New Costa Rica Salsa CD
Like much of modern Latin American culture, salsa music and dance originated literally hundreds of years ago on the islands that include Puerto Rica and Cuba. At the time, the region was called the Spanish Caribbean. But the term “salsa” is generally credited to Izzy Sanabria, a graphic artist who reportedly coined the phrase to identify the Latin music that was popular in New York in the Sixties. Sanabria designed album jackets for the popular Fania Records in New York City’s “Spanish Harlem”, founded by Jerry Masucci and Johnny Pacheco. It refers to a phrase the audiences would call out to the musicians during the montuno, the instrumental portion in the middle of a song, to “spice up” the established melodies, dance and rhythms of the time, such as la conga, cumbia, guaguanco and danzon, with a new, notable jazz influence.
Carlos was born in Alajuela, Costa Rica, a city known for its musical history. He received his nickname, “Pitusa” (funny little kid) from the family doctor when he was five years old. And the name has stayed with him into his adult life. He started playing music at the age of sixteen and has written more than seventy songs. La Solucion has accompanied countless salsa legends, such as Celia Cruz, Cheo Feliciano, Tony Vega, Johnny Rivera and the Puerto Rican band El Gran Combo, also known as “The University of Salsa” because they are regarded as the quintessential salsa group throughout the world. This is a long, storied relationship, dating back to 1972 in Panama, when Carlos was introduced to El Gran Combo by his father and Paco Navarrete.
During their career, La Solucion has released six albums, showcasing their talents in the Latin styles of cumbia and son, meringue and boleros, and of course, salsa. In 2006, the Congress of Salsa in Puerto Rico recognized the group for their high level of musical achievements. Now, Papaya Music has released Bailongo, a compilation disc spanning the history of this remarkable band. The songs were selected to portray the motto of La Solucion: “Emotion in every note”. It’s nice to see Costa Rica’s premiere salsa band receive the recognition it deserves.
Bailongo is available at Jaime Peligro stores in Playa Tamarindo, Quepos and Nuevo Arenal, where they will gladly sample the music for their customers. All comments concerning this article are welcome.