Home New York Report Voice of the Water Lily Podcast: Indestructible – Remembering Ray Barretto

Voice of the Water Lily Podcast: Indestructible – Remembering Ray Barretto



RAY BARRETTO was born on April 29, 1929, in El Barrio, New York. His childhood was not easy, as his father left the family and returned to Puerto Rico when Barretto was just four years old. Barretto’s mother moved the family to the Bronx and struggled as a single mother to raise Ray and his two siblings, yet she still instilled a love of music in Ray. From a young age, Ray showed an interest in percussion and banging on pots and pans. In 1936, at seventeen, he joined the Army and, while stationed in Germany, heard the seminal song “Manteca.” Ray knew he wanted to be a musician. Upon his return, he joined jam sessions and perfected his sound. He soon found work with Jose Curbelo. Soon after, Ray joined the Tito Puente Orchestra at the recommendation of Santos “Santito” Colon (former singer for Curbelo). After four years with the Tito Puente Orchestra, Ray became the house musician for Prestige, Blue Note, and Riverside labels. Barretto started his band, Charanga La Moderna, in 1962 and had his first big hit, “El Watusi.” In 1967, Ray joined the Fania roster and became part of the Fania All-Stars upon their founding. After success with his Salsa albums, Ray recorded the seminal Latin Jazz album “The Other Road” (1972). Unfortunately, it was not well-received. The following years were filled with turbulence in Barretto’s life as five orchestra members left the band to form Tipica 73, and he was in injured in a car accident and unable to play for several years. Despite these hardships, Ray returned better than ever with the album “Rican-Struction.” In the early 90s, Ray again pursued “the other road” and formed “Ray Barretto and New World Spirit.” This time he enjoyed great success in his Latin jazz ventures. Ray joined the ancestors on February 17, 2006, at 76, and left an immense legacy and impact. The podcast includes a conversation between Author, Artists, Activist, Storyteller, Writer, and Cultural Gatekeeper, Aurora Flores and Ray Barretto.


The Other Road (The Other Road, 1973)
Ancestral Messages (Hot Hands, 1993)
Bomba-Riquen (Taboo, 1994)
Autumn Leaves (My Summertime, 1995)
New World Spirit (Ancestral Messages, 1993)
The Summer Knows (Contact, 1998)
Time Was-Time Is (Time Was-Time Is, 2005)
Triangle (Handprints, 1991)
Cancion De’l Yunque (Taboo, 1993)
Beautiful Love (Ancestral Messages, 1993)
On a Sunday Afternoon (Ancestral Messages, 1993)

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Ray Barretto – Giant Force by Robert Tellez (Kindle Direct Publishing)


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