Niche y Más

October Playlist






Estoy Como Que Loco Estoy Como Que Loco - Estoy Como Que Loco - Single Timbalive Salsa USA
Thriller Tony Succar Salsa USA
Cali Pachanguero Cali Pachanguero - Sólo Hits: Grupo Niche Grupo Niche Salsa Colombia
Aprieta Aprieta - Aprieta - Single Grupo Niche Salsa Colombia
El Mas Rico Beso Orquesta Guayacan Salsa Colombia
Cada Día Que Pasa Cada Dia Que Pasa - V.I.P. Edition Orquesta Guayacan Salsa Colombia
Son De Cali Son de Cali Salsa Colombia
No Quiero Dormir Son de Cali Salsa Colombia
Lejos Lejos - Lejos - Single Toby Love Bachata Puerto Rico
Mi Colombianita Mi Colombianita - Mi Colombianita - Single Yunel Cruz Bachata USA
El Cachito El Cachito - La Formula Cubana! Kola Loka Merengue Electronico Cuba
Musica Kafu Banton Reggae en Español Panama
Pasarela Pasarela - Prestige Daddy Yankee Reggaeton Puerto Rico


Colombians are passionate about their salsa, both the music and the dance, so it should come as no surprise that Colombia is a hotbed of excellent, high energy salsa music and home to a large number of internationally renowned salsa groups.  It also should not be too surprising that the international capital of salsa, Cali, is found in Colombia.  One of the most well-known groups to call this city home is Grupo Niche.  This band set the stage for what defines Colombian salsa today and has spawned a number of spin-off groups and copycats.  If you are interested in getting into Colombian salsa Grupo Niche is definitely the place to start.

Grupo Niche

Founded in 1978 by the late Jairo Varela and Alexis Lozano Grupo Niche was originally based in Colombia’s capital, Bogota.  However, after a couple of albums and some limited success the group relocated to Cali in 1982.  The fortunes of the band definitely improved after the move and it was in 1984 that they released their most well-known song Cali Pachanguero.  The group’s success continued over the years as they set a trend for making well-orchestrated music that was infectious to listen to and excellent for dancing and with over 30 years of success behind them they have quite the collection of 40 some albums and compilations to prove it.  The band is still going today though they haven’t released any new material for a year or more.  The rate at which they have been producing music has slowed down in recent years and the fact that Varela passed away in August of this year will likely cause that trend to continue.  I have included a couple of their songs in this month’s play list; Cali Pachanguero and one of their more recent offerings, Aprieta.

Orquesta Guayacan

Alexis Lozano founded Grupo Niche with Jairo Varela and together they released the group’s first 4 albums.  However, the two had some differences on matters of business and music and Lozano left the group and went on to form Orquesta Guayacan in 1986.  Grupo Niche was becoming the dominant salsa band in Colombia at the time and it wasn’t until the early 90’s that Qrquesta Guayacan’s unique salsa sound started to give Grupo Niche a run for its money.  Like Grupo Niche, Orquesta Guayacan’s salsa is definitely Colombian but their sound has been described as ‘rootsier’ with more influence coming from Cuban guaguanco and montuno.  Almost as prolific as Grupo Niche the band has put out over 20 albums to date.  I have included a couple of their songs in this month’s play list.  One of their classic tracks, Cada Día Que Pasa from the album Sentimental De Punta a Punta (1991) and one from the recent release Bueno y Más (2009) called El Más Rico Beso.

Son de Cali

Another Grupo Niche spin-off was Son de Cali.  The band was founded in 2002 by Willy Gracia and Javier Vásquez who after having spent several years with Grupo Niche decided to break out on their own.  The musical creativity for the group came predominantly from Gracia who did much of the writing as well as some of the vocals.  Son de Cali released 4 albums over the 9 years they were together but it appears that as of 2011 both artists have gone their separate ways (though the Son de Cali web site is still up and running).  Gracia released a solo album called Sigo Presente at the end of 2011 and Vásquez released his own solo album, Aquí Estoy this year.  I have included a couple of Son de Cali’s songs in this month’s playlist; one from their first album Estilo Propio called Son De Cali and one off a more recent album Cambiando la Historia called No Quiero Dormir.

That’s it for this month.  Questions, comments, requests?  Send me an email

Hasta la próxima


Reggaeton – Today and Tomorrow

September Playlist Highlights

Song (YouTube)




Dile Dile - The Gold Series: The Last Don Don Omar Reggaeton Puerto Rico
Dutty Love Dutty Love (feat. Natti Natasha) - Don Omar Presents MTO2 - New Generation Don Omar ft Natti Natasha Reggaeton Puerto Rico
Danza Kuduro Danza Kuduro - Meet the Orphans Don Omar Kuduro Puerto Rico
Gasolina Gasolina (En Directo) - Barrio Fino (En Directo) [Bonus Track Version] Daddy Yankee Reggeaton Puerto Rico
Ven Conmigo Ven Conmigo (feat. Prince Royce) - Ven Conmigo (feat. Prince Royce) - Single Daddy Yankee Dance Puerto Rico
Sexy Moviminto Sexy Movimiento - Los Extraterrestres Wisin y Yandel Reggaeton Puerto Rico
Follow the Leader Follow the Leader (feat. Jennifer Lopez) - Líderes Wisin y Yandel Dance Puerto Rico
Pa Que Se Lo Gozen Tego Calderón Reggaeton Puerto Rico
Pegaito a la Pared PEGAITO a la PARED - Pegaito a la Pared - Single (Digital Only) Tego Calderón Reggaeton Puerto Rico
Papi Te Quiero Papi Te Quiero - DIVA- Platinum Edition Ivy queen Reggaeton Puerto Rico
Dime Dime - Most Wanted Ivy queen Bachata Puerto Rico
Peligro De Extinción Peligro de Extinción - Musa Ivy queen Latin Fusion Puerto Rico


Part II

In part one of this two part series we delved into the origins of reggaeton music.  In part two we will look at some of the top reggaeton artists of today and what YouTube can tell us about how reggaeton is evolving.

