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The Salsa Explosion:
A few years after the 1958 revolution, Cubans began to leave the country, fearing they would soon be unable to do so freely. Their steady arrival in the States fueled North America's Latin music scene. New York city had already experienced a wave of Puerto Rican immigration throughout the 50’s. After a series of aggressive moves by Castro to remove the still strong presence of the Americans in his country, the United States imposed a trade embargo. With the large number of Cuban exiles already in the States and the steady influx of immigrants from many other Latin American countries, the musical exchange continued on despite the discontinued flow of Cuban musicians.

In 1964 Fania Records was founded by Johnny Pacheco, a New York flutist and musical arranger, and attorney Jerry Masucci. It featured successful artists such as Ruben Blades, Celia Cruz, Eddie Palmieri, Ray Barretto, Hector Lavoe and Willie Colon. In fact, it was La Fania itself that re-coined the phrase "Salsa" in the early 70's (first used by Ignacio Pineiro in the title of his piece called "Echele Salsita"), in order to create an easily recognizable name to promote their product. The 70's became the "heyday" of Salsa. In 1970 Fuentes Records a Colombian record company in business since 1935, backed the founding of a Salsa group called Fruko Y Sus Tesos and it branded the birth of Colombian Salsa and led a host of other Colombian Salsa bands and Artists which would contribute heavily to the shaping of Salsa for the next 15 years. When Fania Label folded in the mid-80's, Fuentes took its place as the foremost provider of quality tropical music.*

* Ernesto Lechner for the LA Times article speaking on the resurgence of Colombian Style "Hard Salsa", June 4/00

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