Eddie Palmieri’s “Vámonos Pa’l Monte” is an international hit, an anthem for the people. Initially released in 1971, this composition was an extension of the political themes covered in Palmieri’s album, “Justicia,” and in songs like “Revolt/La Libertad Logico.” Engaged with movment builders from the Young Lords Party and inspired by the cultural environment of the time, Palmieri proclaimed that freedom was logical and challenged anyone who dared to take that freedom away.
Influenced by fellow musician and mentor Bob Bianco, Palmieri attended free courses at the Henry George School of Social Science in New York City. The curriculum was centered on George’s book, Progress and Poverty, which was published in 1879. It is the conditions that existed, or “Condiciones Que Existen”—as Palmieri would later title a tune found on his “Sentido” album—that give reason to revolt against socio-economic inequity.
Palmieri created this song as a response to the cultural and political turbulence of the 1960’s and early 1970’s; he understood that crime and poverty were symptoms of injustice that are omnipresent in every generation and thus require a rallying cry for a cultural revolution.
As co-writer of the song and lead singer Ismael Quintana put it, “[t]he lyrics were about trying to cope with the injustices in the world. It meant let’s get out of this crazy mess and so much negativity that we live in, and let’s go to the mountains.”
To the initiated, the opening vamp is as recognizable as any of Palmieri’s phrases, it is a call to respond to the furious rhythmical incline. Of course, the original song features Eddie’s older brother, Charlie Palmieri, playing a solo on organ that Eddie describes as, “A monster! It will never be equaled what he played on that tune. It was rocking!”
Arranged by percussionist Jose Madera, the contemporary version is a big band arrangement that includes the cream of the crop of New York based musicians. The familiarity between Eddie and his fellow players adds to their swingin’ instrumentation; it is a seasoned Palmieri who presents a sophisticated Latin Jazz twist to an anthem of NYC. With singer Herman Olivera on vocals, Palmieri endearingly refers to his latest piece as “A Killa!”
Author: Jiro Ignacio Palmieri
Editor: Denia C. Perez
Translation: FA Brand Tuning
★ “Vámonos Pa’l Monte”-2015 Available On ➧ iTunes