Essential Salsa Heritage

Papo Lucca -  La Herencia - Papo Lucca
Papo Lucca – La Herencia – Papo Lucca
Fania Records’ la Herencia series released recently four essential recordings for salsa fans. Puerto Rican keyboardist Enrique Lucca Jr. (Papo Lucca) is the musical director of the legendary Sonora La Ponceña. Lucca is an innovator and in the 1970s took the salsa combo in new directions, adding electric piano, dazzling Afro-Latin jazz and rock elements to the band’s repertoire. La Herencia – Papo Lucca presents some of his finest work.

The late Ismael Rivera, nicknamed “Maelo” was considered one of the best salsa vocalists. He had a remarkable talent for improvisation. Ismael Rivera joined Rafael Cortijo’s band and the two friends had a very successful career which produced 17 albums and numerous hits. Their music traveled from Puerto Rico to New York, where their Puerto Rican compatriots and other Hispanics living in the metro area quickly became fans of their sound.  La Herencia – Ismael Rivera.

Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz, both of Puerto Rican origin,  grew up together in Brooklyn, New York. Richie was trained in classical music at the Juilliard School Of Music and Bobby was the leader of an orchestra where he played guitar and bass. Bobby wrote the lyrics and Ricardo composed the music and orchestrations. The arrangements sometimes borrowed elements from classical music. They were soon known as the Kings of Salsa. La Herencia – Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz.

Roberto Roena joined the band Cortijo and His Combo when the group’s lead singer, Ismael Rivera, left.  With Cortijo’s band, Roberto attracted audiences with his showmanship, which included unconventional choreography and dances. A few years later, Roberto Roena was invited to join the reputable Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, where his reputation grew even further. Eventually he formed his own band called Roberto Roena and his Apollo Sound. Some of his best material appears on La Herencia – Roberto Roena.

Buy the albums: La Herencia – Papo Lucca, La Herencia – Ismael Rivera, La Herencia – Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz, and La Herencia – Roberto Roena

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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