Sólo Cantar: A Celebration of Life through Story and Song

Sólo Cantar: A Celebration of Life through Story and Song

From LeLaina Romero

Sólo Cantar comes to Durham, NC and your screens on 4/30/22! This show raises funds for the ALSA, NC Chapter, celebrates the healing power of music and my father Luis's life, and supports local Black and Brown artists!

Support this campaign

Subscribe to follow campaign updates!

Recent Updates

Update #17

about 1 month ago

WOW!!! We started the day needing to raise almost $1,000. Now, we are less than $250 away from our summer fundraising goal! 2 people can donate $125. 5 people can donate $50. 10 people can donate $25. So close!

Let me tell you why we want to surpass our $10K goal. We estimate $10K to be about 50% of production for the show and EP album. We've booked the venue and hired producers and bandleaders. We have a fabulous event producer and DJ. We are on our way to building a great website where people can connect and get timely info.

We still need to hire the band, pay the remainder on the venue, promote promote promote, feed people, and more. We're hoping for some in kind donations, so if you know a local Durham NC business that can help with food, printing, publicity, let us know!

The biggest reason to exceed this $10K goal is that every dollar above production goes directly to the ALS Association, NC Chapter, supporting people living with ALS and those who love and care for them. A portion of those funds go to research to treat and cure this disease. ALS is progressive and fatal. Everyone has been struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, and those who are chronically and terminally ill have been impacted greatly.

Let's create an evening of celebration and music and community beyond April 30th, 2022. Stay tuned for more musical joy!!!

More Info

The Show

On April 30th, 2022, Brevan Hampden Music Productions, Le’Andra McPhatter, Ally J, event producer Jyvonne Haskin,  LeLaina Romero (that’s me!), and a beautiful community of musicians and storytellers bring Sólo Cantar to life—first on the stage at PSI Theatre and after the show with DJ Gemynii in Semans Gallery! 

Sólo Cantar is a show lifting up the healing power of music through songs and stories connecting generations, cultures, and lived experiences, and is a celebration my father Luis's life. He died of complications related to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease) on June 20th, 2016. Funds raised from the show will support the ALS Association, North Carolina Chapter.

Along with covers of some of Luis's favorite songs from the last 60 plus years, the show will debut four original songs that I wrote! We are recording the songs this summer to promote the show, and will sell the EP that night so you can go home with songs to remember, including some crowd sing-a-alongs!

~Thank you to those of you who helped raise almost $4,000 at the beginning of 2020, when the show was originally scheduled! Your generosity helped us book our venue, book our producers and DJ, and begin paying for web promotion. Your generosity is appreciated! The fundraiser continues and the show will go on! Please share!~

Luis Felipe Romero, Jr.

Music speaks to us and heals us in powerful ways, and my father was profoundly aware of that. Luis was born in Humacao, Puerto Rico on January 18th, 1948 and moved to Red Hook, Brooklyn with his family when he was four years old. He was the oldest of his parents’ eight children. He grew up a lover of music and poetry and shared a deep appreciation for music of many styles with his family. He served in the Navy in the mid 1960’s, and played a lot of paddleball in Queens in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s. 

In the last few years of his life, Luis was always in search of beautiful images of people and places to frame and share with family and friends. He loved nature and animals and was always ready to talk about his fishing adventures and new wildlife discoveries that he’d read about, saw on video, or experienced firsthand. One of his last experiences before he became ill was a really sweet connection with a manatee. 

Luis’s work life was as eclectic as his musical tastes. His mechanical and creative mind helped him thrive as an electrical mechanic in a number of settings. He was also very proud of his service as a correctional officer for fourteen years in Orange County, Florida.

His loved ones include siblings, children, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. We miss him deeply and tell strange and funny stories about him when we get together. His life was not free from pain, loss, and struggle, and Sólo Cantar will celebrate the resilience of those struggling with mental illness and addiction as we lift up the healing power of music.

