Street sign honors musician at border of Hialeah and Miami Lakes

Wednesday, September 4, 2019 0 Comments

Street sign honors musician at border of Hialeah and Miami Lakes

A musician who helped develop the “Miami Sound” has a street named in his honor.
Carlos Oliva — considered a pioneer for mixing Cuban rhythms with jazz who worked with prominent musical artists from South Florida — has a corner to call his own.
On Aug. 16 and before before Oliva and his family and friends, Miami-Dade Commissioner Esteban Bovo, Jr. unveiled a sign at the corner of Northwest 138th Street and Northwest 67th Avenue that reads “Carlos Oliva Way.”
The intersection is at the southeastern border of Hialeah and Miami Lakes, and Oliva said, “The two cities are very important to me.”
Oliva’s more than 50 years creating and performing music began in Cuba, where he was born and where he began playing the bongos. A percussionist and singer, Oliva studied bands to learn how to play different genres of music, including Rumba, Conga, Cancion, Danzon and Punto Guarjiro, he said.
In 1961, he moved to Miami, started an eight-member band and over the years, met other artists who were making their way, including Willy Chirino and Emilio and Gloria Estefan.
Oliva performed with Chirino and said he also produced music for the Estefans’ band, Miami Sound Machine.
The song “Live Again” (“Renacer”) was the Estefans’ first hit that he helped produce, Oliva said.
“It was very popular,” he said. “I was lucky to have worked with Emilio and Gloria Estefan.”
His band’s name, The Judge’s Nephews, reflected the 1960s trend of weird names for music acts.
They still perform at private parties last summer, at the Magic City Casino in Miami, he said.
Oliva, 76, said he was overwhelmed when he was told the street would be named for him.
“I was very surprised and honored,” Oliva said. “It’s a real honor and I was very emotional. I thank Commissioner Bovo for an outstanding idea.”
Back in the day, Oliva’s band performed on Miami Beach and in Hialeah. And in Miami Lakes, he once had a recording studio.
Now a Biscayne Park resident, Oliva said officials in Miami-Dade County and Hialeah offered different corners to place his street sign. He said he chose the Hialeah location because it’s near the entrance of the town where he once created music.
“I still love performing, even after 50 years,” Oliva said.
Bovo called Oliva one of the best performers and producers in the country.
“I’m honored to designate a street to Carlos Oliva,” Bovo said. “[As] leader of The Judge’s Nephews and Sound of Miami, Carlos is an inspiration to many, as his music brought Cuba’s rich and vibrant culture to the international stage.”
Oliva said a career highlight was winning a regional Emmy Award for producing a music promo for Univision’s WLTV-DT Channel 23.
“I will always cherish the Emmy Award,” he said.
Olivia is married to Jeanne Giordano and the couple has two daughters, Diana Olivia and Carla Jean Oliva, who were present when his street sign was unveiled.

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