Dig these high-energy Afro-Latin grooves, old & new, representing the work of musicians from various countries and decades. What they all have in common is a dedication to the foundation of Latin Funk — its heart, soul, and relentless rhythm.
I know you’re gonna dig these sabroso Latin flavored Funk grooves. This is tropical music at its best!
You get 5 sabroso Latin Funk Spotify playlists, highlighting the best new Funk bands that play lively Latin Funk in a modern style. And, hear from the old school Latin Funk musicians who laid the foundation for this poly-rhythmic Afro Latin groove. Watch some fiery live performances from Latin Funk superstars current & past…
Let’s start this Latin Funk fiesta off right! See & hear the explosive percussion of Jungle Fire, performing their version of Fela Kuti’s “Let’s Start” — aka “Comencemos.”
If you don’t have Spotify, you can listen to all 5 playlists together in one, right here…
Arousing, Old & New Latin Funk Songs That Heat Up The Party
It’s time for some Dope Latino Funk power!
Check out a couple of high energy tracks from Jungle Fire’s amazing album, Tropicoso. This was my favorite album of 2014 and one of the funnest, funkiest records you’ll ever hear.
I love the innovative way they put the percussion forward, both physically in their live shows, and as the primary component of their compositions. Funky guitar licks, and a bold brass section dance on top of Jungle Fire’s profound rhythm section, and elevate the excitement to ear-gasmic heights.
The other tracks are a mix of old & new. Recent Latin flavored Funk tracks from the Polyrhythmics, Quantic, Speedometer, and Peliroja keep the Latin Funk vibe going strong.
Mixed in are Latin Funk classics from the genre’s heavy hitters like — Mongo Santamaria, Willie Colón & Ray Barretto. And, mueve el culo to an exuberant Latin Funk rare groove classic, “Lupita” by Nico Gomez & His Afro Percussions.
This playlist is sure to make you move your bootycito and get you feeling funky & sabroso!
One of my favorite Latin flavored Funk tracks of recent years in “Horchata” by The Funk Ark.
Watch them play it live at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage…
Crazy ladies, Cumbia soul, and funky tumbao…
all on…Latino Funk — Hoy y Ayer
These rhythms are complex, and come at you in layers of funky percussion, deep bass lines, and high-energy beats. Brawny brass sections propel the beat, and act as if the horns were singers on the instrumental tunes.
On this second Spotify playlist you’ll hear some caliente classics, as well as funky new ones.
The Har-You Percussion Group welcomes us to the party with a jazzy, funky Nuyorican Latin party classic.
Jungle Fire is here, of course. I can’t believe how amazing their first album, Tropicoso, is, my favorite album of 2014. Check out their 2017 album, Jambú, the follow up on Nacional Records for even more modern, Latin Funk jams.
Mongo Santamaria, Francisco Aguabella, and Roberto Roena represent the classic side. Without cats like that, modern music would have a lot less sabor.
Enough talk. Play it now. Free your mind & your ass will follow…
Taste this sabroso Latin Funk Gumbo…
We kick it off with
“Efori” from Jungle Fire’s awesome 2017 album, Jambú. This one sounds a little more African Funk to my ears than the old-school Spanish Harlem type Funk Jungle Fire is so great at modernizing. What I love about them is how they mix African & Latin percussion styles with modern Funk, Rock, Jazz, and their own special thing.
2016 was a little light on Latin Funk for my tastes. Until Bosq released San Jose 51 with La Candela Allstars. Bosq camped out in the middle of Old San Juan and greeted a cast of visiting musicians, including the legendary Tempo Alomar, as well as my favorite Fania Allstar, Roberto Roena. “Calle Arriba” is a real cool groove from one of my favorite albums of 2016. It’s all high-energy, feel-good tropical music to heat you up anytime!
Next up is a super funky one from Joe Bataan. It comes from “Soul Jazz Records Presents Nu Yorica! Culture Clash In New York City: Experiments In Latin Music 1970-77” — this is my favorite re-issue album of 2015. It’s full of Latin Funk & Latin Jazz classics & obscure gems.
I love the Antibalas cover version of Willie Colón & Hector Lavoe’s “Che Che Cole.” They make it funkier & modern sounding.
Ocho does a super-caliente version of the JB’s “Hot Pants Road” — funky Latin Jazz style.
Ray Baretto, Mongo Santamaria, Bobby Valentín, Cortijo y Su Combo, and more represent the 70s Latin super jams.
Los Amigos Invisibles, Setenta, Snowboy, and The Brownout keep Latin Funk vibes strong in the present.
“Si no sabes bailar, yo te enseñaré mi hermano…” ¡Disfrútalo!
Now let’s do the Latin Strut!
Joe Bataan starts us off again with “Latin Strut.”
Willie Bobo covers classic soul music with a Latinized version of “Shotgun.”
Cortijo y Su Combo got pretty far out in the 70s, like on this genre-bending record Time Machine, on which they stray far from their Salsa roots while making remarkably distinctive music.
“Bele Bele” is a potent song from Jungle Fire’s 2017 album, Jambú on Nacional Records. It’s a tremendous timbales led tune with cool guitar effects, and a rolling wave of powerful percussion.
Quantic & His Combo Bárbaro represent the current Latin Funk sound, while always respecting its foundation. Meanwhile, Up, Bustle, & Out mix up Latin beats with modern studio finesse.
Willie Colón gives us some ghetto style Latin Jazz — gritty, tough barrio style — on “Hustler.”
We’ll end this playlist with a couple of Latin disco style tracks. “Jingo” from the legendary Cuban percussionist, Candido, will make you wish you’d been old enough for the disco daze.
Disfruta…uno Más Sabroso Funk Latino.
You’ll hear other current Latin funk devotees — Quantic, Peliroja, Polyrhythmics, the Brownout, and more. This playlist focuses more on the new school bands out there working hard, touring, and keeping the spirit of Latin Funk going strong.
Three, calientísimo songs come from the musicians that laid the foundation for Latin Funk — “I’m On My Way” by Candido, “What You Don’t Know” by Mongo Santamaria, and my favorite Fania Allstars song, the fiery, “Smoke.” These songs perfectly portray the origins of this music.
Quantic is in here a couple times because he is the one doing more to expand on diverse, funky Latin music traditions and bring the flavors to gringo ears.
Bosq is another one of my favorite producers. He’s been hard at work updating Latin sounds, while always remaining true to the roots of the music. Closing out the last playlist is a funky, modern Salsa tune from Bosq, one his musical adventures to Puerto Rico, and my favorite track on his superb 2015 record, Celestial Strut. It’s a high energy Salsa tune that’s a really irresistible dance floor packer.
Check out this rockin’ Ray Barretto concert video
from Caracas, Venezuela (1988)…
I saw an out of control show there once — Cypress Hill, Los Amigos Invisibles, and Los Pericos. One of the Cypress Hill dudes jumped into the pit and as they passed him around overhead, someone stole his wallet.
The place has history, though. Muhammad Ali fought there when he was banned from the US, for example. Anyway, this Ray Barretto clip from there is — ¡caliente!