Support People Living with ALS

Uncertainty and risk around COVID-19 has impacted all of us, and that certainly includes people living with ALS and their loved ones, many of whom need specialized care, numerous doctor’s appointments, and may live in skilled nursing facilities. Click here to learn more about ALS.

My family and I are so grateful for the work of the ALS Association North Carolina Chapter. Through one of the hardest times for our family, they supported us in navigating the costs, complexities, and grief of coping with what turned out to be a rapid decline in dad's functioning. Specifically, they were able to connect us with compassionate ALS experts, and their Loan Equipment Program alleviated the cost of adaptive equipment. The chapter's work supports people living with ALS and their families, as well as medical research to end this devastating disease.

Any funds raised beyond what we need for production will go directly to the ALS Association, NC Chapter! 

Support Black and Brown Artists

Finally, giving to this fundraiser also directly supports Black and Brown artists and local businesses in Durham, NC, leading to an event that will support the great work of the ALSA NC Chapter. Please contact us if you're interested in sponsorship or other collaborations!

You can donate offline via Venmo @LeLaina-Romero, Cash App $LeLainaRomero, or https://www.paypal.me/lelainaR, or contact me directly to mail a check (write sólo cantar in the memo). 

Sólo Cantar Logo design by Alex Kapitan

Campaign Wall

Join the Conversation

Sign in with your Facebook account or

Help LeLaina raise $10,000 by making a donation.

Choose A Giving Level

LeLaina Romero posted a new update:
about 1 month ago

Update #17

WOW!!! We started the day needing to raise almost $1,000. Now, we are less than $250 away from our summer fundraising goal! 2 people can donate $125. 5 people can donate $50. 10 people can donate $25. So close!

Let me tell you why we want to surpass our $10K goal. We estimate $10K to be about 50% of production for the show and EP album. We've booked the venue and hired producers and bandleaders. We have a fabulous event producer and DJ. We are on our way to building a great website where people can connect and get timely info.

We still need to hire the band, pay the remainder on the venue, promote promote promote, feed people, and more. We're hoping for some in kind donations, so if you know a local Durham NC business that can help with food, printing, publicity, let us know!

The biggest reason to exceed this $10K goal is that every dollar above production goes directly to the ALS Association, NC Chapter, supporting people living with ALS and those who love and care for them. A portion of those funds go to research to treat and cure this disease. ALS is progressive and fatal. Everyone has been struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, and those who are chronically and terminally ill have been impacted greatly.

Let's create an evening of celebration and music and community beyond April 30th, 2022. Stay tuned for more musical joy!!!

Join the Conversation

Sign in with your Facebook account or

LeLaina Romero posted a new update:
about 1 month ago

Update #16

Friends, today is the last day of summer!! Help us raise over $924 to exceed our summer fundraising goal.

That's 4 people donating $231 or
20 people donating $46.20 or
50 people donating $18.48

Let's pay these incredible Black and Brown musicians so we can dig into this music, celebrate the healing power of music, and support The ALS Association North Carolina Chapter!

You can also donate via Venmo @LeLaina-Romero, Cash App $LeLainaRomero, or https://www.paypal.me/lelainaR. Or contact me directly to use Zelle or mail a check (write sólo cantar in the memo).

Join the Conversation

Sign in with your Facebook account or

LeLaina Romero posted a new update:
about 1 month ago

Update #15

Our most recent donation came from a beloved of a beloved...sharing the musical joy, the possibility, the intangible gifts that music pours out is how this show will happen, and how this space is being created.

To dive deep into the music and bring you not just a show, but an experience of collective celebration, release, and more, we are working to exceed our $10K end of summer goal. The Fall Equinox approaches- September 22nd around 3pm Eastern time. Can you share this fundraiser or donate today to help us raise over $10,000, pay Black and Brown musicians, and kick off Sólo Cantar space, which will keep giving gifts as we collectively nurture it? Like these late summer flowers and the butterfly carrying nectar and pollen pictured here.

