly, and then for their annual posadas.

The group has gone through many changes. At one time Chon trained a bass player, Karina. She was a very pleasant person, easy-going and fun, who often fell asleep on stage. Then he trained another bass player, Cindy, a teacher, who attempted to take over the management of the group.  He trained a drummer, Dinora. Together we trained three little girls, all nearly the same age, to sing and play rhythm. We did several performances with them. They grew up and went their various directions. We trained three older girls, sisters, but that didn’t really work out.

We added Chon’s brother, Jorge, as a bass player. An artist, he much prefers art to practicing. We added a Guatemalan drummer, a sad-faced, excellent baterista whose heart was not really in it. We tried adding other percussionists, and other guitarists.

Then Sara came. She chose her own nickname, Chiquita. She was very small – many years later, still is! In a short while she improved all her native talents. She is a wonderful human being with a beautiful voice and positive attitude. She plays drums and sings! People love her, and they love her singing. When the three of us play there are so many possibilities. Our voices sound great together in any combination, and we are a force to deal with.

Galileo has been called Grupo Galileo, Grupåzo Galileo, Dueto Galileo, Orquesta Galileo, Banda Galileo. But right now Galileo is Chon and me, the way we did our annual holiday performance on Olvera Street, or Chon and Sara and me.

This is where we played on our roof last New Year’s Eve. If we ever get out of Nogales, maybe the three of us will give a concert on the new stage we have built!

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