Is a commitment to music and his people
Percussionist, Flautist, Arranger, Composer and Director of the Orchestra “La Masacre” Julio Castro López was born on April 30th in Santurse, Puerto Rico.
He was also percussionist with legends such as Eddie Palmieri, Héctor Lavoe, Tito Puente, Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz and Tommy Olivencia.
Born in Santurce, but raised in the town of Bayamon, Julio Castro López is rapidly approaching five decades as a musician.
From 17 years old, he is a professional musician since the age of 17 as well as being a percussionist with Rafael Cortijo, Mario Ortiz, and the Orchestra of Babó Jiménez.
He has fond memories of his trips abroad with maestro Cortijo in the 1960s.
In salsa, there are artists who, despite their importance, are largely unknown to the general public, even the most avid supporters of the movement.
However, this apparent indifference is not consistent with the respect and consideration their fellow musicians have for them, as was the case of conguero and flutist Julio Castro, especially when he is associated with La Masacre, a project he founded in 1979.
Julio Castro & La Masacre New Generation Orchestra 1979
In any event, the dream of having his own orchestra came true. In the case of Castro, as the natural culmination of the many experiences in the salsa ambiance, which led him to lead one of the most interesting bands to the late ’70s.
At the beginning in Puerto Rico, we find Julio Castro as a member of the orchestra led by the pianist Fernando Ojeda, which was a group whose vocal part was in charge of Sammy Marrero, long before this singer was part of Raphy Leavitt and his Selecta Orchestra.
Subsequently, he was in the La Única Orchestra for a short while at the beginning of the salsa boom in the city of skyscrapers and met Junior Córdova, later the vocalist for La Compañía of saxophonist Bobby Rodríguez. As a fun fact, it should be pointed out that Córdova would later write “Dolor, esquina, miseria”, one of first hits of Julio Castro as a soloist with his group La Masacre.
Julio Castro Y Orquesta La Masacre Mamey 1980
His first album brought eight songs that are still reminded by the followers of the expression.
Lyrics with an experiential content, not without social burden, made such an impression on the general public. Two examples, we must mention “Las Amistades” and, above all, “Dolor, esquina, miseria” composed by Junior Córdova, who was a partner of Julio Castro since the days of the La Unica Orchestra as we mention before.
Given the factors outlined previously, it is necessary to highlight Humberto ‘Tito’ Nieves’s participation in the vocal part. Tito, who came from recording with Johnny Ortiz and Taiborí, was emerging as a singer who worked in the highest registers at that time, a certainly innovative trend which was emerging in the pathway chalked out by vocalists of the stature of Lalo Rodríguez and Néstor Sánchez.
Julio Castro & his La Orqueta la Masacre,Vocals: Nestor Sanchez 1984
However, the stay of Nieves in La Masacre was brief. A few months later, he became part of the Conjunto Clásico, a project that Ramon Rodriguez had been pondering since the days he was a backup singer for Johnny Pacheco and his Tumbao.
Rodríguez, who is an outstanding composer before being a choirboy, joined forces with Raymond Castro to create this ensemble in which the vocal part of Tito Nieves was its hallmark.
Nevertheless, being part of the Clásico, Tito was still known as “El Pregonero” in allusion to the first hit he imposed with La Masacre.
La Masacre was a musical concept that, in the format oJulio Castrof the conjunto or expanded soundtrack, brought together diverse musicians with common aesthetic music interests. This idea led by , his testimony is the commitment with his music and his people.
Facebook: Julio Castro y su Orquesta La Masacre