Vintage Latin Picks From Betto Arcos Of 'Global Village' Arcos recently sat down with Weekend All Things Considered host Guy Raz to discuss what he's been spinning. Normally, Arcos shares new music, but here he goes back in time.
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Vintage Latin Picks From Betto Arcos Of 'Global Village'

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Vintage Latin Picks From Betto Arcos Of 'Global Village'

Vintage Latin Picks From Betto Arcos Of 'Global Village'

Vintage Latin Picks From Betto Arcos Of 'Global Village'

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Betto Arcos calls Pedro Miguel Y Sus Maracaibos (pictured) one of the stand-out bands from the heyday of tropical music in Peru. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Courtesy of the artist

Betto Arcos hosts a show called Global Village on KPFK in Los Angeles. He recently sat down with Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered, to discuss what he's been spinning. Normally, Arcos shares new music, but here he goes back in time. You can listen to their conversation by clicking on the audio link above, and hear the full songs below.

And here's a bonus: A video of Michi Sarmiento talking about his music.

Vintage Latin Picks From Betto Arcos

Cover for ¡Gózalo!, Vol. 4: Bugalú Tropical

Psicosis

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La Sonora De Lucho Macedo, Canta Johnny Arce

  • Song: Psicosis
  • from ¡Gózalo!, Vol. 4: Bugalú Tropical

These songs fill in the link between the mambo era and the dawn of salsa in South America. When drawing a musical map of Latin America, the mistake is often made to identify the zone of Afro-Latin music's influence only around the Caribbean. It's true that the great creators are Cuban and Puerto Rican, but when their music spread out across Latin America, similar scenes sprung up in other parts of the continent. It was during the '50s that the genre captivated Peru, Panama, Colombia and Venezuela — countries with a strong African legacy.

Buy Featured Music

Song
¡Gózalo!, Vol. 4: Bugalú Tropical
Album
¡Gózalo!, Vol. 4: Bugalú Tropical
Artist
Various Artists
Label
Vampi Soul
Released
2011

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Cover for ¡Gózalo!, Vol. 4: Bugalú Tropical

Saludo Maracaibo

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Pedro Miguel Y Sus Maracaibos

  • Song: Saludo Maracaibo
  • from ¡Gózalo!, Vol. 4: Bugalú Tropical

Here's one of the bands that stand out from the heyday of tropical music in Peru in the '60s. Check out the vocal harmonies over the electric guitar. It's a sort of homage to a few big-name composers of music in Latin America: They name such greats as Ernesto Lecuona and Agustin Lara, then play a melody from a well-known tune composed by each of them, and then they include a Peruvian composer. The idea here is that there are also great composers in Peru.

Buy Featured Music

Song
¡Gózalo!, Vol. 4: Bugalú Tropical
Album
¡Gózalo!, Vol. 4: Bugalú Tropical
Artist
Various Artists
Label
Vampi Soul
Released
2011

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Cover for Cartagena! Curro Fuentes & the Big Band Cumbia & Descarga Sound of Colombia 1962-72

Arroz Con Coco [Gaita]

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Lucho Bermudez Y Su Orquesta Sabanera

  • Song: Arroz Con Coco [Gaita]
  • from Cartagena! Curro Fuentes & the Big Band Cumbia & Descarga Sound of Colombia 1962-72

Sourced from a period when musicians effortlessly combined the swing of cumbia with the driving bass of salsa, Cartagena! unwraps a period of musical history seldom heard beyond the tropical coast of South America. The album focuses on the extraordinary life and career of Curro Fuentes, the youngest brother of the family responsible for the Discos Fuentes label. Cartagena! explores a changing era for Colombian music, when new styles like porro, fandango and cumbia mixed with descargas and salsa, cementing Colombia's reputation as a formidable dance-music hot spot in Latin America. The album features 19 tracks, of which none have been released on CD outside of South America, and includes a 28-page full-color booklet with detailed liner notes.

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Song
Cartagena! Curro Fuentes & the Big Band Cumbia & Descarga Sound of Colombia 1962-72
Album
Cartagena! Curro Fuentes & the Big Band Cumbia & Descarga Sound of Colombia 1962-72
Artist
Various Artists
Label
Soundway
Released
2011

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Cover for Cartagena! Curro Fuentes & the Big Band Cumbia & Descarga Sound of Colombia 1962-72

La Cumbia Del Pescador [Cumbia Guaguancó]

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Puerto Rico Y Su Combo

  • Song: La Cumbia Del Pescador [Cumbia Guaguancó]
  • from Cartagena! Curro Fuentes & the Big Band Cumbia & Descarga Sound of Colombia 1962-72

This is one of the coolest tunes on this compilation, which represents a musical genre called "Cumbia guaguanco." It starts as a cumbia and then, at about 1:54, turns into a Cuban "guaguanco." This is what's so special about Colombian music from this period: Musicians had the ability to create a sound so rich, blending Cuban music and salsa with an infusion of their own Colombian music.

Buy Featured Music

Song
Cartagena! Curro Fuentes & the Big Band Cumbia & Descarga Sound of Colombia 1962-72
Album
Cartagena! Curro Fuentes & the Big Band Cumbia & Descarga Sound of Colombia 1962-72
Artist
Various Artists
Label
Soundway
Released
2011

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Cover for Aqui Los Bravos (The Best Of Michi Sarmiento Y Su Combo Bravo)

Aqui Los Bravos

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Michi Sarmiento Y Su Combo Bravo

  • Song: Aqui Los Bravos
  • from Aqui Los Bravos (The Best Of Michi Sarmiento Y Su Combo Bravo)

This is a collection of pure Colombian dance-floor thunder: 16 tracks of the finest guaguancos, descargas and cumbias recorded by legendary bandleader Michi Sarmiento Y Su Bravos and released on the infamous Discos Fuentes label between 1967 and 1977. Born into a musical family in 1938, Michi, a musical child prodigy of sorts, began playing the cabarets, casinos and cathouses of Cartagena in the late 1950s. By 1967, he'd formed his Combo Bravo (the band consisted of two trumpets, Michi on tenor sax and clarinet, guitar and piano, electric bass, tumbadora, timbales and a young Joe Arroyo on vocals) and began to play live alongside other exciting young groups such as Toño Y Su Combo, Los Seven Del Swing and Puerto Rico Y Su Combo. Along with infectious dance porros and cumbias, Michi Y Su Bravo specialized in rumbling guaguancos, descargas and hot covers of early salsa and boogaloo hits. Michi's LPs on Discos Fuentes, brilliantly produced and recorded by Mario "Pachanga" Rincón, were packed with fast-paced dance-floor burners featuring pumping bass, insistent montunos, sax solos and nasty metallic percussion.

Buy Featured Music

Song
Aqui Los Bravos (The Best Of Michi Sarmiento Y Su Combo Bravo)
Album
Aqui Los Bravos (The Best Of Michi Sarmiento Y Su Combo Bravo)
Artist
Michi Sarmiento & Su Combo Bravo
Label
Soundway
Released
2011

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?