SPANGLISH FLY is New York City’s only band dedicated to reviving and renewing the music known as Latin bugalú or boogaloo, the sound that sprang from the street corners, the transistor radios, the pool halls and the clubs of 1960’s Spanish Harlem. Featuring eleven members with origins in Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico, the UK, Canada, “Loisaida” and Upper Manhattan, Spanglish Fly comes together to play the mixture of soul, r&b, and Latin rhythms that was born in El Barrio. The band’s live shows are explosive Latin Soul parties with packed dance floors. Fans, whether they’ve been listening to boogaloo since back in the day or just since yesterday, shake their thing to Spanglish Fly’s original tunes, which pay homage to the boogaloo genre while refreshing it for a new generation. They get out on the floor for the band’s arrangements of boogaloo classics and vintage soul hits. A Spanglish Fly show is a night of stirring melodies, danceable grooves and instant crowd engagement, including the popular Bugalú Dance Lesson. Audiences go wild dancing the boogaloo or simply free styling it, feverishly responding to the instantly accessible sounds.
SPANGLISH FLY originated when DJ Jonny Semi-Colón (Jonathan Goldman) started noticing that amidst his sets of old-school funk and soul, what really shook the dance floor was Latin boogaloo, the late-60’s records of Joe Cuba, Joe Bataan, Ray Barretto, Mongo Santamaria, Joey Pastrana, Johnny Colón, Lebron Brothers, etc.
JG made it his mission to bring this music live to NYC audiences. Raiding the ranks of groups such as BioRitmo, Grupo Latin Vibe and the Hungry March Band, he recruited a bateria of percussionists steeped in traditional Latin rhythms, a horn section of young veterans from the NYC soul, jazz and brass scene, and an accomplished bass player with a resume full with names of Latin Jazz giants. The crew was completed by vocalist Erica Ramos (all other singer auditions were cancelled), who perfectly embodies boogaloo’s soulful underpinnings.
In the summer of 2009 Spanglish Fly began playing shows in Spanish Harlem and North Brooklyn, eventually dazzling audiences at renown NYC venues such as SOB’s, Le Poisson Rouge, Drom, Sullivan Hall, Brooklyn Bowl and Fonda Boricua Lounge. They have toured the northeast, bringing the party to Philadelphia and Boston and points in between. Their debut CD, simply titled Latin Soul y Bugalú and featuring the hit single “Think (Pensamiento)” (Electric Cowbell Records) was released to enthusiastic reviews in the spring of 2010.
For their latest release, Spanglish Fly went into the studio with Fania legend Harvey Averne, the man behind the boards for classic records by giants like Ray Barretto and Eddie Palmieri. The results? Two tunes grounded firmly in the old school while updating boogaloo for the next generation of fans.
Brooklyn boogaloo is a faithful recreation of 1960s boogaloo –complete with chants, claps, and dance instructions– but with lyrics about life in the Bk today. It name checks DJ Turmix, quotes a certain ubiquitous ice cream truck melody, and shouts out to Brooklyn neighborhoods to beyond.
With lyrics in which singer Erica Ramos celebrates the … abilities … of her man, sounds like a NYC Latin band veering south toward the Big Easy, featuring a rhythm and blues beat and rolling piano riffs–before the whole band takes off in a Cuban carnival, fading away until all that’s left is the sound of percussionists jamming in the park, long after dark.