LeLaina took this photo in Tucker, Georgia, close to her new home. If you saw our last update, you know that there are so many powerful actions we can take if we exceed our fundraising goal. Another of these is bringing more of the healing power of music to other cities, like Atlanta where LeLaina and her family live now! And of course, to all of you in virtual ways. Thank goodness for those in these times. We hope to see you in Durham on April 30th, 2022, where we will raise much needed funds for the ALS Association, NC Chapter.

You can also donate via Venmo @LeLaina-Romero, Cash App $LeLainaRomero, or https://www.paypal.me/lelainaR. Or contact LeLaina directly to use Zelle or mail a check (write sólo cantar in the memo).

Join the Conversation

Sign in with your Facebook account or

LeLaina Romero posted a new update:
about 1 month ago

Update #14

Help us exceed our $10K summer fundraising goal in the next week!

As of today, we have $1,549 to go to meet our summer fundraising goal! Do you think we can exceed our goal by $1,000? $5,000???

This is what we could do if we exceed $10K:

1. Record the EP album "A Song Will Set Me Free: Songs from Sólo Cantar" this fall, and have it mixed and mastered and ready for distribution in the spring! This will help us promote the show, and get tracks in your ears!

2. We would be more than halfway to raising our total production funds so we can focus on the music for the show!

3. We can PAY BLACK AND BROWN MUSICIANS AND ARTISTS!

4. We can focus on local collaborations in ways that bring support and joy where they’re needed.

5. We will be closer to raising much needed funds for the ALS Association NC Chapter! All money that goes beyond our production needs helps folks living with ALS and their families!

Thanks so much. Make sure you subscribe to LeLaina's YouTube channel: https://tinyurl.com/lelainaR. More healing chants and songs are coming! Gracias por apoyar a este espacio de música, celebración, y sanación.

Join the Conversation

Sign in with your Facebook account or

LeLaina Romero posted a new update:
2 months ago

Update #13

Countdown with us! 6 days to go to raise $1,825 and reach our $10K end of summer goal. Recent donors Dan Carro, Pepper Greene, Denise Garcia, Francisco Ruiz, and Jyvonne Haskin helped us get here! These are folks that I've sung with (including in high school musical theatre!!!) and shared musical community with. We're creating a space that you can join, too, whether you enjoy music by listening, singing, dancing, or all of this and more!

Please consider donating today! And if that's not possible right now, please share the fundraising link!

You can also donate via Venmo @LeLaina-Romero, Cash App $LeLainaRomero, or https://www.paypal.me/lelainaR. Or contact me directly to use Zelle or mail a check (write sólo cantar in the memo).

Join the Conversation

Sign in with your Facebook account or

LeLaina Romero posted a new update:
3 months ago

Update #12

Dear ones, being in the recording studio with the Queen of the Keys, Le'Andra McPhatter, was incredible! And we raised $634 during recording week! Thank you to everyone who donated and shared. Please help us raise $2,594 by the end of this month so this show and space can be fully realized.

We've updated our goal to reflect the target we need by the end of August. This is what we need to record three more songs, produce the EP album, and make sure folks involved are PAID. We need to pay a living wage that reflects the depth of the work folks are doing as we gear up for the April 2022 show that will raise funds for the ALS Association NC Chapter!

Stay tuned for more YouTube videos (https://tinyurl.com/lelainaR to subscribe), a rollout of our Patreon, and all kinds of other ways to support this growing space! (https://www.solocantar.space/).

The music of sólo cantar space is about sharing the healing energy we need through music- celebratory, grieving, raging, joyful- whatever is needed! Thank you for being a part of this. We're so excited to experience more and more healing energy as collaborations deepen.

Join the Conversation

Sign in with your Facebook account or

LeLaina Romero posted a new update:
3 months ago

Update #11

**We need $3,227 to record beyond Shine! Please donate or share today. Even better, do both if you can!!! Read on for the story of Shine.**

Dear ones, LeLaina here, a day before going into the studio to record Shine! It's a song that I wrote for Zora (our five-year-old) though the message is for all of us- all of our lives shine.

