May 17, 2012
elWatusi is happy to include the catalog of CESTA RECORDS, the label formed by the esteemed band-leader JOE QUIJANO in the 1960s. Joe was born on September 27, 1935, at Puerta de Tierra, Puerto Rico, his family relocating to New York City in 1941. Over the years he has contributed greatly to the development of Latin music in New York City.
His complete catalog is available in high quality mp3/320 or audiophile FLAC formats.
Click to view the Cesta catalog with audio clips
Musicians are a breed of their own. In most cases they come and go; some reach the top charts and become unforgettable and others go unnoticed and fall through the cracks. We know who the unforgettable ones are because, we as human beings identify our special moments through their music and lyrics.
Joe Quijano is one of the unforgettable orchestra leaders, composer and cinger of our time, and, oh, how he can woo the ladies, with his romantic melodies and sexy voice. He started his career as a boy, in 1950 in the back streets of the Bronx, NY, with such known artists as Eddie Palmieri (pianist) Orlando Marin (timbale player), Chiqui Perez (conga player) and Larry Acevedo, (trumpet player). He formed his first band known as the Banana Kelly’s Mambo named after Kelly Street where most of these artists grew up. Later, he changed the group’s name toEl Conjunto Cachana, and the band is still very active today.
Throughout his career, he has had many accomplishments. He has recorded 14 albums and over 300 songs. In 2003 he recorded his latest album, in english, entitled Salsa- Natra In Clave, a tribute to Frank Sinatra. He was an innovator of La Pachanga, a Cuban-Nuyorican rhythm, and the Cha Cha Cha, and is most famous for his interpretation of La Pachanga Se Baila Asi, which inspired other great artiest such as Tito Rodriguez, Frank Grillo (better known as Machito) and Tito Puente to incorporate La Pachanga in their big band orchestras in the late 1960s.
Many of us will remember his very famous song, A Cataño, which became popular for the verse Aguanta La Lancha ue voy pa Cataño. Joe was a founder of the Cesta All Stars with Al Santiago and Charlie Palmieri.
Joe Quijano is an all-around artist. He not only composed, sang, and conducted his orchestra; he was also an accomplished pianist, and played flute as well as the timbales, congas, and bongos.
In 1992, Joe Quijano was still going strong until fate turned things around. He had a motor-cycle accident, here in Puerto Rico, which left him in a wheel-chair for several years. He has had over 12 surgeries, but his love for music, and his unbelievable stamina, has brought him right back to where he was, and to us. He is still performing and going strong, his most recent performances being in Cali, Columbia.
I have just skimmed the surface of this great artist. To do him justice, I would have to write a book, which, by the way, is being done today. His music has inspired many great musicians throughout the years, and his legacy will live on for as long as we have, and enjoy music. I am proud to call Joe Quijano my friend. He is an unbelievable human being, and a great artist.
May 12, 2012
The salsa world is mourning the loss of the much loved singer, Junior González, who passed away Thursday morning just days after his 63rd birthday. The cause was complications with his pancreas and liver.
Junior González was born in May 7, 1949 in Coamo PR. In 1971 he made his first appearance on the legendary Fania label as the lead singer for the groundbreaking Hommy, a Latin Opera which was inspired by the success of Tommy, the rock opera by The Who. The album also featured Celia Cruz, Cheo Feliciano, Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez, Justo Betancourt and Adalberto Santiago.
González recorded many albums with the Harlow orchestra, including, among others, El Jardinero Del Amor, Live In Quad, and Our Latin Feeling.
Gonzalez enjoyed a successful solo career that begain in the late ’70s with albums like Mi Estilo. He balanced the classic New York salsa sound and, in the ’80s, salsa romántica as well.
Later in his career he released Tribute to Héctor Lavoe, Live At La Isla, Ibiza, and his final recording entitled Hommy: 40 Aniversario.
Junior González connected with his audiences on an emotional level, and he will be dearly missed.
May 11, 2012
elWatusi is thrilled to include the catalogs of COMBO RECORDS and RICO RECORDS. Formed by Mr. Ralph Cartagena in the mid ’60s, Combo Records was pivitol in helping the Puerto Rican mega-band El Gran Combo reach world-wide audiences. In association with the great Tony Pabón, Rico Records is considered one of the most historically important salsa catalogs. Today the combined catalogs make up of hundreds of gems that include the artists Mario Ortiz, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Hermanos Colón, Cano Estremera and much more. Other catalogs, like Spanoramic and Neliz, have been included as well, and these, too, will be added to elWatusi as they are made available. Below, Derek Cartagena, son of label proprietor Ralph Cartagena, talks a bit about the label’s early years as well as what’s in store…
José Miguel Class LP Release, 1971. Ralph is on his right.
