TUNES FOR TUESDAY - Salsa Con Estilo

We have been spending some time remembering the Salsa music stars of Fania Records. Since we are in no hurry to move on, I thought I'd spotlight another song by Rubén Blades, this one with a nostalgic connection to Colombia.

Not too long ago, when I was growing up in Colombia, television there was limited to two government owned channels --three, if you lived in the capital. This technological wonder broadcast in all the hues of the color spectrum from white to dark grey and only within the hours of 5 to 10 pm. With literally nothing to see on the tube, most pre-internet Colombians became addicted to radio.

On Saturday nights, all members of the Salsa cult, faithfully tuned in to a show named "Salsa con Estilo" (Salsa with Style) hosted by Jaime Ortiz Alvear. Jaime wasn't a DJ, he was one of the best sports commentators in the country, a possessor of encyclopedic knowledge about both sports and Salsa. At the beginning of the show, he would always recite: "Salsa, con estilo. . . el único show que no tiene cover" (Salsa with style, the only No Cover show), and between songs he would say "Con Ortíz para la Salsa, para la Salsa Ortíz" (With Ortíz for Salsa, for Salsa, Ortíz).

There was a song that he would allow to linger in the background as he repeated these words. That song was,

Juan Pachanga by Rubén Blades

Ortiz would play almost all of the first minute of the song before introducing the show, the instrumental intro of Juan Pachanga soaking his words.

Here's Rubén Blades with Fania in 1978.

After battling throat cancer, Jaime Ortiz Alvear passed away in January 2005. To honor his memory another radio station, La W, has revived Jaime's show. The new Salsa Con Estilo does not have a single host. Rather, a different host interviews and plays music from a single artist every week. The show can be heard Friday and Saturday nights, 8-10pm, and not only in Colombia, you can hear the webcast of the show from any where here:


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