Oye Mi Gente!


Most of you have undoubtedly heard about Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez’s new film with director Leon Ichaso (Pinero) about the life of Hector LavoeEl Cantante‘. While I’m not really into anything that the 2 singer/actors have done so far, I think they’ve finally found their calling in this one. You can’t go wrong with a story about a kid moving from little Ponce, Puerto Rico to New York and becoming the one of the greatest Puerto Rican singers of all time. Willie Colon, Yankee Stadium with the Fania All-Stars in front of 50,000 fans…Throw in a huge drug habit (if you look closely you can actually see cocaine residue on his pinky ring), and many more tragedies unfortunately later in his life (I won’t ruin the movie for you), and you’ve got an incredible story.


The best thing about all of this, is that all of his incredible music is now re-surfacing everywhere. Fania has released an incredible 2 Cd comp called La Voz. As well as a hits cd ‘The Originals: El Cantante’. Where every single track is a monster. Check out Aguanile for proof. There is also a nice radio edit of Louie Vega’s remix of Mi Gente. Who else are you going to get to remix that one? (If you didn’t know Hector happens to be Louie Vega’s uncle.) There is a 12″ coming out soon with an extended version and dub version on the flip that works much better on the dancefloor though. Definately cop that one! But until then, here’s the epic 11 minute version and the equally long dub version for all you serato heads…

and last but certainly not least…Sun of Latin Music is in the middle of posting the entire Hector Lavoe discography!!! Make sure you go and get all those Willie Colon records that he’s featured on as well as all of his solo records. Thanks Julien!




Masekela continues on with the revolucionary African music theme. The back of the record says it all ‘The music contained herein speaks for itself. Nothing more need be added. All there remains to do is to do.’ There are so many strong stongs on this record. It starts with Mace and Grenades, which talks about the harsh realities of the times (1968) and says ‘It looks like It’s be safer to be in Jail…I’m in jail out here’. ‘Gold’, which you already heard on Bobbito’s mix cd, is about the oppression during the apartheid, and how South Africans are essentially forced into slave labor mining for gold and diamonds, and see nothing in return. Even the instrumentals have incredible titles…’Blues for Huey (Newton), and Riot. The record ends with the incredible. ‘If There’s Anybody Out There’.


BBE just released ‘The Chisa Years (Rare and Unreleased 1965-1975)’. I can’t recomend it enough. If you don’t know BBE(Barely Breaking Even) is an ill label out of London, and they’ve been putting out solid releases for a minute, so support them! They’re selling the cd for 5 pounds, or you can get it on itunes, or of course on vinyl. When this came out over a year ago, Wax Poetics hosted a remix competition for the song Mahlalela, and of course, being a trumpet player who does remixes, I did one. It didn’t get picked…I like to think that it’s because they didn’t get it in time. (I sent it the night before the cutoff day, went to sleep, woke up to see that it didn’t get sent. So I wrote a letter, re-sent it sucessfully, but never heard from them.) Either way, I play it out on a regular, and I always get people running to the dj booth ‘Where’d you get this remix?!’ So here it is…

Hugh Masekela was close with Fela, and he actually wrote ‘Fela’ in tribute to him. The two were very similar in many ways. Hugh was exiled from South Africa in 1960 during the Apartheid for 30 years, along with many other musicians from South Africa. (Among them his wife, Miriam Makeba) There is an incredible documentary that I urge all of you to check out called ‘Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony’.


In short, it talks about how music was instrumental (excuse the pun) in lifting the Apartheid. In one point of the film, they actually talk about how they weren’t able to post notices around town or announcements with directions to the next protest/demonstration. So they would actually sing in Zulu the directions to the protest, and the song would get sung throughout the country. The British had no idea what they were singing, and this was one way that they would communicate. Many of the musicians would regularly visit and write to Nelson Mandela while he was in prison and write lyrics based on that. This is one of the reasons so many musicians were exiled. Years later Masekela wrote ‘Bring him back home’ and was the anthem of the Free Nelson Mandela Movement in the 80’s. There were a ton of other huge songs written for him as well such as The Specials ‘Free Nelson Mandela’, Stevie Wonder’s ‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’, among many more. It became a trend in the 80’s and all the songs, tribute concerts, and press shined a huge spotlight on what England was doing. It essentially shamed them into lifting the apartheid. Hopefully this model, now being used to shine a light on the genocide in Sudan, will continue to work. (A huge Sudan post is coming, don’t worry)
It is a perfect example on how music is, as Fela said ‘The Weapon’.

The Message

Ray Barretto (who in addition to running his own band was also the musical director of The Fania All-Stars), was the first of the latin musicians to approach the Young Lords and ask them what he could do to help. What came of it was a benefit concert on 110th street…and was the start of an ongoing relationship with them. This is the soundtrack of that movement. There are so many of his records that I could put up…but I decided to go with The Message. This is salsa duro at it’s best. Also check the lyrics on O Elefante with the trumpets mimicing elephants. Incredible!

Barretto Power was recorded in the same year as The Message, and has that same energy…Oye La Noticia!

Oufar Khan posted ‘Tomorrow Live in NY 1976’ a couple months ago.While your there getting this record, check out his archive. He’s got tons of Fela, Funk, Soul, Latin… this man has great taste! if anyone else has any others please let me know, I’ll add a link to it…thanks!

and if that wasn’t enough…A close friend and one of my favorite dj’s, Busquelo put up this great Homange a Ray Barretto that he did with Captain Planet (you bloggers may know him from Captain’s Crate)right after Ray passed away (R.I.P.) Definately go check out his site for that mix plus tons of other damn good mixes by him… and others (Nickodemus, Quantic, Martin Perna of Antibalas and Ocote Soul, and tons more…)

Music Of Resistance

allright….pr pride day is on it’s way and what better way to counteract all the ignorant reggaeton that we’ll be subjected to, than to check out Bobbito’s mix that he put out a few years back. It’s done on a d.i.y. tip…the cd looks like it was just burned from his computer. I think the only place you could get it was either from him directly or from turntable lab. Music of Resistance has alot of well known tracks on it (Stevie, Sly, Edwin Starr, Gil Scott-Heron, Hugh Masekela, etc…), but there are also some nice rare ones on it to, and it’s all put together nicely…

Los Hermanos Latinos

Differentwaters posted the ill compilation on Soundway Records Colombia! The golden age of discos fuentes. The powerhouse of Colombian music 1960-1976. I actually was trying to decide wether or not I should post that one, since the guys at Soundway are acquaintances, and would like to support them as much as possible. But I figure since different waters already posted it, I might as well. And besides, I downloaded it awhile ago, and still bought the vinyl. So make sure to go to the link and check it out. While you’re there check out all the other sides they’ve got posted. It’s definately a blog to check on the regular…

As we’re on the subject of Colombian music, check out the bootleg remix project from Miles Cleret from Soundway Records and Quantic under the name Los Hermanos Latinos. This is all the singles that have come out so far. They do a remix of Los Calenas Los Flores that is on the Colombia! comp, as well as a few others that I play out on a regular. perfect for the summer…