Last night, I read Zora a beautiful book called "Child of the Universe" by Ray Jayawardhana and illustrated by Raúl Colón. "Just like the sun gives light to the moon, you light up the world beyond this room," says the dad to his child in the story. "Like in the song I write for you!" I said, and began to sing: "You shine so bright..." and Zora picked it right up: "Your spirit shines, your voice, your smile...your eyes," she sang so sweetly.

I've been singing her this song since she was barely a toddler, when it came to me during a songwriting exercise from Anne Heaton's Soul Songs School. I am ecstatic to share it with all of you, especially at our live show next spring where I'll ask you all to join in as we connect Zora's life to all of ours...as it already is connected in this incredible, mysterious universe!

Please give or share today on the Fundly site. You can also donate via Venmo @LeLaina-Romero, Cash App $LeLainaRomero, or https://www.paypal.me/lelainaR. Or contact me directly to mail a check (write sólo cantar in the memo). Grateful for all of you!

Join the Conversation

Sign in with your Facebook account or

LeLaina Romero posted a new update:
3 months ago

Update #10

BREAKING NEWS! In less than a week, LeLaina is going into BreakAlive Studios in Durham, NC to record the first song for her new EP album, A Song Will Set Me Free: Songs from Sólo Cantar!! "SHINE" is a song celebrating the magnificent kid you see here, and so much more. A Song Will Set Me Free features all original songs and will debut live as part of the April 2022 show!

With your support, please help us get to $10K this weekend by donating any amount you're moved to give and/or sharing the fundraiser and our social media posts! $10K is a significant marker because it allows us to record all the songs for the EP! LeLaina's original songs will be used in upcoming promotional material, and the EP will be available for purchase at the show to benefit the ALS Association NC Chapter.

Join the Conversation

Sign in with your Facebook account or

LeLaina Romero posted a new update:
4 months ago

Update #9

Join us tomorrow- Thursday July 1st at 8pm EST, for a live chat and surprise announcement! Details here: https://tinyurl.com/solocantarsurprise

LeLaina Romero, creator of sólo cantar space, and Jyvonne Haskin, event producer for the sólo cantar show and fabulous vocalist, producer, and music maker (check out https://www.jyvonnehaskin.com) will say more about the story of sólo cantar, share some music, and reveal an exciting surprise!

This week, we're working to reach 40% of our fundraising goal! That means raising an additional $1,525 by Friday.

Can you help us out by donating or sharing today? Your support helps create a live music event featuring artists of color, celebrates the healing power of music and my dad's life, and ultimately supports the ALS Association, North Carolina Chapter!

See you tomorrow night!

Join the Conversation

Sign in with your Facebook account or

LeLaina Romero posted a new update:
4 months ago

Update #8

Hello friends! I wanted to share this post that I recently wrote, reflecting on June 20th and Father's Day. While this is my story, the experiences of pain and joy together are a very human story. If music helps you get through the intensity of life, and if you've been impacted by ALS or another fatal disease, please donate today. And share whether or not you can give money. Thank you!
--------------------------------------------------
It's almost midnight on the 5th anniversary of one of the hardest days of my life, the day that dad took his last breath. The first time it's falling on Father's Day. In 2016, Father's Day was the last full day that I spent with him, in the hospital. I had no idea. I thought we had months. Then, that turned into weeks and then days, and then on June 20th, 2016, just hours. And he said, "I'm sorry about the baby." I was seven months pregnant, and I had been clinging to the hope that he would make it to meet our child.
It was a hard day, but also a beautiful day. Beautiful because he was able to leave this world the way he wanted to. Hard because ALS is an awful disease. And we sang him home. His breathing became regular as I began to sing "Somewhere Only We Know" by Keane, and Mykal Slack and Rev. John L. Saxon joined their voices with mine, and he took took his last breath as the song ended.

