June 2007 FANIA Newsletter
Fania: News and Updates
A Hot, FANIA summer!
It’s an exciting time for us at FANIA—a brand new batch of hard hitting, summer releases is bound to captivate a new generation of music aficionados. Here are some upcoming highlights:
Just in case you’ve been living on a desert island, the much-anticipated Héctor Lavoe Hollywood biopic El Cantante, starting Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopes—will be hitting movie screens across the globe in August. To commemorate this special occasion, Fania will release El Cantante: The Originals, a career retrospective of the legendary Puerto Rican singer.
The album will feature all the songs included in the Jennifer Lopez produced film, plus an exclusive remix of “Mi Gente” by Louie Vega—the celebrated DJ from Masters at Work and Lavoe’s nephew. Stay tuned for more details on the film El Cantante by visiting us on the web at faniarecords.com
Moving on, the exclusive STARBUCKS album, Salsa Explosion is a collection of the best tracks from Fania’s renowned catalog. This album features 15 classic songs from the greatest players of the Fania family, including Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Héctor Lavoe and Ray Barretto. The new compilation will make a perfect gift for those looking to take their first steps into the deep grooving world of salsa.
Now let’s take a bold step into the future with FANIA LIVE 01:From The Meat Market, featuring the skills of New York City’s DJ Rumor. The LIVE series incorporates new elements of dance music from the greatest DJ’s in the world and completely re-imagines the FANIA sound for the 21st century.
The journey begins with DJ Rumors’ seamless fiesta mix of 20 Fania classic cuts—an innovative way to re-experience the one and only FANIA sound.
1975: The Year Héctor Lavoe Released His Solo Debut.
Did you know the album La Voz marked a new and electrifying phase for Héctor Lavoe’s illustrious career?
Yes, by 1974 Héctor Lavoe was known for his role as the lead singer for the best selling Willie Colón salsa orchestra—scoring hits like “Che Che Cole” and “Abuelita”. Even so, Lavoe’s first solo effort came to fruition when an over-exhausted Willie Colón decides to abdicate his role as bandleader in 1974.
Taking over from Colón, Héctor Lavoe became the new orchestra leader and work began on the flawless La Voz (The Voice) in 1975. The new album was produced and arranged by none other than Willie Colón—who remained a life-long friend of Lavoe.
The record featured some of the most beloved songs from Lavoe’s career. Especially important, was the inclusion of the Johnny Pacheco penned “Mi Gente” (My People) arguably the most popular song in the Lavoe repertoire—a rallying cry for Latino unity.
The record also features the vocals by a young Rubén Blades, who supplied the chorus to most of the songs.
Lavoe’s debut was received to widespread critical and commercial acclaim: with fans and critics marveling over Lavoe’s melodious, powerful, velvet voice. What’s more, La Voz went on to win “Best Male Vocalist” and “Best Orchestra” in the respected Latin NY magazine and the 1975 debut album remains to this day, the perfect document of Lavoe’s status as the king of NYC salsa.
Standout Tracks on La Voz: “El Todopoderoso” “Rompe Saraguey” and “Mi Gente”
La Lupe “Queen of Latin Soul”
No other female artist revolutionized the sixties music scene like the incomparable La Lupe. Born 1939 in Cuba—Lupe Victoria Yoli Raymond (a.k.a. La Lupe) is regarded as the “Queen of Latin Soul, ” a title given to her by the legendary Tito Puente..
Throughout the 1960’s La Lupe acted as the lead singer for the Puerto Rican bandleader Tito Puente, selling a then unheard of, 500,000 copies of their debut La Excitante La Lupe Canta con El Maestro Tito Puente in 1965.
The American and Spanish media loved La Lupe; she preformed hits like “Take It Easy” and “America” to adoring crowds at prestigious venues such as the Carnegie Hall and the Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The Cuban chanteuse’s recordings were punctuated by over top exclamations and inimitable style of intonation. Numerous fans were drawn to her “street talk” and also to her diva image.
La Lupe was one of the first Latin performers to bring a real sense of “high theater” to her live shows. Betrayal and loss were La Lupe’s favorite themes and with each performance she brought those dark, inner dramas to life—it was not uncommon for La Lupe to tear her clothes apart and to throw her shoes into the audience.
Unfortunately, La Lupe’s fortunes began to decline after Tito Puente fired the singer from his top selling orchestra. During the seventies, La Lupe released a series of albums, but she was never able to regain her 60’s era sales figures. After her death in 1992, La Lupe’s catalog was re-discovered by a new generation of fans. Her interpretation of “La Tirana” (The Tyrant) was included in the Pedro Almodovar film Woman In The Verge of A Nervous Breakdown. Top selling Artists, like the reggaetón diva Ivy Queen have cited La Lupe as major influence and an in-depth documentary by Ela Troyano will be premiering this September in the United States, PBS television stations.
Would La Lupe be surprised by all the ongoing attention to her work? Not at all, in 1971 she told Look magazine, “people like me because I live the life they secretly yearn to live.” After more than 15 years after her death, La Lupe remains the unquestionable Queen of Latin Soul.
Essential Album: They Call Me La Lupe
Featured Classic Album
Cruz and Colón: Only They Could Have Made This Album
It’s hard to believe now, but there was a time when New York City salsa was considered by some to be a passing fad. Old timers thought the genre lacked the soul and flavor of the original tropical rumbas, boleros and guarachas. So in 1977, when an old-school chanteuse like Celia Cruz collaborated with salsa’s bad boy Willie Colón, salsa had a new level of credibility.
At the time of the recording, Colón was busy collaborating with Rubén Blades, but he found time to produce this hard-hitting salsa gem, and along the way revive the career of the great Celia Cruz.
The record’s strength was the variety of mixed musical styles. From the opening Brazilian samba of “Usted Abuso” (You Abused Me) to the funk horns of “Zambullete” (Submerged) the album finds Cruz stretching beyond her traditional repertoire. The highlight is the Johnny Pacheco’s “Pun Pun Catalu,” a shimmering number that showed Cruz at the height of her vocal abilities.
As for Colón the album gave great credibility to his genre, and he proved to his peers that he could work his production magic with legendary artists like Celia Cruz.
Stand Out Tracks:”Zambullete, “Burundanga” and Pun Pun Catalu”
1948-2007 Tito Gomes: singer La Sonora Ponceña, Ray Barretto
1941-2007 Hector Casanova: singer Johnny Pacheco orchestra, the Fania All Stars
New Releases June 2007
Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez Soy La Ley
Roberto Roena La Herencia
Charlie Palmieri La Herencia
Ismael Quintana La Herencia
Eddie Palmieri Molasses
Tommy Olivencia Introducing Lalo Rodriguez &Simon Perez
Roberto Roena Super Apollo
Fania Live 01//From The Meat Market
Angel Canales Sabor
Sonora Ponceña Sabor Sureño
Julio Castro Julio Castro y La Masacre
Estrellas De La Fania Vol. 2