Cappuccino Soul

Cappuccino Soul

Monday, August 01, 2011

Salsa Great Joe Arroyo Dies at 55

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by Jon Pareles
The New York Times

Joe Arroyo, a Colombian songwriter, singer and bandleader whose pan-Caribbean salsa hybrids and historically conscious lyrics made him one of his country’s most respected musicians, died on Tuesday in Baranquilla, his adopted home city in Colombia. He was 55.

The cause was hypertension and fluid in the lungs, his manager, Luis Ojeda, said.

His death drew tributes from Juan Manuel Santos, the president of Colombia; the Colombian pop singer Shakira, who appeared in concert with Mr. Arroyo; and the Colombian rocker Juanes, who often performed the Arroyo hit “La Noche” in concert.

And it was mourned throughout Colombia. Fans thronged his funeral at a cathedral in Baranquilla on Wednesday in an outpouring of grief, and Cartagena, the Caribbean coastal city where Mr. Arroyo was born, declared two days of official mourning, with flags flown at half staff and Mr. Arroyo’s music played in the historic city center. The Latin Recording Academy said it would award Mr. Arroyo a posthumous Prize of Musical Excellence in November.

Mr. Arroyo claimed his own genre in Caribbean music: Joesón. His songs drew their danceable rhythms from traditions within Colombia, including cumbia and porro, and from all around the Caribbean, with elements of Dominican merengue, Jamaican reggae, Martinican zouk, Trinidadian soca, Cuban son montuno and more.

He had a high, fervent tenor voice, and the songs and arrangements he wrote were driven by supercharged horns and percussion. Although there were many love songs and party songs among his dozens of Latin American hits, Mr. Arroyo’s signature song was “Rebelión,” about a 17th-century slave uprising in Cartagena, with its chorus, “No le pegue a la negra” (“Don’t hit the black woman”). He named his band La Verdad — the Truth.

Read the full story here.

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Rowland said...
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