60 years in the business in the “Salsa” music industry, Héctor Maisonave says: “I have not seen anyone who surpasses the talent of Héctor Lavoe”.
You have managed the careers of so many salsa luminaries, how do you consider Héctor Lavoe’s talent?
I saw in Hector a supreme talent, to this day I have not seen anyone who can surpass him.
Not only as an artist selling tickets, selling records, but also as a human being.
There is no comparison of any kind, no matter who the artists are that are current today, to this day there has been no one that can replace Hector Lavoe.
He continues to this day as the most successful artist in all aspects.
He has managed and catapulted the careers of stars such as Héctor Lavoe, La Lupe, La India, Ismael Rivera, Tito Rodríguez, Gilberto Santa Rosa, among others.
“I continue to derive satisfaction from my work, my main addiction,” said the Puerto Rican producer.
With almost 60 years in the difficult and no less unpredictable music industry, today, on his 81st birthday, the artistic promoter Héctor Maisonave looks back to see that nothing remains the same in the business, but even so, his “musician soul” does not allow him to give up.
He has been a faithful witness and an important part of Latin American musical history, as a tireless promoter of the salsa rhythm in every corner of the planet.
His resume is impressive; he has produced more than 6,000 events; he has managed and catapulted the careers of some 80 artists, including stars such as his namesake Héctor Lavoe, Tito Rodríguez, La Lupe, India, Ismael Rivera, Raphy Leavitt, Gilberto Santa Rosa and La Sonora Ponceña.
And his experience has been recognized on more than one occasion by the artistic world.
In 2010, this veteran businessman received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Lincoln Center of New York, a distinction for his years in music production and management.
On that occasion, Diana Cortot, executive director of International Concert, the non-profit institution that presented Maisonave with the award, said that he was chosen because of the great help he has given to so many artists and his efforts to create a market for Latin music in the United States. “The Latin music industry, and salsa in particular, owes him a lot,” she said.
To this, the award-winning businessman, with the humility that has characterized him in each of his acts, simply said: “I don’t feel special, but privileged and honored”.
Born in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, Maisonave was part of a great migratory stampede of Puerto Ricans who traveled to New York in the 1940s to escape poverty.
“It was here, in this city, where I took my first steps as a producer in the summer of 1950.”
Even at this age, memory remains one of his best attributes.
“I began to organize concerts in open spaces that attracted hundreds of people, who arrived in some buses that we arranged for the public, and they were like a kind of patron saint festivities in which transportation, food, dessert and dancing were offered… That was the beginning of everything,” he recalls while, suddenly, a special gleam begins to appear in his eyes.
That was the time when she discovered what her vocation was. But he also had to raise his voice, fight hard for his goals and defend his roots. He was even one of those who protested on New York’s iconic Fifth Avenue so that the New York City government would grant him permission to hold a Puerto Rican parade.
“There were many inconveniences that got in the way, but there are more beautiful memories that light up my mind when I think of the dreams achieved,” confesses the man who had the idea of organizing Latino shows aboard boats that crossed the Hudson River to Bear Mountain.
And aware that, as he says, “turning 81 is not an everyday thing,” he says he is very happy to continue fighting the battle. “I continue to get enormous satisfaction from my work, my main addiction,” said this industrious Puerto Rican with his usual good humor.
Lately, his schedule has been as active as ever. From April to date, he has organized concerts for Grupo Mania and Tito Rojas (both in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania); José Alberto, “El Canario”, and Andy Andy at Six Flags New England, Springfield, Massachusetts, and next month he will be in charge of the presentation in Panama that salsa singer India has scheduled.
Source: Frank Manuel Orellana Rosas
Article of Interest: Richie Bonilla Management is a Latin Music booking and Managing Agency