Everybody salsa! Fania, the ramshackle New York label that sent Latin rhythms global

Everybody salsa! Fania, the ramshackle New York label that sent Latin rhythms global

Its founders went from flogging LPs from a car to defining a genre in the late 60s. As a box set is released, manager Harvey Averne and star Joe Bataan recall those heady days in East Harlem

It is 1967. Latin boogaloo – a fusion of African American R&B and Cuban rhythms reflecting the rich melting pot of East Harlem, New York – is sweeping the barrio. Johnny Pacheco, a devotee of traditional Latin music, considers boogaloo “horrendous” and “not music”.

Nevertheless, he will quickly learn to love the money it makes his groundbreaking label, Fania Records. After the boogaloo fad subsides, a new wave of innovative, charismatic young stars will rise to make Fania the premier Latin label in the US. Salsa – their distinctive blend of traditional tropical rhythms – will become the vibrant soundtrack to pre-disco New York.

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