It's been a hard year or so, but with some intense beauty that continues to nourish me. The pandemic (some certainly out of human control, but some of it clearly showing the control exerted by unjust systems) has taken far too many people. Far too many Black folks as witnessed by my honey's ministry. A friend with a beautiful soul. We've lost opportunities to mourn losses together and celebrate together. Our exuberantly social kiddo was taken out of her first school experience overnight, fearful of the virus despite our assurances that we were doing our best to keep her safe.

And also, songs that I've been able to bring to completion. Breathtakingly surprising family connections have me washed over with tears of joy and gratitude unpredictably and often. Zora's tenacity and adorable humor. Our household struggling but loving and caring for each other through it all.

Daddy, I miss you. And I feel your presence. I see you in the mischievous twinkle in Zora's eyes. In her comedic timing. In the trees and the water. I feel you in the breeze. I hear you when frogs sing.

You are with us. And you are gone. And there is so much joy and heartbreak together.

Join the Conversation

Sign in with your Facebook account or

LeLaina Romero posted a new update:
4 months ago

Update #7

We have raised $608 dollars this week! Thank you for your support. We need to raise just under $14,000 more for the full vision to be realized.I believe we can reach $7,000 easily by the end of the weekend.. Why not try for $8,000?

We are postponing our live chat and announcement tomorrow because I'm sick and unable to use my voice very much! Stay tuned for a new date very soon.

Next week, we will begin to introduce our creative team in more depth. Pictured here, clockwise from top left:
Brevan Hampden, co-producer band leader, and percussionist. Owner of BreakAlive Studios
Ally J, singer and songwriter
Le'Andra McPhatter, co-producer, pianist, founder/owner of Journey Music Academy, creator of the Queen of the Keys brand
Jyvonne Haskin, event producer, music maker, dope vocalist!
Gemynii, DJ for after party, sound curator, self taught visual artist

More artists, songs, and stories to come! Please donate and share today.

Join the Conversation

Sign in with your Facebook account or

LeLaina Romero posted a new update:
5 months ago

Update #6

This week we’re inviting you deeper into the story of sólo cantar, the show! Join us live this Friday, June 18th, at 2pm EST / 11am PST for some conversation, singing, and a surprise announcement! Please share this event and the fundraiser widely!
https://fb.me/e/1rL4KkfHB

June 20th- Father’s Day this year- will mark 5 years since my dad Luis died of complications related to ALS. The show you’re supporting here is a celebration of his life, and tells some of his story through music. Rhythm & blues, soul, rock, salsa, and pop music across decades and generations. And original songs born of my own journey.

The show is only the beginning of what sólo cantar space will grow into with your support.

What was the beginning of this space, this show? Maybe it was 6-year-old LeLaina dancing and singing her heart out to the Pointer Sisters Break Out record. Or studying the lyrics of the Songs in the Key of Life album by Stevie Wonder, particularly Love’s In Need of Love Today, Village Ghetto Land, Sir Duke, I Wish, As…maybe the beginning was in the many peoples who came together to make me who I am, the blending of melodies, rhythms, and harmonies resulting from the survival and thriving of my ancestors.

More recently, though, this show emerged from the liminal space between dad’s death and my daughter Zora’s birth. At dad's celebration of life just 10 days after he died, my uncle’s pastor said that to honor Luis, all you have to do is sing. Sólo hay que cantar. Those words stayed with me as I sang to our daughter, born just three weeks after dad died. That voice was still with me as Zora turned one, and I had a chat with my dad as an ancestor. The need to create something to celebrate his life was strong, and has evolved into something larger than one story.

So throughout this week, we will honor my dad’s life by sharing more about the healing power of music. About poetry, voice, and instruments coming together. About the music that shaped him as he grew up as a Puerto Rican kid living in Brooklyn. About the music he drifted away from and later embraced. And we’ll end the week with our live conversation. And of course there will be singing.

