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Joe Cuba 1931-2009

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, February 17, 2009 12:02pm | Post a Comment
Another legend has left us. Joe Cuba, who was known as “The Father of Boogaloo," passed away on Sunday, February 15. He had many hits during the 60's and 70's with his "Boogaloo" style, a mixture of Latin music and R&B sung in both Spanish and English. It was the perfect marriage between Motown and Fania, which were the sounds of New York at that time. It was the kind of music that got Afro-Americans listening to Latin music and got Latinos into soul. He had a number of hits, such as “Bang Bang,” “Push Push,” “El Pito,” “Ariñañara,” and “Sock It To Me Baby,”

He also helped launch the careers of many great singers, including Ruben Blades and Cheo Feliciano.

I got into Joe Cuba from the infamous bodega scene with RuPaul in the movie Crooklyn. In the background was the song "El Pito" and it knocked me out. I slowed down the VHS tape so that I could read the credits at the end of the movie. If you don't think you know Joe Cuba's music, maybe this scene from Crooklyn would refresh your memory:


I knew about Willie Bobo and Mongo Santamaria, but discovering Joe Cuba opened a door into the world of boogaloo and from there, into all the great Fania artists. Joe Cuba was instrumental in helping me to develop a deep love of Salsa and Afro-Caribbean music in general.

Thank You, Mr. Cuba, for helping all of us who were into your music expand our horizons.

Relevant Tags

Joe Cuba (1), Boogaloo (1), Fania (10)