Joe Bataan in the Spaha Salsa Gallery
There are many artists of international stature have been in the Salsa Museum and left some valuable object in our facilities, and this month, it was the turn of American singer and musician Joe Bataan, who was kind enough to share with producer Johnny Cruz and his show partner Boris Calderón.
In one of the videos taken during the visit, the artist mentioned that the place was awesome and had expanded so much that another building would have to be made soon for so many valuable acquisitions. Let’s remember that both the artists and their families have been donating all kinds of garments, instruments and things related to their careers to be exhibited in the museum with the purpose of showing the public this valuable part of our culture.
After such an extraordinary exchange, we believe it believe to talk a little about the story of this talented man and how he has reaped all the success obtained at the time.
Story of Joe Battan
Bataan Nitollano is a New York singer of African-American and Filipino origin from his parents, but he grew up in the neighborhood of Harlem, where he got in trouble with the law and was trained in music.
While he spent a short time in prison, he studied music, and trained in playing the piano, something that would be extremely important for his artistic career. Once he was released, he formally began his career as a singer and formed his first group, which he named ”Joe Bataan and the Latin Swingers”. At that time, the young man was heavily influenced by two genres that were very fashionable at the time, which are boogaloo and Afro-American Doo-wop.
Although Bataan was not the first to enter the aforementioned genres, his very particular talent made him worthy of the attention of the newly created record label Fania Records, which signed the artist in 1966 and released his first single ”Gypsy Woman” the following year. The song ended up being a huge hit in the Latin community in New York City and laid the foundation for what would end up becoming what we know today as Latin Soul.
During the time Joe worked with Fania, he recorded about eight albums, which became a true sensation due to their mix of Doo-wop in Latin rhythms with English soul, which was quite new at the time. Everything was going well until he had some frictions with the label manager Jerry Masucci concerning the economic issue, so the singer ended up leaving the company to launch his own label Ghetto Records.
In the 1980s, he spent a long time away from music to devote himself to teaching at the same center where he was held and experienced some health declines that kept him silent for quite some time until he ws back in play in 2005, when he released his album ”Call My Name” whose rhythms were based on Latin soul and got many positive reviews. This album proved that Bataan was still a talented artist even though his genres are no longer the most popular.
Today, he is a person with extensive experience in the world of music who is always willing to give his everything to any fan who wants to listen to him. The Spaha Salsa Gallery team is pleased to have had his presence in recent days, so we hope that meetings like this one can be repeated.
Read also: Life and career of Ernie Acevedo
By Johnny Cruz, ISM Correspondent, New York, New York City