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Spanish Harlem’s musical development thrived between the 1930s and 1980s in New York City. This area was called El Barrio by its inhabitants and Spanish Harlem by all others. It was a neighborhood where musicians from the Caribbean or their descendants organized musical groups, thereby adding to the diaspora that began in Africa and Spain. The music now called salsa had its roots in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Santo Domingo, and it continued developing on another island: Manhattan.
About the Author
A native of Spanish Harlem, Silvio H. Alava lived and was a part of the musical legacy. From the legendary Palladium days of the 1940s and 1950s, which showcased the music of Machito and His Afro Cubans as well as the musical battles between the two Titos (Puente and Rodriguez), to the birth of Latin jazz, the early days of the Fania Records dynasty and the percussive jam sessions of Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Willie Bobo, and Ray Barretto, Alava has documented decades of Latin history through illuminating, distinctive images he has captured with a discerning eye. He is also one of the founders of Latin Beat magazine.