As 2016 dawns and the Holiday Season fades away, Jose Feliciano, while not yet on tour, is actively preparing for another productive, creative and significant year ahead.
Even now, Jose is planning his repertoire and rehearsing for a number of symphonic performances in 2016, one already confirmed in Puerto Rico, and others currently in negotiation. Knowing that the Mozart castrati pieces that he transcribed for guitar are no easier to play simply because he’s recorded them(!) Jose has committed himself to listening to them, rehearsing them, hammering them, truly making them his own…
Amidst his interpretations of the master, W.A. Mozart, Feliciano continues to write and record his own music, some of them to be included in another upcoming release, “Latin Street,” later in the year. “I’m not rushing it. We have something like 22 songs thus far, some of them my own, all in different stages of development — this album is really cooking now. New things are still being added and I’m really excited about it. We getting close. We have a lot going on.”
Weather-wise, during this mid-January Connecticut, the bottom has (finally) dropped out of the thermometer, cruelly reminding us that we do, after all, live in New England. Jose, nonetheless, still continues to break a sweat in the gym at least 3 days a week. “It takes my mind off of the weather and keeps me focused on the future. New years have that effect on people, but I’m on a mission to keep going and am doing really well. Even with my asthma, I know that working out is part of the reason why I’m feeling so strong…”
Jose’s constitution does remain strong on many levels, as he follows current events, voicing his concerns and insights on a variety of subjects. Trying to remain neutral on topics like politics (“not easy” he admits), he stays in touch with a number of reliable news sources, those he trusts including CNN’s Fareed Zakaria and Christiane Armanpour (with whom he spoke last year on-air), as well as EWTN’s Correspondent, another personal friend, Raymond Arroyo. With some self-searching, he even made a mini-pilgrimage to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, walking more than a dozen blocks (felt like a hundred) in a snow squall to enter through the “Holy Doors,” which are only opened during years of Jubilee. This “Year of Mercy,” as it’s being called, calls us to indulge in God’s infinite mercy and share it with everyone in our lives. “That’s a big order, but doable. Very doable. Very necessary, too. We need to show kindness to one another. Show mercy. Pay it forward. My first concert of this year, as a matter of fact, will be a fundraiser in Los Angeles for the Junior Blind of America. With it, I’m saying ‘thank you’ to the people and organizations who had helped me as a kid and I’m hoping that my work there will help some other young people now and in the future.”
Looking towards the rest of the year, at this point, Jose already knows that he will be traveling to Europe, South America, Asia and, of course, throughout the US in support of those new recordings which will be released during 2016.
Finally, in addition to the planning, rehearsing, recording and working out, Jose’s January keeps him close to the “Hot Stove;” baseball’s label for the off-season banter that goes on during the wintertime. Jose joins in heavily with all of the speculation and counts the days til “pitchers & catchers.” He’s continually up for a conversation on this evergreen topic: Baseball. Baseball and music. Music and baseball…and the beat goes on…