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Puerto Rican salsa star, Maelo Ruiz. EFE/MR Records
Puerto Rican salsa star, Maelo Ruiz. EFE/MR Records

Maelo Ruiz: "The tune must be catchy"

The famous Puerto Rican salsa star is promoting Volume 2 of his disc "Romantico y Boricua". 

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A Puerto Rican salsa star, who is promoting Volume 2 of his disc "Romantico y Boricua," told EFE that for a salsa singer to make a hit vocalizing romantic, sensual numbers, he needs the help of a particular kind of inner angel while performing.

"There are singers who don't have such luck - an angel not only to inspire their singing but also for expressing their feelings," said Maelo Ruiz, who belongs to a salsa group that for at least 30 years has been dedicated to performing those mournful love songs known as "wrist slitters."

Maelo Ruiz, born Ismael Ruiz Hernandez, has been singing romantic numbers since 1987 when he gained fame for "No Quites la Ropa" (Don't Take Off Your Clothes) as a member of the Pedro Conga orchestra, and which his fans still ask him to sing when he takes the stage.

Since then, Ruiz has made music with a salsa group that plays a rhythm that some fans call "salsa monga," though he said very humbly that he is not the "leader" in the world of romantic salsa.

Other representatives of the category internationally, Ruiz said, are Willie Gonzalez, David Pabon, Pedro Arroyo, Rey Ruiz, Gilberto Santa Rosa and Victor Manuelle, along with Lalo Rodriguez and Eddie Santiago, and whose number formerly included the late Frankie Ruiz.

"The idea is to have an open mind about music...There are singers who have their style and I think I'm one of them," said Ruiz, who last April 14 launched Volume 2 of "Romantico y Boricua" (Romantic and Puerto Rican), the 10th disc of his career.

According to Ruiz, the key to success in romantic salsa is that the tune must be "catchy," have sales appeal and must deeply move all kinds of listeners, though in his case that mostly means women. 
      

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