Joe Arroyo – Rebelión, Mary, Tumbatecho

In preparation for our Tribute to Joe Arroyo on Sept. 9, I promised you that we would post a whole bunch of his music in the next couple of weeks. A bit of a slow start, yes, but it’s time to deliver.

Maybe we’ll start with the basics. Not sure if you’ve heard Joe Arroyo before? If you’ve been to  just about any “Latin night” in the US, you have. They probably played his classic Rebelión (“No le pegue a la negra”), about an African slave in Cartagena rebelling against his Spanish master after he beat up his woman. Here’s the video -which has a bit of an awkward time balancing the dancing and the history lesson- and a great interview (in spanish) of Chelito de Castro about his famous piano solo.


But there’s so many other great songs in that album! El Joe had just come out from a dark period of excesses and illnesses that he barely survived. He came out of it stronger than ever, with the album Me le Fugué a la Candela, “I escaped the fire”. (The next album,”Musa Original”, has almost the same songs – dunno what’s up with that.) Another classic salsa from that album is his love declaration to his wife at the time:

Mary by Joe Arroyo


El Tumbatecho is his first “Joesón” – his trademark fusion of salsa, Afro-Colombian, French-Caribbean music, and delicious 80’s arrangements. This is one of his many songs about partying so hard – and putting who knows what in his body – that he’s not able to sleep.

Tumbatecho by Joe Arroyo


¡Ponte bacano que hay baile hoy!


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