Who is your favorite Fania artist? Well, you could say Hector Lavoe, Celia Cruz, La Lupe, Ray Barretto, Willie Colon, Ruben Blades, Joe Bataan, Tito Rodriguez,Bobby Valentin or another talented artist under the Fania umbrella. We want to know who is that special Fania artist that you really, really enjoy.
To participate, you only have to fill up the box below with the name of your favorite Fania artist and your contact information. You will have the chance to win a double cd Deluxe edition from the songwriter behind the scene Tite Curet Alonso “Alma De Poeta”. It includes 31 tracks from Willie Colon, La Lupe, Hector Lavoe, Ismael Rivera, Ray Barretto, Cheo Feliciano and more.
The contest will end on Wednesday, May 5th by 11am.
This contest applies only to US and Puerto Rico.
We know you have been waiting for a while to get your Fania t-shirt. Check out the Fania collection for this spring. It includes six cool designs in several colors. Pick the ones that fit your life style and show to your friends the pride of being a Fania fan.
These exclusive designs feature:
- The one and only one, the Fania logo.
- The nuyorican sound that we all love, NYC Salsa.
- The original design t-shirt from the epic Fania All Stars at Yankee stadium show.
- The t-shirt that Hector Lavoe use to wear on stage stating El Cantante.
- The logo from the most amazing tropical band, the Fania All Stars.
- The tribute t-shirt for the architect of Boogaloo, Joe Cuba “Bustin’ Out”.
Vintage 100% fine cotton made in the USA is what you get!
Only shipping in the USA, worldwide in few weeks.
Summer collection coming soon!
A New York Jew with a thick Brooklyn accent, Larry Harlow is an unlikely hero of Latin music. Born in 1939 into a family of musicians, Harlow grew up in New York barrios where Afro-Caribbean rhythms drifted from record shops and bodegas. A Tito Puente protégé and devotee of Cuban bandleader Arsenio Rodriguez, he was one of the first musicians signed to New York’s mighty Fania records. “El Judio Maravilloso,” or “The Marvelous Jew,” as he’s affectionately known in Latin music circles, produced more than 250 albums for the Latin Motown in addition to leading his Orchestra Harlow in some 50 LPs.
Larry Harlow and Willie Colon
Fania is a hugely important label but I think it doesn’t get that much recognition outside of record collectors and music scholars. Explain the importance of Fania for people outside those circles.
Fania was a small independent record label that sprung up in New York in the mid-1960s that was started by an Italian music attorney by the name of Jerry Masucci and, of course, the great Dominican musician Johnny Pacheco. Pacheco went to Masucci for a divorce and said, "I’m not happy with this record company I’m with," and Masucci said, “Well, how much money do you need to make a record?” He said 3,000 bucks, they shook hands, and that’s how the label started. But the importance of it was that there were a lot of things going on in the 1960s: the Civil Rights movement, the war in Vietnam, Woodstock, and the Beatles just to name a few. So it was a time of revolution and upheaval in the United States. Everything was changing and the influx of the Hispanic immigrants into urban areas of the United States had a big importance because they were coming in hand over fist from the islands, from the Caribbean, and settling in Miami, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Of course, they had their own tropical music but the Hispanics in New York were looking for something to identify with musically. When Fidel Castro came into Cuba and we stopped trading with Cuba, we couldn’t hear Cuban radio and we couldn’t buy Cuban records any more and we weren’t hearing any good tropical Afro-Cuban music. The musicians in New York City decided to take up the cause and started to play Afro-Cuban music but they mixed it in with a little New York bebop, New York jazz, and New York harmonies. They expanded the harmonic structures of the song forms, the melodic structures of the song forms, the lyrical content of the song forms so instead of having some silly songs they were now writing songs about protest, about love, about humanity, and about war and the urban Latinos kind of hooked on to this and made it something that was theirs. They put a word to it and the word was called “salsa.” Tito Puente used to say, “Salsa? That’s what I put on top of my spaghetti!” It’s just a word but what it is is a mixture of Afro-Caribbean music mixed with New York bebop. After that, all these dance clubs popped up, you had 100 dance clubs and 500 bands playing. This label Fania just started at the right time and I was one of the first artists with Fania. I signed with Fania in 1964 and recorded my first album in 1965 and then one by one Masucci started signing all these young talented Hispanic guys – Bobby Valentin, Cheo Feliciano, Willie Colon, Ray Barretto, and all the top musicians between New York and Puerto Rico – and in a five year period had a great stable of musicians and singers and because he had a master’s in business administration he really knew how to run a record company. He was fighting the big guys but there were many independent record labels in those days and he wound up buying his own radio stations, playing his own product, pushing it down people’s throats and before you know it we were making movies and traveling around the world like the Rolling Stones and having a great time. There was a very important era between 1965 and 1980. We had a nice 15-year run where we just exported our sounds to South America, Central America, the Orient, and Europe and spread salsa consciousness around the world.
