TUNES FOR TUESDAY - The link between Salsa and Ketchup!

A few entries ago, we started heading towards the point where Salsa, Fania, and Colombia definitely intersect. We found out that if such a point actually exists, it would have to be Antonio Fuentes' music label, Fuentes. We talked about Antonio's trip to Philadelphia in the 30s, his return to Colombia, the establishment of Fuentes in Medellin in the 50s, and the creation of the Corraleros de Majagual Band. And that's where life happened and we got interrupted.

Well, the Corraleros the Majagual began touring around Colombia and abroad. By 1967, when they toured Venezuela, one of the kids who used to carry instruments and run other errands for the band, had become their new timbalero or percussionist. The kid was sixteen years-old and his name was Julio Ernesto Estrada. Julio's face and especially the gap between his two big front teeth seemed to resemble the character used in the commercials of a brand of ketchup in Colombia at the time, Salsa de Tomate Fruco. Faithful to our Colombian tradition of complete disregard for political correctness, Fruko, became Julio's name from then on.

And now you see where we are headed with all this. Yes, Fruko brought to the band a new sound, a sound that was already floating around in New York, the sound of Salsa music. And Colombia was fertile ground for this budding genre. With ports over both the Pacific and the Atlantic, the country had already harbored African and Cuban rhythms such as Son Muntuno and Charanga from which Salsa originates. Fruko and Fuentes took it to the next level.

Here's a song from Fruko y Sus Tesos' album "El Violento" (1973), Salsa Na Ma (Salsa Nada Más, or Nothing But Salsa). A raw jam, this song features "Tomate" Mesa on piano and organ, Fruko on bass and persussion, and the background voice of Joe Arroyo.

For more on Fruko and the meaning of SUS TESOS, read this blast from the past:


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