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


The Greatest Salsa Label Ever

July Playlist Highlights





Mi Gente Mi Gente - Hector Lavoe - Greatest Hits Hector Lavoe Salsa USA
Calle Luna Calle Sol Calle Luna Calle Sol - The Original Gangster Willie Colón y Hector Lavoe Salsa USA
Pedro Navaja Pedro Navaja - Ruben Blades - Greatest Hits Ruben Blades Salsa Panama
Anacaona Anacaona - Buena Vista Social Music Cheo Feliciano Salsa Puerto Rico
Mi Desastre Mi Desastre - Tiene Que Ser Manolín Manolin Salsa Cuba
Al Final de la Vida Al Final de la Vida - Super Salsa Summer 2012 Havana D’ Primera Salsa Cuba
El Jala Jala Elito Reve Jr. Salsa Cuba
La Llave de Mi Corazón La Llave de Mi Corazón (feat. Yunel Cruz) - Don Omar Presents MTO2 - New Generation Yunel Cruz y Don Omar Bachata USA
Amiga Veneno Amiga Veneno (Mi Nina Veneno) - Novia Mia Zacarias Ferreira Bachata Dominican Republic
Enamorada De Ti Enamorada de Ti (feat. Juan Magan) [Merengue Mix] - Enamorada de Ti Selena ft Juan Magan Merengue USA
La Luz De Mi Vida Zol y Luna Merengue USA
Boogaloo Blues Boogaloo Blues - 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.

Questions, comments, requests? Send me an email

Hasta la próxima



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