Larry Harlow, Bobby Valentin & Jerry Masucci
You had a chance to travel to Cuba as a young man. What was that like?
I went to a special school in New York, a music and art high school in the middle of the Latin barrio. I used to walk up and down the street and hear Latin music coming out of the mom and pop record shops. In the 1950s, if you weren’t African-American or an intravenous drug user you really weren’t accepted in jazz circles. It was like beating my head against the wall because I knew I would never be accepted in these circles. The closest music where I could improvise and get off playing solos was Latin music so I started playing with African-American guys who were playing Latin music. You know, you start with these little bands and it goes from a fivepiece band to a six to a seven to an eight to a nine to a 10. I wound up playing with a couple of good bands in the early 1960s but upon graduating high school I took a Christmas vacation to Havana for the first time – I’d never been out of the States before – and I ended up in paradise. I fell in love with the mambo, the cha-cha, and the African roots and I started practicing my craft. I was a schoolteacher for a while but I really didn’t want to do that, I just wanted to play Latin music. But it was very difficult bucking the odds, being the gringo and being the white Jewish guy from New York trying to play Latin music and getting accepted by the Latinos in this country. For many, many years I came across a lot of reverse Uncle Tom and a lot of resentment from the Hispanic promoters until I was able to command the language and I could play as good as everyone else if not better. Cuba was a paradise, I learned a lot and when Fidel entered Havana and everything got cut off, I came back to the States. I was studying at the university for a while, making friends with all the Cuban musicians and just sucking up as much information as I could.
I know you produced more than 250 albums for Fania. That’s an extraordinary amount of music.
Probably more. They were knocking out two or three a week. We were having a great time. We didn’t care about the money. I was making about $300 a week or something like that but my rent was $49 a month in those days so we didn’t care. We were having a good time and playing our music. There were lots of girls, lots of parties, lots of traveling. Where else would I have gotten to see the world and go to Africa, Japan, and Europe if not for playing with the Fania All Stars and all these great musicians?
Cheo Feliciano, Ismael Quintana, Larry Harlow, Ismael Miranda, Hector Lavoe & Santitos Colon
When I think of the music of Fania and the salsa scene it seems like a distinct product of New York City.
New York and Puerto Rico, but there is a distinct difference. New York was always a little further ahead musically than Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico always had the roots because it was a Caribbean country. New York was an injection of creativity and a blast of energy that superseded everything that was before it and the arrangements from New York were slicker. Instead of 6th chords and 7th chords we were using 9ths and 11ths. It got much more sophisticated.
THANKS to Thomas Fawcett from The Corner Music for sharing this wonderful interview with Fania.com and the Fania fans.
The 1st one got cancel due to rain and now there will be a mix of performers from the 1st and 2nd event coming together on April 18, 2010. It will be out of this world! Bringing together fans of Latin Rock, Bachata, Merengue, Latin Pop and of course a Salsa show that will make you dance until you fall down.
With guest stars such as Mario Ortiz and his All Star Band, singing Meñique, Chamaco Rivera, Bobby Concepción, Melina Almodóvar, Julio Flores, Doel González and many more. Chino Núñez will feature a timbales solo in a special arrangement by Mario Ortiz Jr.
Mr. Tito Puente Jr. will be performing next to the legendary Meñique just as Tito Puente did. From Colombia "Grupo Wamba", a Dominican New Yorker “Mambo Cla B” and more.
If you want to enjoy VIP style you can purchase the VIP tickets at www.prfiestas.com, they include open bar & food from 3:00 to 7:00 PM with a front stage seating first row view of the show. VIP Tickets are only $30.00 per person.
Come and enjoy this one of a class concert and while doing so, you will be contributing to help our friends in Haiti & Chile.
For those interested we have booths available. Call 954-559-5355 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information visit www.prfiestas.com.
Que viva la salsa y la música tropical!!!!!