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Hispanic Heritage

Joe Arroyo

Salsa, Tropical, Pan-Latin, Cumbia musician
Born Alvaro José Arroyo Gonzalez, November 1, 1955, in Cartagena, Colombia

Joe Arroyo began his singing career at the age of eight, performing in strip joints in Cartagena. By the time he was a teenager he joined the historic Fruko y sus Tesos. That band was led by Julio Ernesto Estrada Rincon, or, more popularly, "Fruko," also known as Colombia's "Godfather of Salsa" — fittingly, since Arroyo would come to be its favorite son. In 1981 he founded his own group, La Verdad ("The Truth"), whose distinction was Arroyo's sometimes abrasive tenor and his fusion of salsa with his native land's cumbia dance music, Cuba's rhythmic son, and Haitian compas pop to create a sound so unusual it was given its own name: "Joe-son." His work is heard in every corner of Latin America, and the cross-cultural blend he's created has influenced salseros since the early 1980s.

Arroyo has an extensive discography on labels distributed in Latin America. One of the most readily available examples is Deja Que Te Cante (Sony International, 1998, prod. Joe Arroyo), which showcases Arroyo's cohesive fusion of sounds.

Source: Hispanic American Almanac, Gale, 1997; DISCovering Multicultural America, Gale, 1999.

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