Artist Profiles: Grupo Niche

Grupo Niche

Emanating from El Choco, in Colombia’s western coast, Grupo Niche has made a profound impact on the region’s salsa scene since their inception in 1981. Led for many years by percussionist, arranger, vocalist and musical director Jairo Varela, Niche not only rose to the top ranks of Colombia’s salsa bands, but rival its counterparts in Puerto Rico and New York.

Inspired by the legendary 1960s Colombian coastal band, Peregoyo y su Combo Vacano, Niche’s big band varies in size, including large brass and rhythm sections.

In addition to breaking ground in the musical and lyrical structure of salsa bands, Grupo Niche raises social awareness within young salseros from Latin America through its approach to social and ethnic expressions and all their implications, conquering a new space in the national as well as in the international market.

Jairo Varela died in Cali on August 8, 2012.


Al Pasito (Daro, 1979)
Querer es Poder (Codiscos, 1981)
Prepárate… (Codiscos, 1982)
Directo Desde New York! (Codiscos, 1983)
No Hay Quinto Malo (Codiscos, 1984)
Triunfo (Codiscos, 1985)
Me Huele a Matrimonio (Codiscos, 1986)
Con Cuerdas (1987)
Tapando el Hueco (Codiscos, 1988)
Sutil y Contundente (Codiscos, 1989)
Cielo de Tambores (Codiscos, 1990)
Llegando al 100% (Codiscos, 1991)
Un Alto en el Camino (Sony Music, 1993)
Huellas del Pasado (Sony Music, 1995)
Etnia (Sony Music, 1996)
A Prueba de Fuego (Sony Music, 1997)
Señales de Humo (Sony Music, 1998)
Lo Mejor (1998)
A Golpe de Folklore (Big Ear Music, 1999)
Propuesta (2000)
La Danza de la Chancaca (2001)
Control Absoluto (2002)
Imaginación (2004)
Alive (2005)
Tocando El Cielo con Las Manos (2013)

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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