Thank you for being with us. We need to raise another $14,268 to make this happen. This show will support a lot of artists, the Durham Arts Council, and will lead to a fundraiser for the ALS Association, North Carolina Chapter in 2022. Everything we raise beyond production will support the vital work of the chapter in getting needed resources to people living with ALS and those who love them.

This will be a joyous celebration of live music, which will be so delicious, as long as we keep taking care of one another. Please donate and / or share this fundraiser today!

You can also donate offline via Venmo @LeLaina-Romero, Cash App $LeLainaRomero, or https://www.paypal.me/lelainaR, or contact me directly to mail a check.

Join the Conversation

Sign in with your Facebook account or

LeLaina Romero posted a new update:
5 months ago

Update #5

We have updated the fundraiser with our original goal and the $3,879 that came in through our 2020 pre-pandemic launch. Thanks to donations this week, we have raised over $5,000 toward our $20,000 goal! We are a QUARTER of the way to raising production funds.

By donating or sharing today:
1) You support musicians and other creatives of color
2) You support independent music- producers, singer / songwriters, and instrumentalists
3) You support local businesses in Durham, NC
4) You help us create an evening of songs and stories that will raise funds to support people living with ALS and their families
5) You help raise awareness about ALS, which is a terrible and progressive neurodegenerative disease.

RIGHT NOW, the best thing you can do is share this link to spread the word about Sólo Cantar space and this show. You may not have the funds today,, or you may need a little time to figure out what you can give. Please share via social media and email!

Thank you. Let's keep singing! Sigamos cantando!

Join the Conversation

Sign in with your Facebook account or

LeLaina Romero posted a new update:
5 months ago

Update #4

We have raised over $1,100!!! Only $879 to go to hire that horn section.

Salsa, soul, and jazz lovers know how important horns are...and the magic that can happen when these styles merge.

The magic happens through relationships. Collaboration. Connection.

Check out a rough vocal cut of my song "be here" for an example of collaboration on my YouTube channel below. Chris Macon brought my simple song to a higher level with his instruments, production, deep listening and passion!

More recordings to come this summer with Brevan Hampden and Le'Andra D. Williams. If your musical tastes can't be narrowed down to one style, I think you'll enjoy A Song Will Set You Free: Songs from Sólo Cantar!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBWorPJD_ZQ3CmP6j6b0fNg

This picture is my dad Luis and his great granddaughter Chloe, collaborating on some art. It was his favorite picture of himself- not about him, but the next generations. Thanks for your support!

Join the Conversation

Sign in with your Facebook account or

LeLaina Romero posted a new update:
5 months ago

Update #3

WOW!!! With 19 supporters, we have raised over $1,000! Let's keep this energy going so that we can support independent musicians and artists, and focus on raising funds for The ALS Association North Carolina Chapter!!!

Will you share and help us get to $2000 so we can hire the horn section by the end of the day? We can’t have salsa without horns!!! Who do you think will be featured in the Latin set?

Join the Conversation

Sign in with your Facebook account or

LeLaina Romero posted a new update:
5 months ago

Update #2

Hello dear ones! It's Sunday night, and we've raised $876!!!! We can hire one band member (of nine), and we can rent and tune that piano for the Queen of the Keys, Le'Andra McPhatter! Can you donate some of the money you haven't been spending on live events? Can you share this with people who are passionate about the healing power of music, or bringing an end to ALS? THANK YOU to our 11 donors and all of our supporters.

Join the Conversation

Sign in with your Facebook account or

LeLaina Romero posted a new update:
6 months ago

Update #1

Incredible! We've raised $820 in the first 24 hours of this campaign!!! Thank you everyone for your support. Share widely- every share means more people get to hear about the vision of this space and show, and will get us closer to our goal.

This weekend, we will reach at least $1000, paying to hire two of the nine band members needed in addition to our co-leaders. Can we make it to 4 musicians- $2000! We are hiring horn players for sure- Salsa music de la Isla Borikén features heavily! Please share and give what you can!

Join the Conversation

Sign in with your Facebook account or