Toppa Top 10: Bobbito Garcia’s 10-Step Latin Jam Program (Featuring: Willie Colon, Pepe Y Flora Sanchez, Hector Lavoe, Ismael Rivera, And More)

Toppa Top 10: Bobbito Garcia’s 10-Step Latin Jam Program

Words by Bobbito Garcia as told to Jessica Freites, photo by Joe Conzo.


DJ, writer, baller and all-around personality Bobbito is world-famous for his contributions to the spheres of sports, street-style and independent hiphop. But those who know him well know he has also been a tireless ambassador of salsa music, latin funk and sounds of the Spanish Caribbean in general and has been closely associated with the recent revival of interest in the classic salsa label Fania in particular. When we asked him about the influence of Caribbean culture on the wide spectrum of music he Fs with, here’s what he said:

I’ve been fortunate to have spun in over 40 countries throughout five different continents, and anywhere I go, no matter whether I’m throwing on an Afro-Cuban/Boricua/Dominican record, a Jamaican roots tune, or a jazz/dance banger from the Bahamas, it’s guaranteed to make people smile and get down on the dancefloor. I can specifically remember rocking in Rio de Janiero in front of 1,000 youth from the favelas, and biggest reaction of my set? Celia Cruz’ “Cucala”–a 7″ released before all of them were born, but it spoke to their core as people of spirit. Here’s a starter kit to open your mind up to some wonderful Latin music which I’ve played recently in my DJ sets!

Pepe Y Flora Sanchez “Que Bonita Bandera” (Paredon Records, 1971)
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The Tengo Puerto Rico En Mi Corazon album cover alone would’ve led me to pick this up! Beautiful artwork, as so many others of that era. Have to thank DJ Sake1, one of my SIEMPRE: DJ TRIBUTE TO FANIA RECORDS partners, for blessing me with this though. He showed up to the gig and was like “Blam! Here you go Bob!” Estaba muy agradecido.

Tato Torres Y YERBABUENA “La Casita De Chema” (7”, Álala Records,2010)
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I had heard YB kill this song for years at Camaradas and other venues, so when I started up my 7” vinyl label Álala Records, they were the first artists I approached about licensing something to put out! Took a second to get released, but it’s one of things I’m most proud about having accomplished this year.

Totin “Rumba Cultura” (7”, ABCD Records, 2008)
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This song puts me in a trance. If I’m spinning and feel like the crowd has the ability to get spiritual, this is where I travel. Produced by Afronaut of Bugz In The Attic fame, it’s one of the best latin recordings this decade in my estimation. And it’s too bad more people don’t know about it! I licensed to me and Rich Medina’s R2 Records compilation Connection Volume 1: Modern Explorations In Afro-Beat & Afro-Latin which was released in 2009 on double CD and digital download.Peep It

Tito Ramos “Big T” (7”, Cotique Records, ca. 1971)
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My father Ramón Garcia and Tito Ramos were super tight friends and partied hard together. At the time I was a shorty and had no clue Tito was making funky latin records! He doesn’t record anymore, left the swinging life behind and became a preacher, haha! True story!

Setenta “Funky Tumbao” (7”, Hot Casa Records, 2008)
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Another bananas latin funk record made not 40 years ago but recently! I wish people opened up their minds more and celebrated groups like these. I’m all about paying tribute to the past, but not at the expense of ignoring the current bangers. Oh, Setenta is from France, imaginate!

Har-You Percussion Group “Welcome To The Party” (7”, Jazzman Records, 2009)
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Originally released in 1969, Jazzman re-issued this ridiculously rare hard-hitter on 7”, much to my delight. Har-You was comprised of teenaged African American percussionists in Harlem. This song has never let me down on the dancefloor!

Ismael Rivera “Caras Lindas” (Esto Sí Es Lo Mío LP, Tico Records, 1978)
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Graf legend, gallery artist and close personal friend COCO 144 showed up to my debut night at Camaradas El Barrio (1st Ave. bet. 115/116th St.) with a copy of this record ON RED VINYL! I was buggin’, perfect way for me to kick off my residency there! (I spin there the 1st Monday of every month from 9pm-1am for those interested.)

Bobby Valentin “Nací Moreno” (7”, Bronco Records, 1977)
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I love when any genre–driven by people of color–dives into social issues, expressions of self-love, upliftment . . . topics that challenge people to think and at the same time move their feet. I’ll be spinning this 7” until the day I retire!

Quantic & His Combo Bárbaro “Un Canto A Mi Tierra” (12”, Tru Thoughts Records, 2009)
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I LOVE THIS RECORD, YA TU SABES! UK born and bred Quantic is one of my favorite producers, and he spent a year in Colombia pooling musicians together and putting the album Tradition In Transition together. Buy it now! For your own good! And then smile and thank me, jajaja.

Willie Colón “Todo Tiene Su Final” (7”, Fania Records, 1974)
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Some of my friends would throw water balloons at me in public if they read this and didn’t see not one joint sung by Hector Lavoe! Ja ja ja! I play this one out con mucho orgullo Boricua. Willie and Hector were incomparable.

This entry was written by Eddie Houghton, posted on December 10, 2010 at 4:52 pm
Courtesy Of: largeup.okayplayer.com

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