We are giving away two copies of Fania All Stars At Yankee Stadium Vol. 1 and 2. For a chance to win, answer the following trivia questions before September, 12th by noon ET.
Puerto Rican singer Cheo Feliciano gained fame during the '60s as the lead vocalist with Joe Cuba's orchestra. When a severe addiction to drugs spiraled his life out control, Feliciano retreated from the limelight - and emerged triumphant in 1971, releasing the classic Cheo album on the Fania imprint Vaya. Feliciano's relationship with Fania was particularly fruitful - eventually, he decided to jump ship and launch his own label. A living salsa legend who continues touring and recording to this day, Feliciano recently took some time off his busy schedule to talk about his amazing career.
How did your association with the Fania label begin?
Before the release of the album Cheo, I had virtually retired from my career in music. I withdrew for a good three years and took stock of my life, ironing whatever needed to be ironed, and defining a new focus - both personally and professionally. Throughout this time, I received numerous invitations from musicians and label executives. When I finally decided to return, composer Tite Curet Alonso acted as my artistic godfather. He told me: "In the desk of [Fania owner] Jerry Masucci there is an envelope titled Cheo Feliciano Project. When you're ready to go, take a look and see what's in there." Inside the envelope were amazing Tite Curet Alonso compositions like "Anacaona." I was instantly captivated. In the end, the Cheo album marked a return to my music, my people and my own family.
Your collaboration with Curet Alonso, of course, is now part of salsa lore...
Tite and I lived parallel lives. We both experienced our share of happy moments - and cruel moments, too. We were alike in many different things. He would say that whenever he composed a song for me, he became Cheo Feliciano. And he was right. The songs were tailor made for me, ropa hecha a medida. He was the most important composer in my entire career. I miss him - but then again, he is missed by all.
You also had a weakness for the songs of another notable Puerto Rican composer: Bobby Capó.
[smiles] The eternal romantic, yes. I've always thought that Bobby Capó represents the other side of Cheo Feliciano. He was idiosyncratic in his lyrical talent - and a tremendous singer in his own right. When he hummed his melodies to me, I could hear my own voice singing them. A great inspiration.
You recorded so many great albums with Fania. Which one is your personal favorite?
That would be Estampas. In my opinion, it is the most complete album I ever recorded. The songs are very diverse, but all of them address a certain interest in social politics - a vision that I shared with the composers. Even the cover art, with its pictorial references to the songs in the album, is beautiful.
You are predominantly a salsa artist. But your Fania albums include nods to pop balladry and jazz.
I had the good fortune of working with arrangers who shared my eclectic taste for different musical genres. Some of them were jazz artists at heart. They just needed a signer to give them a green light, allowing them to elaborate on those tendencies.
VIDEO - Cheo Feliciano and Jorge Santana with Fania All Stars At Yankee Stadium
We have several Fania T-Shirts at a very special price, only during August.
Click here or on the image to get them.
In the CD section, we have the following releases at a special price.
Click here or on the image to go to the CD store.
The Fania – We Love To See You Dance poster is a limited edition print on 200 numerated metallic papers that will last a lifetime. Size 26x36 inches.
This unique collector piece has been created with an amazing collage of albums covers. It highlights some of the most spectacular Fania covers and represents the Tropical genres from Salsa to Boogaloo, from Latin Soul to AfroCuban and Latin Jazz.
Click on the poster image to learn more about this exclusive opportunity.
On Saturday, August 14th there will be a remarkable performance of “La Raza Latina – A Salsa Suite” at Lincoln Center in New York City. Conducted by Larry Harlow with a 40-piece orchestra, Rubén Blades reprising his historic role, and Cuban singer Adonis Puentes. It may be the main event of a highly musical summer at this year's free outdoor Lincoln Center Out of Doors festival.
Also, that morning, Larry Harlow will be signing autographs of the new remastered “La Raza Latina – A Salsa Suite” from 11:00 to 12:00 at the Borders store in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle (NYC).
Here are some pictures from La Raza Latina rehearsal. Everybody is getting very excited about the show.
Pianist LARRY HARLOW's 1977 album La Raza Latina was a Salsa Masterpiece well ahead of its time. "Thirty-three years ago, I set out to musically tell the story of Latin music, said Larry Harlow. It began in Africa and then moved to Cuba and the Caribbean and then onto to Puerto Rico before landing in New York in the 1950s. I also took a stab at what the future might hold. "
"I'm extremely proud of this piece of music and believe its one of the best pieces of I ever created”, said Harlow, “and today I'm thrilled to finally be performing it live with this orchestra and Ruben Blades. It's the first time to ever be played live."
Click on the album cover to listen and buy this album: