Puerto Rico vibrated again this Sunday to the sound of tropical rhythms after the break caused by the pandemic on its National Zalsa Day, which was full of emotions and tributes and was attended by some 20,000 people.
With the colors of the Puerto Rican flag very present on shirts, hats and other accessories, the 38th edition of the most important salsa festival on the island and of great relevance in the Caribbean brought together outstanding artists and orchestras such as La Sonora Ponceña, Willie Rosario and Victor Manuelle.
The event, held at the Hiram Bithorn stadium in San Juan, began with the presentation of the Son Divas orchestra, the first group made up only of women to perform at this event.
Next, the La Mulenze orchestra put the thousands of “cocolos” to dance, a term by which the followers of the Caribbean genre are known, who came from countries such as Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Mexico, Peru and the Dominican Republic to enjoy of the evening
Tribute to those who are no longer
Apollo Sound lit up one of the two stages that the organization set up, interpreting some of its most famous songs such as “Mi desengaño”, which brought tears to the singer Andrés Waldemar Vomar as he recalled the founder of the orchestra: the recently deceased and legendary Puerto Rican musician Roberto Roena.
Likewise, the group invited its former singers Tito Cruz and Sammy “El Rolo” González to perform “Con los Pobres Soy” and “Cui Cui”, moving the audience.
“Certainly emotions invade, right? However, we recognize that although Roberto is not physically with us, he is in spirit and accompanies us”, Vomar said at a press conference after the presentation.
After the Apollo Sound performance, it was the turn of Charlie Cruz’s orchestra, followed by La Tribu de Abrante, which changed the sound of salsa for that of the native bomba genre.
Revenge after the pandemic
The event was called “revenge” by the organizers, alluding to the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the 2021 edition from being held.
Daniel Valentín, a 51-year-old “salsero de la mata” (faithful follower), told Efe that since he learned that the Z93 station would organize the event again, he did not hesitate to attend.
“I already wanted to come, I already wanted to be here”, admitted Valentín, who is attending this date with salsa for the tenth time and who was especially excited to listen to Apollo Sound.
Accompanied by his wife and a bell, to follow the key to the songs they played live, the man also highlighted that “Rolo” González is “the one who makes everyone enjoy” on stage.
“When I listen to salsa, my bad moods go away, my bad feelings and I get positive,” he assured.
Tribute to the generation of the future
The organization of the National Zalsa Day, the local radio station Z93, paid tribute to the Puerto Rican singer Luis Vázquez, only 16 years old and who received the Generation of the Future Award.
Vázquez, the youngest singer to participate in the event, took advantage of his presentation to interpret a mix of songs from some of the most important salsa artists, such as Frankie Ruiz’s “La cura”, “Qué hay de malo?” by Jerry Rivera and “I don’t know tomorrow” by Luis Enrique.
Later, Puerto Rican Michael Stuart performed several songs by fellow Puerto Rican artist Ángel Canales, such as “Perico Macoña”, “Bombacaramboma” and “Lejos de ti”.
The round of presentations was continued by Bobby Valentín’s orchestra, known as “El rey del bajo” of salsa, with songs such as “Cantaré con una orchestra” and “Son son charari”.
The other artists and groups that planned to perform on this long festive day were Víctor Manuelle, Willie Rosario, La Sonora Ponceña, Andy Montañez and Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz.
The orchestras led by Willie Rosario, Bobby Valentín and Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz would close the 38th edition of National Salsa Day with “Mi bandera”, a song dedicated to the Puerto Rican flag.