Oye Como Va (5:50)

Cover of El Rey

From El Rey and 64 other releases

“Oye Como Va” is a song written and composed by Latin jazz and mambo musician Tito Puente in 1963 and popularized by Santana’s cover of the song in 1970 on their album Abraxas, helping to catapult Santana into stardom with the song reaching #13 on the Billboard Top 100.

The title comes from the first words:
Oye como va
Mi ritmo
Bueno pa’ gozar
Mulata
[iListen to how it goes (Literally “Hey what’s up” or “Hey how does it go?”)
My rhythm

It’s good for partying, (Literally “Good for celebrating” or “Good to enjoy”)
MulattaThe song has the classic rhythm and tempo of cha-cha-cha. It has similarities with “Chanchullo” by Israel “Cachao” López. The Latin Beat Magazine writes, “Cachao’s tumbaos for his 1937 composition of Resa Del Neleton (later changed to Chanchullo) inspired Tito Puente’s signature tune ‘Oye Como Va’.” On the original recording of the song the voice of Santitos Colon, the Puente orchestra singer at the time, can be heard in the song along with those of Puente and other orchestra musicians.

The song has numerous arrangements and remakes by numerous artists in various tempi. NPR included the song in its “NPR 100: The most important American musical works of the 20th century”[

Santana version

Santana’s arrangement is a “driving, cranked-up version” in a new style of Latin rock (attributed to musicians like Santana), adding electric guitar, Hammond B-3 organ, and a rock drum kit to the instrumentation and dropping Puente’s brass section.

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