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!
Pacific Rim Contributor for NewGenSalsa