the great Joe Arroyo, RIP

Today I’d like to digress from my regular subjects to pay homage to one of the greatest salsa artists of all time. Joe Arroyo passed away this morning in Barranquilla from respiratory and cardiac complications.

The Colombian artist was born into poverty in Cartagena in 1955. He had an exceptionally gifted career, recording his first songs at the age of 14, becoming a major hit at 17 while playing with Fruko y sus Tesos, and continuing a lifelong growth far beyond mere stardom and into a very select group of idolized salsa giants.

He was already at the top of his game in the 70’s, when New York was the mecca of latin rhythm. He recorded for and with everyone who was anyone in the world of salsa. By the 80’s and 90’s he filled stadiums to celebrate his 20 years in the industry.

And so he became the legend that he is today, and will remain in our hearts and musical memory forever.

Here’s to you Joe, thank you for your poems, rhythms and insatiable energy!

(For a Rolling Stone magazine interview go here)


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