Forgotten Treasures

Forgotten Treasure: Ray Barretto “Que Viva La Musica” (1972)


Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls had “Sirius” by The Alan Parsons Project as their intro music. Puerto Rico’s 1972 Island wide Basketball champions, Colegio San Antonio in Isabela, had “Que Viva La Musica“.

My father was the starting point guard that year. Decades years latter when I was a teenager my pops would introduce me to an album that would forever change my life. This was the 90’s and I was a Timberland wearing teenager being captivated by what was then, still a Hip-Hop culture in its prime. My walkman consisted of Doo-Wop’s ’95 Live, Nas, Biggie, Wu, and Tribe. Aside from Christmas time, the closest I got to Latin music, was when I heard Fat Joe or Kurious Jorge say a Spanish word in their rhymes.

However, the moment my father put the needle down on the title track “Que Viva La Musica” everything changed. Mr. Hard Hands starts the track slowly building the controlled insanity that is soon to begin. A few seconds later trumpets declare the entrance of even more flavor. By the end you have experienced why Ray Barretto will forever be the best conguero ever. Ever.

Alafia Cumaye” is the other heavy hitter on the album. Featuring one of my favorite intros of the genre.
Aside from the sound, the cover work by the master Izzy Sanabria further emphasizes the masterpiece that is this album. The back features a beautifully written piece by the Nuyorican legend, Last Poet, Young Lord, and salsa enthusiast Felipe Luciano.

The combination of the sounds and visuals of “Que Viva La Musica” spoke to my soul. In a way it re-introduced me to myself.

Buy Record from FANIA Records
Picture by Blue Note Records

Picture by Blue Note Records

Christian Martir

Christian Martir

Born in Santurce, Puerto Rico and now residing in New York City, Christian Mártir likens himself to a renaissance man. Over the last 7 years, as founder of the Rice & Beans Sound System, he has played and spread his love for Latin and Afro-Caribbean rhythms and culture.