Written by Daniel Brody
Colombian salsa legend Joe Arroyo died on 26 July at the age of 55 after being hospitalized for several weeks with a variety of health problems. Arroyo’s performances as a salsa singer with bands such as Fruko & sus Tesos and Latin Brothers, as well as solo with his backing band La Verdad, brought Colombia’s unique spin on salsa to a worldwide audience. His specialty was weaving the sounds of African and Caribbean music into salsa, making it more rhythmically forceful and spastically energetic than the salsa coming out of New York and Puerto Rico at the same time. However, the most obvious was to know if you are hearing a Joe Arroyo tune is to listen for his imitation of a horse whinny, which he inserted into almost all of his songs. His death comes just as his popularity was back on the rise thanks to a new telenovela on Colombia television based on the story of his life. I’ve been hearing his most famous song, “Rebelion”, at almost every club I’ve gone out to recently, and sadly, it will probably become even more popular in the wake of his death.
Anyway, as far as the music goes, Arroyo left an entire discography full of catchy, danceable songs guaranteed to excite any party into salsa frenzy. I’ve put some of my favorites below, I hope you enjoy them and remember the good times. It is a sad day for Colombian music.
Taken from Bogotá Rocks!