Don Omar

Possibly the most successful reggaeton artist ever, Don Omar (aka William Omar Landrón Rivera) has been making reggaeton music since the early 2000’s.  His first studio album, “The Last Don”, was released in 2003 and is 100% reggaeton.  Some of the more popular tracks from the album are “Dile”, “Dale Don Dale” and “Pobre Diabla” with “Dile” having the most YouTube views at 35 million*.  Fast forward to 2010 and the release of his album “Meet the Orphans”.  On this album and it’s follow up, “MTO II” Omar moves away from pure reggaeton to include a number of other musical styles.  Like “The Last Don”, these new albums contain several hit songs.  However, according to the view counts in YouTube it’s the non-reggaeton songs that are the most popular.  Granted “Dutty Love” and “Hasta Abajo” have over 49 and 30 million views respectively.  However,  the smash hits “Danza Kuduro” and “Taboo” have a combined total of almost 500 million views.  As I mentioned in my last blog post, “Danza Kuduro” is a take on Kuduro music from Angola and “Taboo” is a take on Lambada from Brazil.

Daddy Yankee

One of the originals from the early underground/reggaeton scene, Daddy Yankee (aka Ramón Luis Ayala Rodríguez) has been making music since the mid 90’s.  However, it wasn’t until the release of the song “Gasolina” that his commercial success took off.  “Gasolina”, from the 2004 “Barrio Fino” album, is one of the anthems of reggaeton music.  Internationally successful, the song reached to number 2 on charts in Denmark and Italy and number 32 on the US Billboard top 100.   The song has 22 million views on YouTube.  Yankee’s latest album “Mundial” was released in 2010 with the most popular song on the album being the merengue influenced “La Despedida” (included in the  MPop blog post playlist) with 25 million YouTube views.  Yankee’s next album “Prestige” comes out this month and of the three singles that have already been released the most popular is the dance influenced collaboration with Prince Royce “Ven Conmigo” with a YouTube view count of 60 million.

Wisin y Yandel

Juan Luis Morera Luna and Llandel Veguilla Malavé are the Puerto Rican duo known collectively as Wisin y Yandel.  Like Daddy Yankee, Wisin y Yandel are early arrivers to the reggaeton scene dating back to 1998.  Some of their popular reggaeton work includes songs such as “Pam Pam” (2005, 10 million YouTube views), “Pegao” (2006, 11 million YouTube views), and “Sexy Movimiento” (2008, 13 million YouTube views).  Their latest album “Los Líberes” was released in July of this year.  The top song from that album is the dance influenced collaboration with Jenifer Lopez “Follow the Leader” with a YouTube view count of 60 million.

Ivy Queen

Women are much less prominent in the reggaeton world than their male counterparts but Ivy Queen (aka Martha Ivelisse Pesante) is one of the few exceptions. She has been involved in underground/reggaeton music since its early days with her first albums being released in the late 90s.  Her first reggaeton album, “Diva” was released in 2003 and the most popular song from the album is “Papi Te Quiero” with about 3 million YouTube views.  However, like the other artists I have listed her most popular song on YouTube is not reggaeton.  It’s the 2008 bachaton song “Dime” with almost 7 million views.  She released a new album, “Musa”, at the end of last month.  The first single off that album, “Peligro de Extinción”, is not reggaeton either but Latin fusion.  The song only has about 100, 000 views.  However, it is currently her top selling song on iTunes (the track is not available on iTunes Canada).

 Tego Calderón

At 40 years of age Tego Calderón (aka Tegui Calderón Rosario) is one of the older artists in the reggaeton scene.  He has gained recognition not only for his music but also for his socially conscience lyrics, a rarity in modern reggaeton.  Though very talented he has not achieved the same internationally popularity of the other male artists in this list.  Searching for him on YouTube you will find that his two most viewed songs are almost 10 years old: “Metele Sazon” from 2003 (15 million views) and “Pa Que Se Lo Gozen” also from 2003 (5 million views).  Calderón appears to be more interested in making good music by his standards (reggaeton or otherwise) and less interested in making music that will sell albums.  Case in point, Calderón has stated that he finds modern reggaeton has become too much like pop music and for the first single, “Pegaito a la Pared”, from his upcoming ablum, “Mr T”,  he has incorporated more elements of dancehall and reggae.


YouTube views are not exactly a scientific measure of the direction reggaeton music is headed.  However, I think they are a good indication of the music people are seeking out and what I take from these view counts is that audiences are showing a preference for the non-reggaeton music put out by reggaeton artists.  In turn, commercially successful artists and those that want to be commercially successful are turning more and more to non-reggaeton music to increase their popularity.  There still is a big market for pure reggaeton but what I see (and hear) is that the music is moving away from the dem dow driven tracks of the past 10 years.  How reggaeton evolves  is anyone’s guess but like any popular genre the more popular it is the more it sounds like pop music.

Questions, comments, requests? Send me an email at

Hasta la próxima


* There are often multiple videos for the same song on YouTube.  For view counts listed in this post I took the count from the video that had the most views.  The YouTube view counts are current as of Sept 1, 2012.