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PREMIERE: DJ LeSpam Remixes Spanglish Fly’s “Chain of Fools (Feat. Snowboy)”

As we wrap up another premiere week, we have DJ LeSpam (of Spam All-Stars fame) who has paid his own incredible rendition to Spanglish Fly’s “Chain of Fools.”

About the song, DJ LeSpam comments,

“I tried to make it sound like an old funk 45”. 

Jonathan Goldman from Spanglish Fly adds, “Spam is one of the great figures in Latin music today, Great ears and great gear. So when he was interested in doing a remix of our version of “ hain of Fools” we jumped at it.”

SPANGLISH FLY burst onto the scene in 2009, when DJ Jonny Semi-Colon (Jonathan Goldman) started noticing that what really shook the dance floor was Latin boogaloo, late-60s records by Joe Cuba, Joe Bataan, Mongo Santamaria, etc. He knew he had to form a band to play the music live in the place where it began, New York City. Soon, SPANGLISH FLY was dazzling audiences at venues such as the Apollo, the Blue Note, BB King’s, SOB’s, and Brooklyn Bowl, including opening for boogaloo legends Joe Bataan and Johnny Colón. Over the years, the band has toured the US east coast, bringing the party to festivals such as Charlotte’s Latin American Fest and Massachusetts’ Green River Festival, and to arts institutions such as the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Recording for the labels Electric Cowbell and Chaco World Music, they have worked with legendary Fania producer Harvey Averne (Eddie Palmieri, Machito), Adrian Quesada (Grupo Fantasma, Brownout) and the crew at Brooklyn’s Truth and Soul Records.

SPANGLISH FLY’s new album, Ay Que Boogaloo! sees the NYC based band continuing to use boogaloo as a musical foundation while taking the genre in new and unexpected directions, incorporating bolero, New Orleans funk, swing jazz, Arabic chant, and other new sounds. The album title, Ay Que Boogaloo! stuck; Goldman states, “we liked this title because it sounds like something your abuela might say…It’s Spanish mixed with English, which is our thing.” The sophomore album is the documentation of the band itself in its current lineup and highlights the double-lead-vocals of Mariella Gonzalez and Paloma Muñoz. Goldman adds, “When I started the band a zillion years ago, I planned to have two women lead singers, inspired by records by Ray Terrace, The Latin Blues Band, and Joey Pastrana. That plan fell by the wayside, but was finally revived with Mariella Gonzalez and Paloma Muñoz, who work together beautifully.” The album also boasts guest appearances by Latin music luminaries Joe BataanSnowboyFlaco NavajaEl Callegueso, and graphic artist Izzy Sanabria to round it out. Goldman and Manuel Garcia-Orozco co-produced the record, and took it to Argentina for final mastering by Eduardo Bergallo.

Ay Que Boogaloo! was recorded in late 2016 to early 2017 in Soundworks Recording Studio in Astoria, Queens and Strange Weather Studio in Brooklyn, NY where the band laid down tracks live, directly to tape. The vibe in the studio was undeniable. At Strange Weather, keyboardist Kenny Bruno’s eyes nearly popped out of his head  looking at all the electric pianos and organs. Kenny states, “When I saw that array of keyboards–I wanted to move in … I had to be dragged away even though I’d been there 12 hours. I think they were ready to call police. Still miss that place.” It was at Strange Weather that singer Gonzalez improvised vocal parts for minutes on end over the salsa section of “You know I’m No Good/Chica Mala Mambo, ” while holding her 6 month-old baby, while the band played on and on, accompanying her in awe. Those were just two examples of how the sessions captured the incredible talent and synergy of the band.

Each song on the album brings something to the party and liner note writer Bobby Sanabria says it best about each song:

“Led by trumpeter Jonathan Goldman, the group has a deep understanding of the music’s roots. In their opener, Bugalú Pa Mi Abuela, they namecheck the genre’s early protagonists. Mongo, Richie Ray, Ray Barretto, Joe Cuba, etc., all get a nod while the band utilizes hand claps, group vocals, breakdowns, humor–all devices that were common to the sound of early boogaloo, but with a subtle clandestine nod to modern Cuban timba. It’s obvious, this is not your Grandma’s boogaloo. Vocalist Joe Bataan’s distinctive vocals, love of R&B, and compositional talent made him a superstar back in the early days of the style. Today he still tours the world enjoying legendary status as one of the music’s founders and elders. He’s featured on a funky cha-cha-son montuno that morphs into a swing feel with scatting and a slight ode to Billy Strayhorn’s A Train. It’s just letting you know why New York Rules [the song that will be premiered over at The Huffingston Post]If Amy Winehouse would’ve sung in a salsa band, the bolero/son, the rearrangement of You Know I’m No Good gives you a good idea what it would sound like. The band explodes on the up tempo mambo section featuring Morgan Price on the big horn ending with a lone acoustic guitar strumming in rumba flamenca style. And Boogaloo Shoes opens with the horns quoting Lionel Hampton’s 1946 jump blues swing hit, “Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop.” It’s a funky mambo cleverly based on a musical reference from the past and a tribute to the dancers of boogaloo.” That’s just a snapshot of some of the highlights from the album.

SPANGLISH FLY’s multicultural cast has origins in Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Venezuela, Japan, Argentina, Colombia, and Upper Manhattan. They come together in New York City to create quintessential music of the urban USA. Fans, whether they’ve been listening to boogaloo since back in the day or just yesterday, shake their thing to the band’s stirring melodies, danceable grooves and instant crowd engagement. It’s no surprise that the songs from the album were recorded under the first days of the Trump-era. Goldman concludes, “In an unspoken way, we were all conscious that the very fact that a multi-ethnic, multi-gender, multi-national, multi-generational group was recording an album of Afro-Caribbean music with lyrics in Spanish and English (and a bit of French and Arabic) was a contribution to the resistance.”

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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