Archive for the 'Afro Latin' Category

Understanding Latin Rhythms

If anyone has noticed, I’ve been posting some really obscure records lately. I’ve been straightening out my record collection and I keep pulling albums I hardly ever play or listen to which is most likely the reason why.  Take the two instructional records Understanding Latin Rhythms for example. Not the best album for the clubs and not the best thing to listen to in it’s entirety on a Sunday morning. Unless I am trying to learn how to use a cow bell, but sadly I am not.

The only worth while track on the first volume is the heavy monster Masacote, a name taken from a style of Cuban percussion jam music. Puerto Rican José Mangual (bongo) and Cuban Carlos “Patato” Valdez (conga) really drop that heavy Nuyorican sound with this song. These two musicians have played with just about everyone, from jazz, latin jazz, to salsa. They just don’t happen to play on the second volume though, which is way more instructional than the first.

Both these albums came with instructional booklets, I posted some images up for you people. Instructional basics and an album to play along with. They didn’t have youtube in 1974. Really nice minimal stuff here nonetheless. A few essential records if you’re a beat maker aswell. Enjoy!      

1. Understanding Latin Rhythms Vol. 1: Masacote

2. Understanding Latin Rhythms Vol 2: Mambo & 6/8 Rhythms

Merengue Tipico con Tatico Henriquez

If I keep finding 45’s like this, I’m gonna have to visit the Dominican Republic someday. In fact, I think I’m going to throw my passport away and just move there. Forever.

When I hear music from people like Tatico Henriquez, it would make me consider doing something rash as this. The kinetic style of the music taps into something I suppose. Anyway, Tatico was known as one of the best accordionists of the merengue tipico. His career began in the 1960s and the early 1970s. He was known for his skill on the accordion and the addition of new instruments to a standard merengue tipico band. Unfortunately his life and career ended in a drunk driving accident in Santo Domingo. Still a huge influence in the merengue scene to this day. Enjoy!

1. Tatico Henriquez y Sus Muchachos: Cabo De Vela

2. Tatico Henriquez y Sus Muchachos: Mano Poderosa

Shark Attack Con Los Tiburones


1. Los Tiburones: La Reina Y La Cumbia

2. Los Tiburones: Descarga Tiburona

I’ve been catching some flack by some other dj’s for letting go of some of my funkier Latin numbers. And I can understand where they are coming from. I understand how some dj’s want some sort of exclusive domain over a gem they found. Maybe it’s to protect their set, I don’t know. But I don’t really care and I never have. As I see it, the music doesnt belong to me anyway and as a dj I always appreciate it when someone wants to know what you’re playing. Shit I even let people pilfer through my crate to peep all my records (as long as they dont look like they’d walk off with it). At least I have someone in the audience actually listening.

With that being said, I’m sure there will be someone in this world upset that I’m giving you this funk bomb from Colombia’s Los Tiburones (the sharks). I just got this album from Mexico and I’m really loving the blend of funk, cumbia, descarga, and gaitero music. It appears to be a commemorative record for Colombian Carnival in 1968 (most likely the Carnival of Barranquilla). A real fusion of Native, European and Afro-Colombian sounds and cultures. Which essentially is what Carnival is all about. It’s like the worlds first ever multicultural event, a party where race and class are mixed up for a time being. Pretty much a reflection of the record itself. 

The album is on the Tropical label (one of my favorites) and has the popular Aniceto Molina on accordion and Duque Palomino singing from Discos Fuentes fame.

Ok Dominicans!


Gorgeous bolero style Batchata from the Dominican Republic. The album is a split artist record between Rafael Encarnación and Fabio Sanabia and is mostly over the top romantic love songs. Lyrically I am reminded of Julio Jaramillo, vocally I think of Jamaican Desmond Dekker, and musically it is more or less similar to Cuban guajira and Puerto Rican jibaro music. The mixture of Rafael’s hypnotic voice and the amazing acoustic guitar work is really what this old school Batchata sound was all about. See my earlier post about Edilio Paredes  if you’re into something a bit more uptempo. The Fabio Sanabia side is kind of messed up, but I selected a couple cool ass songs from Señor Encarnación .

1. Rafael Encarnación: Muero Contigo

2. Rafael Encarnación: Ay Que Amor

Palo De Mayo

1. Grupo Gamma: Tu lu lu luL1000897

I had the opportunity to live and work in  Nicaragua from 1993 to 1994. I lived between my uncles house/my mother’s birthplace in Ciudad Dario and Granada . So whether I was in a bus, a bar, at a party, or in a market I probably heard this song on a daily basis.

The genre of music is actually called Palo De Mayo (The May Pole) which is a month long May Day festival on the Carribean Coast of Central America. It originated in Bluefields Nicaragua in the 17th century and the celebration includes a maypole, which is a tall wooden pole, which is decorated with several long colored ribbons suspended from the top.

The festival, the music, and the culture of the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua is in itself a potent cross-fertilization of African, Creole, Garifuna, Jamaican/Caribbean, Indigenous, and Latin cultures. The song really sounds like a mixture of traditional African rhythms, soca, paranda and Calypso style music. From what I understand, Grupo Gamma probably made a living playing parties and going door to door playing their music in the month of May. The song Tu lu lu lu pasa  (to pass) basically is naming off the people coming,  going, passing  (be it in life, death, or dance I suppose). There are various versions of the song, always naming someone different and I’ve heard a faster merengue version as well.