International Salsa Magaine presents by Bella Martinez the Irreverent writer of La Salsa.
Julito Alvarado composes, arranges, produces, complements on backing vocals and plays his trumpet on the recently released Christmas single entitled La marquesina. For this, he invites Luisito Carrión and Prodigio Claudio to be part of the song conceptualized in a traditional septet format. Before looking at the credits, I thought I heard Henry Santiago in the chorus singing: “Tú pones la marquesina y te traigo lo que te gusta” (You put up the marquee and I’ll bring you what you like) between pregón and pregón. Indeed, I located his name in the credits.
In the first minute, Julito harmonizes with his characteristic trumpet solo. At the second minute, we are treated to the Puerto Rican cuatro solo by Prodigio, shortly after Luisito Carrión brings out his commercial announcer’s voice, announcing the solo.
In addition to the above mentioned, the musicians responsible for such sonority are: Jerry Rivas and Julito Alvarado, along with Henry Santiago on backing vocals; Efraín Hernández on bass; Pedro Bermúdez on piano; Omar Hernández on timbales and bongo set; Tommy Lee Ramos on tumbadoras and Neftalí Ortiz on güiro.
Melina Almodóvar brings us Estamos en Navidad, written by Luigi Flores, who also made the musical arrangement and played the piano.
The song starts in Melina’s voice, announcing that we are in Christmas and that a new year is coming. “Oh, what an emotion and blessing that we are in Christmas…” she announces the good wishes chanting, between soneos: “have a lot of prosperity and that your dreams come true”.
Before the first minute, Fabiola Muñoz Ortiz’s Puerto Rican cuatro takes center stage. During the second minute, the guest of honor adds Puerto Rican spice to the longest Christmas in the world with her Puerto Rican cuatro solo, after Melina gives way with a resounding: “Tell Fabiola, how Christmas is heard in Puerto Rico”.
Melina also sings about the coquito, the Christmas menu and everything else that might suggest a Puerto Rican Christmas in full swing. I love the positive message, whose lyric assures us that the best is yet to come. It is one of the few contemporary Christmas songs -if not the only one- in that line of positive and motivational inspiration, without being a religious or sacred lyric. Anyway, the Christmas salsa song is great. It is very tasty.
The musicians responsible for accompanying Melina on this recording are as follows: Alex Zapata on trombones, Daniel Silva on bass, Caliche Sabogal on all percussion, our beloved musical genius -Luis Aquino- on trumpets. Henry García, Melina Almodóvar and Ángel Vallenilla complement from the choirs.
Angel “Papote” Alvarado and his Grupo Esencia bring us the single entitled Yo vengo. The song takes off and “takes a trip” from the first bars, affirming with forcefulness between trombones and tambourines: “I come from a truly powerful race, very deep roots and unparalleled culture”. The pen and accordion of Ricky Martinez affirm in the voice of Papote: “My homeland is a jewel and in the world is unique, my people and my flag, are national treasure …” declaring patriotic pride and cultural responsibility, between soneos that embrace the chorus: “I come, I come, I come …”.
Motivating to move forward with the well known “pa’ lante boricua”, an honorable mention is given by saying a musical farewell to the late plenero Tito Matos, shortly before José Eduardo embellishes the theme with his Puerto Rican cuatro, so present during the Christmas season. This is the song that awakens Puerto Rican patriotism and motivates it to flourish.
Statements like: “how happy I feel with my flag held high” and “Puerto Rico my homeland, the queen of my loves, for its people and my people, the most beautiful of flowers” while listening to the brothers Toñito and Victor Vazquez guapear with their trombones; synchronize our hearts to the rhythm of patriotic pride that only the Puerto Rican Afro-Caribbean essence understands.
In keeping with the Puerto Rican concept of celebrating Christmas as early as September, as soon as the gentle breezes of our tropical Christmas season begin to be felt, Choco Orta released this Christmas classic. From the pen of our own Gloria Gonzalez, Choco Orta produced, directed and released this all-time hit.
It is worth mentioning that this song has already consolidated as a classic, originally popularized by the quartet Los Hispanos. In this way, Choco celebrates with Los Hispanos the 70th anniversary of the longest running quartet in existence, in addition to his 35 years of artistic career.
Choco Orta considers the Los Hispanos quartet “one of the great pearls and treasures of our Puerto Rican soil. Currently, the members of the Los Hispanos quartet are Wisón Torres, Tato Díaz, Rafy Torres and Nino Segara.
For the production of this single, Choco had the collaboration of Nino Segarra in the arrangement, musical direction and keyboards. Musicians of the stature of Julio Loyola on trumpets; Moisés Cancel on trombones; Hilton Mercado on baritone saxophone; Ceferino Cabán on piano; Alexis Pérez on bass; Manny Trinidad on cuatro and guitar and Javier Tito Álvarez on tumbadoras, bongo and timbales delivered such perfection.
The Orquesta del Rey de Puerto Rico brings us El lechón vacunao, from the pen of Miguel García. The composer manages to inject jocularity into the return of the Puerto Rican Christmas celebration with all the trappings of the law, after having been inhibited from celebrating Christmas in person because of COVID-19.
Néstor Ramos Zavala interprets the nice song. He is accompanied by: Michael Colón and David Irurita on trombones; Harel Orengo, José Claudio and Eduardo Alvelo on trumpets; Juan Ramos on bongo; Gary Rodríguez on tumbadoras; Javier González on timbal; Benjamín Vázquez on bass; Sebastián Alicea on piano; Israel Santana on Puerto Rican cuatro; Cándido Reyes on güiro; Millie Smith, Luis Martínez and Jorge Agosto on backing vocals; Ezequiel Colón is the voice of Don Seco.
By Bella Martinez, ISM Correspondents, San Juan, Puerto Rico
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