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 musical identity soon emerged.
Salsa of Superlatives
The Spanish Harlem Orchestra brings pure neo-retro salsa dura of the hottest kind from el barrio to Berlin. The all-star line-up unites veterans and talented young musicians who know how to produce the feverish state of excitement that makes salsa irresistible. With its tight sound, the thirteen-member collective, winner of three Grammys, has updated the tradition of Latin dance music. The dizzying polyrhythms of the percussion, the complex arrangements by pianist Oscar Hernández, the sharp horn riffs and, not least, singers such as Willie Torres and Ray de la Paz combine to make the Spanish Harlem Orchestra the ambassadors of New York salsa.
To be followed by Latino sounds from DJ Basso Profundo, aka Christoph Twickel, at Café Global.
Curator of the El Barrio programme: Christoph Twickel, journalist, author, Latin music expert and DJ (aka Basso Profundo)