In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Billboard’s Latin editors are sharing their personal HHM playlist with readers through Oct. 15. Leila Cobo, Billboard’s VP/Latin Industry lead shares hers here.
I was born and raised in Cali, Colombia, “La capital de la salsa!” — the salsa capital of the world. If you’ve ever been to Cali, Colombia’s third largest city with a population of 2.3 million, you know what I mean. The entire city is permeated with music. It plays on every street corner, from every window, every car. To this day, when I go home, I fall asleep to the faraway beat of the clave that drifts up into my apartment window late at night and into the early hours of the morning.
In December, during La Feria de Cali, the beat never stops. The entire valley is wrapped in continuous revelry. Growing up in Cali means learning to dance salsa and cumbia and merengue and every possible rhythm that involves a partner almost from the moment you can walk. Cali salsa is aggressive, hard-hitting, its horns staccato, syncopated daggers, and it is fast! (For a glimpse, watch the “Cali Pachanguero” video below).
Grupo Niche, Guayacán, Piper Pimienta, Joe Arroyo — they all defined that sound, unmistakable, brash, in-your-face, designed to be danced, to sweat to. Beyond them, most salsa bands around the world have penned odes to Cali, its dancers and its beautiful women. Here are a few of my favorites.
Grupo Niche – “Cali Pachanguero”
Guayacán Orquesta – “Oiga, Mire, Vea”
The Latin Brothers – “Las Caleñas Son Como Las Flores”
Roberto Lugo – “Cali es Cali”
Piper Pimienta y Los Latin Brothers – “A la loma de la cruz”
Anddy Caicedo – “Arroz Con Coco”
Grupo Niche – “Cali Ají”
Grupo Galé – “Cali Ae”
Oscar d’León – “Yo Me Voy Pa’ Cali”
Willy García – “Así es que se baila en Cali”Credit: Original article published here.