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Truco & Zaperoko
Is a Tropical Fusion Puerto Rican Group not to be confuse with Orquesta Zaperoko (from Peru)

"Caribbean Fusion", the new production of Truco & Zaperoko, welcomes you to one of the most exciting and innovative new groups in Puerto Rico. "Caribbean fusion" brings together varied and different Caribbean rhythms. This refreshing mix presents a rhythmic base of Cuban rumba, guaguancó and songo with Puerto Rican full. All these vibrant rhythms are joined by savory full choirs and salsa with a metal section and jazz-style arrangements of trombonist and director Edwin Feliciano.

A fusion rarely seen - Truco's folk rhythms with modern arrangements by Zaperoko- will be very difficult for many salsa orchestras, but for Truco & Zaperoko this new variation comes naturally, even though the band is made up of two musical groups.

Los Pleneros del Truco was founded in 1981 by the percussionist Héctor Valentín. Their repertoire consisted of the traditional sounds of Puerto Rican music, with güiro, accordion and tambourines. Los Pleneros del Truco have three recordings and have participated in festivals throughout Puerto Rico.

Founded by Feliciano and the late singer Frankie Rodríguez, Zaperoko exploded on Puerto Rico's music scene with his recording "Cosa de locos" in 1983. Influenced by a musical variety from the experimental sounds of Los Van Van de Cuba, the pianist of salsa nioyorkina Eddie Palmiere and the legendary master of the rhythms afropuertorriqueño Rafael Cortijo, Zaperoko became one of the most progressive Puerto Rican groups.

So how do these two very different groups decide to join forces? "I called a friend to replace him in an activity with Truco," said Feliciano of his first encounter with the group. "I did not know them, but I liked what I heard and what they were doing."

Truco, directed by Héctor Valentín and Mickey Maysonet, has always been open to experiment with his music, without compromising his folk sound. "We were 19. During that time we have spent several transitions where we have included trumpets and trombones in the group," Maysonet explained.

According to Feliciano, the idea of ​​joining the two groups came together last year and this transition has been easy. "We all get along well on both the musical and personal levels," said the trombonist, who has also worked with leading exponents of Puerto Rican salsa such as Eddie Santiago, Lalo Rodríguez and Ismael Miranda.

In a tasty session of classic and original themes to which they have prepared innovative musical arrangements, "Caribbean Fusion" shows how smooth this musical transition has been. "Caribbean Fusion" begins with "Vámonos pa'l carnaval". The chorus of this song creates a festive atmosphere with the traditional rhythm of Cuban comedy with changes to Puerto Rican plena.

Feliciano, Valentín and Maysonet collaborated in the full "Conchita". "We decided to expand the concept and add a little songo," Feliciano said of the theme popularized by Los Van Van. In his arrangement we can appreciate a solo by the saxophonist Nicolás Santiago.

"The Tula Room", is an old Cuban son recently popularized by Buena Vista Social Club. "We listened to this song before it was recorded by Buena Vista and we fell in love with it. We created an arrangement in which we kept the rhythm base and added the color of our metals," Feliciano said.

The Plena in Puerto Rico has been used to explain daily life from domestic to work problems. "The news of the day", performed by Ray Gabriel, explains the essence of this traditional style of Puerto Rican music.

"Because I Adore", written by the great Puerto Rican composer Tite Curet Alonso, is a tribute to him as well as to all the great salsa figures. Curet Alonso wrote many of the great successes of salsa in the 70's. Cheo Feliciano, Ismael Rivera, Héctor Lavoe and Rubén Blades have recorded their compositions.

"Caribbean fusion" closes with "Shines the sun", composed by Frankie Rodriguez, original member of Zaperoko. With an arrangement ranging from rumba to full, the song represents the exciting fusion that Truco & Zaperoko has created. "It was a bit difficult, it was not a matter of being full for one minute and then changing the other guaguancó.We had to be sure that the rhythms did not collide with each other," admitted Feliciano.

There is no clash of rhythms in this session, but there is an infinite combination of Caribbean flavors that has no comparison with what has been produced in Puerto Rico in recent years. Truco & Zaperoko is an authentic "Caribbean Fusion" in more than one way.

Fundación Nacional para la Cultura Popular | San Juan, Puerto Rico: Truco & Zaperoko. Publicado el 6 de Julio de 2014. Accedido el 3 de Septiembre de 2017.

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