The BBE Store in London Fields is now stocking an incredible selection of Afro-Latin music, having purchased a collection from Venezuelan cultural icon Lil del Valle Rodriguez.
An ebullient, articulate journalist, broadcaster and cultural commentator and daughter of a well-known activist against the repressive military regime of President Marcos Perez Jimenez in the 50s , Lil’s name has been synonymous for decades with latino musical culture both in South America and in the Caribbean. Her innumerable articles have appeared in El Diario de Caracas, El Nacional, El Globo and many other periodicals and newspapers. Her long running radio programmes, broadcast from Caracas and for a while from Havana, have long been regarded as benchmarks of excellence, the shows covering not only mainstream salsa, afro-latin jazz and latin dance, but also regional and traditional music from Colombia, Panama, Mexico, Chile, Cuba, Argentina, the French and Hispanic Caribbean and elsewhere.
Lil’s 2007 book Bailando En La Casa Del Trompo (literally ‘Dancing In The House Of The Spinning-Top’ – a latino saying roughly equivalent to the English phrase ‘Teaching Grandma To Suck Eggs’) is an encyclopedic treasure-chest of history and information about the great figures of Afro-Latin music, from Tito Puente and Beny More to Eddie Palmieri and the various Venezuelan legends: Ray Perez, Federico, Guaco, Trabuco Venezolano, Oscar D”Leon, Perucho and many others.
After a lifetime in music and journalism, Lil recently decided to hang up her headphones, and to liquidate a large part of her collection to finance her retirement. Lil’s vinyl collection is as legendary as she is herself: thousands upon thousands of rare latin records that are probably unavailable anywhere else in the world today in such excellent condition (Lil was never a club DJ, and so the precious vinyl has remained safely sleeved and shelved except for radio play!). After much negotiation, BBE made Lil an acceptable offer for a large part of the collection.
These incredible records are now available at The BBE Store in London. If you’re unable to make it there, the staff will be gradually adding this massive collection to their Discogs Page over the next few months.