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La Sonora Ponceña


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Since its inception in 1954, the legendary band Sonora Ponceña, from Puerto Rico, has been one of the most consistent producers of great salsa music. Led by Enrique “Quique” Lucca Caraballo, born in Yauco, Puerto Rico, this group has included many of the most talented in the world of salsa, at one time or another.

The band actually evolved from a group called the Conjunto Internacional, formed by Lucca in 1944. That group included Antonio Tato Santaella on bongos, who would stay with Lucca for many years.

Lucca was a great fan of the famous Cuban band called Sonora Matancera and their musical style that utilized a full percussion section, with only trumpets in the horn section for harmony with the piano and voices. In naming the group, Lucca added the group’s home city of Ponce to that style and thus, Sonora Ponceña.

Enrique “Papo” Lucca Jr. was born in 1946 and displayed enormous talent as a small child. Destined to join and make a major contribution to the Sonora Ponceña family.

The group evolved in 1956 to include pianist Vicentico Morales while the young Papo was already at the piano making arrangements. By age 12, Papo had recorded his first piano solo. Other early recordings by the group included other popular vocalists of that time such as Felipe Rodríguez and Davilita.

By 1960, the band had travelled to New York City to perform at the Manhattan Center and the Puerto Rico Theater. The band, and especially Papo, were well received. Papo went on to refine his skills at the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music, emerging as an accomplished musician and arranger.

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