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El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico. Photo by Roots Agency.
El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico. Photo: Roots Agency.

El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico maintains its own identity in its new album

The Salsa orchestra El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico launches its new album maintaining its characteristic seal.

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The legendary orchestra El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico recently launched En Cuarentena, its latest album in the face of what the group's director, Rafael Ithier, calls a "monopolization of the urban genre in the industry." 

Ithier spoke in an interview with EFE, in which he referred to the orchestra's "own identity" as the sound that has accompanied them throughout the group's 60-year musical career.

"The musical timbre of the Gran Combo cannot be changed. We have to continue that way," he said. 

The orchestra director mentioned that a distinctive characteristic of El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, a group known as "The University of Salsa," among many things, is that they allow the singer to shine and their intention is more musical than rhythmic.  

The new voices incorporated to the orchestra, Anthony García and Joselito Hernández, have managed to understand and maintain their musical identity.

"This entry of Joselito and Anthony is to give another vibe to the Gran Combo, with other energy, with other desires to do different things and for people to see youth. These guys today have absorbed that and know where to go," said Ithier 

Jerry Rivas, the oldest singer in the orchestra, affirmed that the young incorporations allow the group to remain current, as well as salsa itself.

Fewer and fewer Puerto Rican musicians are choosing to perform this Caribbean rhythm in the face of competition from other genres with greater international visibility.

"If we give them the opportunity, we give them the success we had. They are tremendous musicians. It's a matter of giving them the opportunity," he added.

Rivas admitted to EFE that "you have to take your hat off to these guys, because they got into this genre at the hardest time and in a very bad time" economically.

 

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