In 1962 Ralph Cartagena opened his first record store in the Bronx, NY called R&R Records. The store prospered, and he opened another. He eventually opened 4 stores (3 R&R Records and 1 Hi-Tone) throughout the borough and did very well. In early 1969, Ralph opened the largest Latin one-stop called Rico Records Distributor. At that time, a friend named Nelson was in the process of purchasing the Neliz label. Being uncertain, Nelson sought Ralph’s advice. Ralph assured Nelson that it was a good deal because 8-track tapes were being introduced to the public and people would now re-purchase the recordings they love. Nelson said he would go through with the deal only if Ralph was a partner. Ralph accepted, and they acquired Neliz Records and started producing José Miguel Class “El Gallito De Manati”. El Gallo was one of the most successful artists of the time. So successful that Ralph began to manage him. His outlook was, “If you are promoting an artist and can make money from selling a lot of records, it only makes sense to manage him and make money on that end as well. Why should another manager gain from your hard work?” A system that he invented and still practices today. They eventually went on to produce Felipe Rodriguez, Ramon Torres, Jose Manuel Calderon and Mariachi Jalisco to name a few.
Later that year, a family member named Tony Pabon approached Ralph looking for a job. Tony had just left Pete Rodriguez where he was the primary song writer and trumpet player. Ralph hired Tony as his Music Director.
Without hesitation, Ralph created the Rico Records label where he recorded his first salsa act, Tony Pabon Y La Protesta (RCD-701, 1970) They quickly began to discover and produce quality bands which gained Ralph recognition and a name in the business. Not an easy feat, considering that Fania Records was in its heyday and controlled the airwaves. Ralph’s success, along with his clean cut image and straight-shooting, caught the attention of Jerry Masucci, president and founder of Fania. Jerry approached Ralph with a proposition. He told Ralph that he had just purchased Tico & Alegre Records. He asked Ralph if he would be willing to go partners with him on the two labels. Ralph would get to run the labels on one condition, he would have to throw Rico Records into the mix and share the profits. Ralph turned down the offer and continued on as an independent label with much success.
Jerry Masucci with groovy pants with Ralph C., 1972
Not long after, Ralph got the opportunity to sign, record and manage El Gran Combo De Puerto Rico. That was when the label Combo Records was created. Next, Johnny Ventura came knocking on Combo Records door looking for the same opportunity, which Ralph gladly gave him. Ralph was also in negotiations with his lifelong idol, Tito Rodriguez. Ralph never could have dreamed to one day have El Gran Combo, Johnny Ventura and Tito Rodriguez recording for him on the same label. Unfortunately, Tito passed away before Ralph could get anything started.
Ralph on the left, with José Miguel Class, Nelson, Felipe “La Voz” Rodriguez (kneeling), 1972
Fast forward to 2012, and Combo Records is still in production. The big players of the past are long gone. The industry has changed dramatically along with technology. Combo Records is one of last, 100% independent, Latin labels still in existence today. Combo is currently in the studio and will be releasing new projects from Edgard Nevarez Y La Tropica and Las Estrellas Cubana. Combo is very excited about this record and the all-star line-up it features. The album has just finished its recording in Cuba and is about to be mixed. Everyone who is anyone in Cuba is on this record. Stay tuned.
Derek Cartagena, 2012
May 10, 2012
DJ Eric B: Spring Fever Playlist 2012
“Aight Peoplez… Summer is almost here, so it’s time for some more Funky Salsa Tunez. This will be the last playlist I will be summiting from the USA, as I will be moving back to Holanda, mi tierra Natal in a few months. But don’t worry… it won’t be too long before you hear from me again. By now, you already know my estilo, so once again I mixed it up with “Un Poco de To’” (little bit of everything).
From back in the day, you’ll find tracks by the original 3 Mambo Kings; Machito, Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez. Also, the Fania era is well represented by artist like Ray Barretto, La Sonora Ponceña, Andy Harlow and a few others.
For contemporary salsa I’ve included the remake of the classic track Chango ta vení by Steve Guasch & Guaschará and the track Defiendela by Marco Toro y su Ensamble that was recorded both in the Netherlands and Venezuela. Also feartured are Don Perignon & La Puertorriqueña, and a banging track by Willy Torres!
Cuban salsa is very well represented once again with a few great track by Pedro Calvo y la Justicia, Adalberto Alvarez y su Son and Sixto Llorente y Son del Indio. And to top it all off, I trew in a track that you will not come across too often, so listen to Wild Horses by Joe Cain and his orchestra.
Once again, I hope you’ll enjoy the tracklist.” – DJ EricB …Ahi na Ma!
DJ EricB Bio + Contact Info
DJ EricB is a native of the Netherlands who caught the Salsa Bug during a trip to Venezuela in 2001. Ever since, DJ EricB has been collecting Latin music and, throughout the years, his collection on both vinyl albums and original CD’s has grown to an extensive musical library. After much persuasion by friends EricB began DJ-ing in the Dutch Latin Scene in 2004, before moving to the USA in 2005.
Often mistaken for a metal rocker because of his long hair or a Hip Hop DJ because of his baggy clothing, DJ EricB got his break in the USA on the Nick Aguire’s Salsa Dura show, where he was able to show a wide audience how he rolled with Classic Salsa Dura. Since then he has played the beats for crowds at Latin events all over Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC and his ability to adjust his music to cater to any kind of crowd has made him a favorite on the Latin scene on the East Coast.
DJ EricB specializes in Old Skool Mambo, Cha-Cha and Guaguanco, and has become been a regular spinning at Salsa/Mambo Socials in the Washington DC Metro area, but also keeps the dance floor hopping at many mainstream Latin venues and Cuban/Timba events.