Strut is pleased to present the first ever definitive 2CD retrospective of Fania Records, the seminal New York latin label, spanning its influential heyday between its formation in 1964 through to 1980.
Fania was originally the brainchild of musician and bandleader Johnny Pacheco who, when disillusioned with the label releasing his music, teamed up with lawyer Jerry Masucci to form a new imprint, named after a Reinaldo Bolanos composition. At the time, the era of the ‘mambo kings’ that reigned supreme in New York from the late 1940s through the 1950s had begun to lose momentum. New York’s new generation of young Latinos were more interested in doo-wop during the late 1950s, then the ‘twist’ and the R&B of Motown. Younger Nu Yorican musicians began experimenting with new, energetic fusions of Latin music like boogaloo and what ultimately became known as salsa and Fania arrived at the perfect time to bring the new sounds to the huge Latin communities in Spanish Harlem and across New York.
The label began signing artists like Louie Ramirez and Larry Harlow in 1966, then Bobby Valentin, Joe Bataan, conga maestro Ray Barretto, trombonist Willie Colon and singer Hector Lavoe. Over the next two decades, Fania successfully popularised the new music to a global audience and helped create a worldwide salsa explosion. Over time, it signed most of the major Latin artists of the era to the label including Celia Cruz, Ruben Blades and Roberto Roena.
This new 2CD set follows the development of Fania’s sound during its key years including early Johny Pacheco and Larry Harlow outings from 1964, classic Fania collaborations between Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe, seminal Latin soul (Joe Bataan, Ray Barretto), boogaloo and epic outings by Fania’s in-house super-group, the Fania All-Stars.
The 2CD set is packaged in a thick digipak with a 32-page booklet including a full Fania label history, memorabilia, album artwork and many previously unseen photos from the Fania archive. The 2LP set will be released as a gatefold.