As Latin rhythms increasingly weave their way into the production of western pop music, and new salsa bars heat up cities from Tokyo to Tbilisi, people around the world are now seeking the source of the sounds for a more authentic flavor.
Latina Stereo has been a salsa stalwart in Medellin for 25 years, bringing hard and fast rhythms to listeners across Colombia, and since 2000 when they became the first Colombian radio station to broadcast online, to the rest of the salsa loving world.
The reaction from internet listeners in the U.S. and Europe, as well as from foreigners in Medellin, has now impelled the legendary station to broaden its horizons further by introducing the English and Spanish bilingual show, “Oye La Charanga.”
Director of the radio station Carlos Guevara told Colombia Reports that charanga music “has its origins in early 20th Century New York, when Cuban exiles got together for jam sessions.” It is a kind of “Cuban orchestra” which fuses classically European instruments, such as violins, piano and flutes with timbales (a type of Cuban drum), and congas to produce salsa rhythms intricately twined with orchestral melodies.
The inspiration behind the “Oye La Charanga” program came from the “huge feedback received through email from the North American and European audiences who listen to Latina Stereo online,” Guevara said.
In early June, Guevara approached Medellin’s ritzy shopping mall, El Tesoro, in search of support for the new show as charanga music is “popular among foreigners and richer people in strata five and six.” El Tesoro Mall agreed to gauge interest by staging a one-hour pilot for shoppers, and following a positive response, threw their backing behind the project.
Now into its first month, the charanga show runs from 4 PM to 5 PM (Eastern Standard Time) Monday through Friday, with a Monday night replay at 10 PM.
The shows start with a brief history of the music and information about featured artists, before dropping the fused grooves on to listeners around the world.