Since at least the 1950s, New York has been the centre of Spanish-language popular music. The musical styles imported from the Caribbean and Central and South America were transformed, with the addition of Afro-American, Italian and Jewish elements, into characteristic "Nuyorquina" genres, while the term "Nuyoricans" was coined in reference to the city's Puerto Ricans themselves. Out of the term "Latino", previously a stereotype applied by the dominant white culture, a cultural and, above all, musical identity soon emerged. Luisito Quintero, one of the most celebrated percussionists in New York, will kick off the opening weekend.
Return of a Legend
Grupo Folklórico Y Experimental Nuevayorquino is one of the best-kept secrets in New York's musical history. In the mid-1970s several of the best Latin musicians in the city got together in the basement of brothers Andy and Jerry González (bass and percussion/trumpet). They included percussionist Milton Cardona, rumba singer Virgilio Martí and salsa stars such as Chocolate Armenteros (trumpet) and Reinaldo Jorge (trombone). Out of the casual jam sessions evolved an alternative sound to the commercial salsa of the day – music charged with an experimental energy and with roots deep in the Afro-Cuban and Afro-American traditions. Although Grupo only ever made two records, "Concepts in Unity" and "Lo dice todo", they numbered among the most influential bands of the 1970s. Their upcoming reunion after thirty years is a sensation – and not only for fans of Latin music.
Curator of the El Barrio programme: Christoph Twickel, journalist, author, Latin music expert and DJ (aka Basso Profundo)