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Power Salsa

Discos Fuentes 11111 Salsa Colombia
Released October 2000
US IMPORT 18 Euroa

Fruko Power Salsa is much more than just a record. Actually it's an opportunity. An opportunity for the rest of the world to discover one of the most electrifying salsa orchestras in the history of Latin music.

Sure, veteran salseros are already familiar with Fruko. But the band has yet to enjoy international recognition it deserves.

The inception of Fruko y sus Tesos is the result of a lifelong obsession. This is reflected in every single track of the group's new album. The obsession was shared in the '60s by Mr. Julio Ernesto "Fruko" Estrada and musical director and sound engineer Mario Rincón "Pachanga". At the time, Discos Fuentes, the company for which both men worked, was in charge of distributing the releases of the legendary Fania label in Colombia. Rincón and Estrada were bewitched by the musical innovations of Johnny Pacheco, Willie Colón and Héctor Lavoé. This was an aggressive, street wise brand of salsa, and dancers embraced it with a passion.

The mission undertaken by Fruko and Rincón was to emulate the sound of the Fania. They spent years studying those classic LPs, and even traveled to New York in order to see the musicians play live, analyzing the cowbell patterns, the trumpet riffs and the sinuous percussion lines.

Thus, Fruko y sus Tesos was born, blessed with the presence of some of Colombia's most notable singers: Joe Arroyo, the late "Piper" Pimienta Diaz and Wilson Manyoma, also known as Saoko.

The breakthrough hit El Preso demonstrated that the group had a clear understanding of those elusive elements that makes salsa such a glorious genre: the ever present rhythm, the piano's sticky tumbao, the vocals, loaded with pain and nostalgia, and the lyrics, telling tragicomic stories of life in the streets of the big Latin American metropolis.

After a self imposed hiatus, Fruko y sus Tesos returned to activity in 1999. The sound has remained the same, although tracks like Cachondea and Cali Rumba betray the allure of a modern touch. A newly recorded version of El Preso clearly demonstrates why Colombian salsa is the best in the world.

Personally, I feel privligeged to be able to present this new collection. The music of Fruko y sus Tesos has always filled my house with happiness, making my family and I dance with its relentless energy and lilting rhythms.

- CD presented in the liner notes by Ernesto Lechner, who writes about Latin American music for Interview, Rolling Stone and the Los Angeles Times.

GENRE: Salsa Colombia

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