July Playlist Highlights
|Mi Gente||Hector Lavoe||Salsa||USA|
|Calle Luna Calle Sol||Willie Colón y Hector Lavoe||Salsa||USA|
|Pedro Navaja||Ruben Blades||Salsa||Panama|
|Anacaona||Cheo Feliciano||Salsa||Puerto Rico|
|Al Final de la Vida||Havana D’ Primera||Salsa||Cuba|
|El Jala Jala||Elito Reve Jr.||Salsa||Cuba|
|La Llave de Mi Corazón||Yunel Cruz y Don Omar||Bachata||USA|
|Amiga Veneno||Zacarias Ferreira||Bachata||Dominican Republic|
|Enamorada De Ti||Selena ft Juan Magan||Merengue||USA|
|La Luz De Mi Vida||Zol y Luna||Merengue||USA|
|Boogaloo Blues||Johnny Colon||Boogaloo||USA|
I was recently listening to a great double CD retrospective of music from the Fania Records label called “Fania Records 1964 – 1980”. Not only does the compilation highlight many of the artists that were signed to the label but it also includes an excellent 32 page booklet that gives a bit of the back story on Fania and its incredible success. Fania Records was probably the most successful label to release Salsa music. Though the label didn’t invent Salsa as a musical genre and Salsa wasn’t the only type of music released by the label, Fania Records was the first to take what had traditionally been an assortment of distinct afro-Caribbean rhythms and produce and market them as a uniform sound (the “Fania Sound”).
Fania Records was the brainchild of musician/band leader Johnny Pacheco who with the help of his divorce lawyer, Jerry Masucci, made the label a reality in 1964. It had humble beginnings and apparently the two started out by selling albums in Spanish Harlam from the trunks of their cars. However, they were fortunate to have signed some great talent early on including Larry Harlow, Ray Barretto, Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe. The talents of these artists complimented those of Pacheco’s and the label quickly grew based on the popularity of their music. That said, the label didn’t really take off until the early Seventies when Masucci worked with a New York club owner, Ralph Mercado, to organize a couple of very successful live performances. One of these performances was held at the Cheetah Club in Manhattan. The concert featured the talents of Fania’s super group, the Fania All-Stars. The evening was a huge success and Masucci had the event recorded and released as a movie called Our Latin Thing. The next legendary performance was held at Yankee Stadium in 1973 in front of a crowd of over 60, 000 people. The performance was also filmed and released under the title Salsa.
Through the Seventies Fania grow at a steady rate signing much of the top Latin talent in the US and releasing some of the most well know Salsa music along with way. However, by the early Eighties many artists were dissatisfied with the fees Fania was paying them and were moving to other labels. On top of that, it was rumored that the label was having financial difficulties, which may have been the reason why Masucci left the US for Argentian with an agenda “to play tennis”. Masucci retained ownership in the label and was the sole owner by the early Ninties at which time Fania was a shadow of its 1970’s glory. He did make a few attempts to revive the Fania legacy including a 1996 visit to Cuba were he signed Paulito FG and Dan Den to a new label called Nueva Fania. Unfortunately, Masucci died in 1997 before this label could develop any momentum.
Though the Fania label is now controlled by Signal-Equity its enormus catalogue of music is still available and hugely popular. You can find most if not all of the Fania albums at the Fania website.
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Hasta la próxima