Review: CharanSalsa “Pa’ Mi Pueblo”

In 2008, I read a review by Rudy Mangual in Latin Beat Magazine about a New York based salsa band that had a debut album titled “Para Bailar y Gozar!”  Veteran radio personality Vicki Sola did a follow up report on the recording in her monthly offering in Latin Beat “A Bite from the Big Apple” and gave it a solid thumbs up.  Descarga listed them as a “must have CD” and said the music was made for a Saturday night.  Shortly afterwards, I received a promotional copy for my review and I was blown away.  Hits like El Anilo, La Salsa New Yorkina and the classic Tumba La Cana are still crowd favorites in Hawaii.

Charanga is a term given to traditional ensembles of Cuban dance music.  The festive son-influenced material features flute and violin. In addition to their distinct and incomparable sound this time around they have added a cello along with the violin for a more fuller sound to enhance their arrangements. Combine this unique sound with salsa and what you have is a highly danceable blend of harmonies and rhythms that invites you to the dance floor

The thing that makes CharanSalsa unique is their fusion of great vocals with hook lyrics and a heavy dose of swing. In my opinion a band doesn’t have to be big in numbers to swing. Keep it simple and bring the sabor.  For example, the Joe Cuba Sextet, New Swing Sextet, from Puerto Rico Pijuan y Su Sexteto. All of these small combos combined salsa with boogaloo, pachanga and in the case of CharanSalsa, charanga, and they made the sound their own.

Led by Pito Castillo, CharanSalsa has a second release called “Pa’ Mi Pueblo” that swings as much as their first release.  Although I enjoy the entire production my favorite cuts are Pa’ Mi Pueblo, Que Bonita Linda and their cover of Yo Bailo de Todo.  This production is a “must have” mi gente…no question.

We are featuring the title track “Pa’ Mi Pueblo” which is Charanga at it’s best.

 Aloha!….Until next time!

Ray Cruz

Sabor Tropical

Pacific Rim Contributor for NewGenSalsa