Bang, Bang! Joe Cuba is Back

If the name Joe Cuba doesn’t ring any bells, that’s probably because you were born after the 1960’s when the legendary Nuyorican bandleader was dubbed the Father of Latin Boogaloo. And for those of you that don’t know what style of music that is, it’s a fusion of R&B and son montuno. Cuba died last year at the age of 78 but that doesn’t mean his spirit and sound did as well.

Thanks to the rebirth of Fania Records, we can get acquainted (or reacquainted) with the musician through the upcoming release Joe Cuba: A Man and his Music—El Alcalde del Barrio (out Feb. 23), a two-disc compilation with recordings never released in album form.

My personal favorite, also his biggest hit, is “Bang Bang,” a groovy tune with some catchy lyrics (“Cornbread, hog maw and chitterlings/ Cuchi cuchi cuchi”). Listening to it makes me want to do my hair in a high beehive, throw on some pointy-toed heels and get dancing.

Here’s a Joe Cuba primer in video form:


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About this author

Grace Bastidas, Deputy Editor

Born and raised in Queens, New York, where more languages are spoken than anywhere in the world, Grace Bastidas is Latina’s Deputy Editor. She oversees lifestyle content, including topics as diverse as career, health and relationships, and occasionally writes about her own experiences in The Good Life section. As a writer, Grace’s work has appeared in The New York TimesNew York magazine, The Wall Street Journal and Travel + Leisure. She is fluent in Spanish.

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