And they focus their strategies on internet marketing.
In the 1970s, New York (United States) was the center of the emergence and development of the phenomenon known as “salsa” thanks, in large part, to the community of Puerto Ricans residing in that state who were in charge of interpreting and popularizing the rhythms worldwide. Afro-Caribbean.
Since the 30s, but particularly in the 50s, the migratory flow of Puerto Ricans had as an almost fixed destination the northern state of New York, mainly the city of the same name, from where they managed to enter the musical environment and then star in the called “boom” salsa in the 70s.
But in the last 30 years the migratory trend of Puerto Ricans changed its course to make Florida the state of choice in the United States, particularly what is known as Central Florida, where the cities of Orlando, Saint Petersburg and Tampa are the main.
And where there are Puerto Ricans there is music, especially salsa. But there the Puerto Ricans who try to stay active in salsa spend a lot of work to make themselves known, mainly due to the lack of radio support from the state stations.
“There are a lot of interpreters in Florida… I would tell you that at least 15 or 20 of them could be recording right now, but due to the lack of radio broadcasting here in Florida, they don’t take chances. Artists are not supported equally, ”singer Edwin“ El Calvito ”Reyes told NotiCel.
“It seems that we need the patronage of other already established interpreters to listen to us. There are groups like the Fire Orchestra that have been sponsored by great artists like the Galé Group. People like Tito Nieves and several others have also supported me. Thanks to those people, they are recognizing the work we are doing. We are where we are because those big names have recommended our work. For example, if someone important comes, they can tell you: ‘I’m going, but I want Calvito Reyes to open my show,’ “added the singer.
But, according to the native Trujillo Alto interpreter, what has to do with recordings and marketing they have to do “to pocket records.” Of course, that is if the orchestra or the soloist wants to present a new proposal.
“Yes, because there are thousands of cover orchestras. But those groups simply play what others are saying and that’s it. But groups that present themselves continuously and that present proposals and original material, I can mention the Fuego Orchestra, Edwin Lebrón, the legend Chamaco Rivera and this server. There is also Wito Rodríguez, who records, but he doesn’t show up much, ”Reyes said.
Also read: ‘Calvito’ Reyes: from the full to the army and to salsa
Marcus Hernández, director of the Orquesta Fuego, agreed with Reyes. “It is true that there are many cover orchestras. There are not many people who record because it is difficult, it is expensive and there are no companies that support it. One has to pay. We are lucky to have sponsors who help us ”, he indicated.
“In Orlando there are brave musicians and talented singers, but if there are no places to play, how are they going to stand out?” Asked Hernández, who said that he decided to add “show” elements to his presentations such as attractive uniforms and dancers in many cases. . “I buy uniforms for my musicians,” he said.
Hernández said that groups or performers who want to stand out in music today have to know how to handle social networks to promote their productions, in addition to hiring good promoters to present their songs on the radio.
Also read: Orquesta Fuego manages to insert itself strongly into tropical music
However, another of the great obstacles is one that comes from time immemorial, as stated by veteran singer Irwin “Wito” Rodríguez. “They don’t want to pay what the orchestras deserve. I think I deserve what I ask for, but if they don’t want to pay me, I’d better stay at home, “he admitted.
Rodríguez, who has recorded five productions in the last decade, also said that the age factor affects some of the salsa performers in Florida. “I am old and I know that I am not ‘new people’, but we have the experience,” he said.
“When they call me, I have several musical directors who can put me together an orchestra for that presentation. This is how I am working for now ”, he admitted.
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Salsa also has a good niche in the south
In the south, Miami, Hialeah and Fort Lauderdale are the main cities where the large Latino communities are concentrated, including Puerto Ricans. And there the salsa also stands out not only for the Puerto Ricans but also for the Cuban community that has made Miami their home many years ago.
Melina Almodóvar, a Puerto Rican singer who developed her artistic career in Miami for years, understands that work exists for that orchestra or interpreter that is established.
“It has to be established. In Miami it is something else, here you also have to appeal to the Cubans. But Puerto Ricans and Cubans help each other and that is excellent. It took me many years to achieve that, about seven or eight years to establish myself as a female singer. Salsa is a smaller than urban environment, but it can be done. It cannot be compared with the millions that reggaeton players earn, but neither is it that we are starving, “he said.
“But people do want to dance, they want to go out and for me there has always been a lot of work because I am a soloist. And it has a lot to do with the artist. That is why you have to keep creating, keep doing. I did internet shows in the pandemic. I was able to make up for lost time with my Friday night shows. I managed to add almost 200 thousand followers. Before the pandemic, I was so busy that I had not focused on the networks as I do now. But that was also what helped Calvito (Reyes). He is moving and creating and doing, ”said Almodóvar, who in recent years has also been the singer of the Tito Puente Jr. orchestra.
For the Puerto Rican artist, the pandemic did not affect her so much on a professional level, she said. “Since 2013 I set up my event production business. That is why I have been able to carry it a little better than other musicians with this pandemic. It has not been easy, but I see a great opportunity to do events again, “he said, mentioning the Miami Beach Salsa Fest that will take place on November 7 of this year.
It also produces the Hollywood Salsa Fest, which in 2020 and 2021 could not take place.
Also read: Melina Almodóvar and Tito Puente Jr reinvent themselves in the pandemic
It highlights then that social networks and the various digital platforms for music distribution are the main support for the promotion of musical works today. That would make up for the lack of support from traditional radio, which is focused on trendy genres that can generate high profits.
But creativity and content in the presentation of new musical proposals are also key to success and that is understood by those who want to highlight and leave a legacy.
“People are hungry for work, although still very cautious because of the pandemic. But in this genre you have to have new proposals, new arrangements. I believe that the public must be brought from the known to the unknown and back to the known. This way we will have the success we want ”, Calvito Reyes stressed.
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