By Toni Nicholas
Mention the name “Menudo” back in the eighties and the reaction would be much like Bieber fever, but
more like “Menudo-mania” as it was referred to back in the day. However, on Monday I mentioned the
name to a few co-workers who were like um, who? Not too sure whether the question gave away that
they were under 30 or I was um, well a Michael Jackson, Menudo, Jets, Five Star and New Kids on the
Block fan back in the eighties. Ahh the eighties with Menudo, and a bit of rock, punk rock, pop, bubble
gum groups, American top-forty, Jerry Curls, stone wash jeans, walkman, sweat bands and yes good
Menudo a name that actually meant young ones, was a five member Puerto Rican Boy band formed in
the late 70’s by producer Edgardo Diaz. The concept of the group was such that when a member turned
sixteen he was automatically replaced. At that point there were huge sold out concerts which broke
concert records (making it to the Guinness book of records) to announce his farewell where legions of
adoring fans broke down in tears. Menudo soon stormed out of the Latin American market where they
recorded and sold songs in Spanish and made a big splash in North American and Europe. The group also
became the first to record in multiple languages; Spanish, English, Portuguese and Italian and by the mid
eighties they were the first to own a private jet with their name emblazoned on it.
By the 90’s amidst a flurry of controversy, scandals, gossip and rumours, you know the type that would
make Perez Hilton and TMZ glow, Menudo opened up to include young boys from Mexico and
Some hits from he five curly fros career (where they sold more than 60 million records) include “If
you’re not here by my side,” “Like a canon ball (from the movie Canon ball run), “Quiero Ser,” and “No
one can love you more” and “Summer in the streets” both featuring a 12 year old named Ricky Martin,
who turned out to be the group’s most famous member.
In 2004 facing legal woes Menudo changed its name to MDO with a new member who is looking to
become the next big cross over Latin pop star. Lorenzo Duarte who walked into the Star offices this
week looked everything like a young pop star and model and drew some curious stares from some,
particularly the ladies.
Lorenzo who is from Venezuela spent five years with MDO, before going solo in 2009. And now after
conquering his hometown, Panama and parts of Spain, has decided to not only target North America (he
is now based in Miami) but the Caribbean as well. “There are similarities between not only the music
from Venezuela and Latin America, but in the way we dance too,” Lorenzo said with a wide smile. “So I
thought quite apart from now wanting to record some songs in English I would really like to work with
some Caribbean artistes as well as one or two of the more established and popular names here in Saint
Lucia,” he revealed.
Lorenzo Duarte spent the past few days in Saint Lucia scouting around for locations to shoot his next
music video. “I have really been enjoying the island, great people, friendly and we have seen some really
beautiful sites, the beaches, the waterfalls, where we would love to come back and shoot the next music
video,” he told the Star. This is his first visit to the island and he informed us that he was attracted to
Saint Lucia after viewing last season’s finale of the reality TV series the Bachelor which was filmed in
Saint Lucia. Guess Lorenzo was one of the millions worldwide who did. He has since found out about the
Saint Lucia jazz festival and after hearing about the great reviews is eager to see for himself and maybe
someday perform here too.
Presently the singer has three top twenty singles in Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama, Puerto Rico and parts
of Spain and his videos have been receiving lots of hits on YouTube including the catchy “Pa’lante y
Pa’tas. Do go see.
I asked him about his style of music to which he replied; “my style of music, well I started off doing Pop
and ballads but I really love Caribbean dance music and Latin American and African beats so my music
has evolved, creating my own style. So I just keep growing and learning and developing as an artiste who
is eager to put out good music for my listeners.”
The Venezuela native says he embraces all kinds of music and listens from Michael Jackson to Ricky
Martin, Justin Timberlake to Luis Miguel. “For me music is music and for my own music I like to be a part
of the creation, the songwriting the production, because I want to ensure that I am putting my name on
something I am confident about and happy with and in turn hopefully the people will like,” Lorenzo says.
Lorenzo Duarte has just started a tour of his homeland and will move into Panama then the Dominican
Republic before returning to Saint Lucia for some radio promotions and final decisions on his music
video which he intends to shoot here on island pretty soon.