2007, Sat, Sep 08

Joe Bataan

El Barrio - Berlin Moves to NuYorica: Multistyled Latin Beats

Joe Bataan | (c) Ossi Kajan

Joe Bataan | (c) Ossi Kajan

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.

The King of Latin Soul

In the 1970s New York Afro-Filipino Joe Bataan from Spanish Harlem landed one success after another. Bataan mixed Latin music with English lyrics and was a true pioneer of Latin soul, salsa and hip-hop. He penned such disco-rap-funk hits as "Rap-O Clap-O", one of the first raps ever recorded. He disappeared from the scene from the mid-1980s until 1996, when colleagues Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri persuaded him to take to the stage again. In 2004 a young producer signed him on to record a new disc. With his first album in twenty years, "Call My Name", he is back, updating Nuyorican boogaloo with the raw sounds of indie rock and neo-funk.

Curator of the El Barrio programme: Christoph Twickel, journalist, author, Latin music expert and DJ (aka Basso Profundo)