Fania Newsletter – October 2007

October Newsletter 2007


Cool news and hot happenings for all the FANIA lovers out there

We like to take this moment to wish all of our great Fania friends a great Halloween night!

That’s right, it’s Halloween, which means it’s time to get those Héctor Lavoe aviator sunglasses and that cool retro leisure suit for a night of fun and thrills.

To celebrate Halloween in proper Fania style we recommend our new hard-hitting Héctor Lavoe Greatest Hits collection. Héctor was a true icon, and this hard-hitting compilation will take you on an exciting journey thru all of his greatest hits—discover why Héctor is simply known as El Cantante!

Speaking of legendary musicians, we are also offering a brand new Ray Barretto Greatest Hits album. Ray was known as the undisputed king of the congas. His world famous “hard hands” graced some of the best tunes in the Fania catalog. From Latin Jazz, to Salsa and Latin Soul, Ray Barretto was the guiding force in rhythmic innovation. Musicians from genres as varied as rock, R&B, salsa and dance music hail Barretto as an inspiration for their beats. Now you can enjoy the best from Fania’s classic conga man in our new Greatest Hits compilation.

They Call Me La Lupe
Released Date: 1966

We all know by now the great Celia Cruz was the “Queen of Salsa.” Even so, at the other side of the coin lies the incomparable force of nature known as La Lupe—“The Queen of Latin Soul.”

Born Lupe Victoria Yoli Raymond in 1939, La Lupe set the Havana cabaret scene on fire with her unique style known as “puro teatro” (high theater.) Once in New York City, La Lupe became the singer for the legendary Tito Puente Orchestra, and her status as a fearless performer was cemented with a series of classic albums.

The1966 release They Call Me La Lupe represents a departure for La Lupe. For this album she was ready to embrace the new sound coming from the electric city of New York. The album features an all out rendition of Aaron Copland’s Broadway classic “America” sung in La Lupe’s singular speedy style, the song becomes a celebration of Latin hope and ambition in the United States.

Another English sung melody is the leyendary “Take It Easy” one of her best-known hits. The record triumphs because its not afraid to mix tropical sounds with Jazz and Soul—and stands even to this day as one of the best crossover LP’s from the sixties.

We have re-mastered They Call Me La Lupe to bring out its deep grooves and La Lupe’s iconic voice. The album includes extensive liner notes and rare never before seen pictures.

Fania History

1976: Rubén Blades Signs With Fania and Salsa Goes Political

Salsa was the voice of the street, performers like Héctor Lavoe and Larry Harlow knew how to express the heart and soul of the Spanish speaking Barrios in New York City.

Even so, it would be up to the great singer/poet Rubén Blades to bring politics and activism into the sizzling salsa scene.

It was in 1976, when Fania co-founder Jerry Masucci had a revelation, ‘to unite Rubén Blades with his superstar trombonist, the great Willie Colón. The experiment would end up changing salsa forever. The resulting record was 1977’s Metiendo Mano. Listeners where immediately taken aback by the deeper, thoughtful numbers like “Plantación” and “Pablo Pueblo.” Tracks such as “Pablo Pueblo” Blades explored the inner lives of everyday people, giving them depth and soul, in a way never before done in salsa.

The public responded with an unprecedented wave of enthusiasm surpassing all sales expectations, the world was ready for this new deep salsa movement and Jerry Masucci knew he had struck gold with the new Colón/Blades duo: the deep horns of Willie and the insightful lyrics by Rubén made them the new golden boys of salsa.

Featured Review

Willie Colón: OG Original Gangster

The great Willie Colón is the common link between superstars like Héctor Lavoe and Rubén Blades. The street-smart New York barrio kid knew exactly how to play the role as salsa’s bad boy. Willie’s career encompasses the Lavoe and Blades era of salsa, arguably two of the best Latin singers of the past 30 years.

The album OG: Original Gangster, honors Willie’s street persona by including his most forceful numbers encompassing the years 1967 to 1989. From his debut with Lavoe in the classic “El Malo” to his swan song with Blades in the outstanding “What Happened” Willie moved salsa forward with powerful themes and his impeccable sense of rhythm.

The album highlights include 1978’s “Pedro Navaja” a salsa reinterpretation of “Mack The Knife” regarded today by critics and fans as the epitome of the New York Salsa sound. The record then goes back and explores the exotic beats of 1969’s “Che Che Cole,” the first international hit for Lavoe & Colón—still innovative in it’s use of Panamanian folk music with R&B handclaps. All in all the aim of this new collection is to bring focus to Colón’s versatility as an orchestral genius.

That’s it for us this month, have a safe Halloween and watch out for bad Pedro Navaja!


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