El Gran Combo – world’s greatest salsa group

El Gran Combo’s inception and first albums

Rafael Ithier is known as the founder of El Gran Combo who revealed a talent in music at a very early age. Maybe, he was inherited music talent from his dad who was music player as well. Rafael Ithier became a professional guitarist in the bolero genre. He had joined some groups before he formed El Gran Combo in 1962 which brought him a turning-point in his career.

In Nov 1963, the first album of El Gran Combo was published with the playful title Menéame Los Mangos or “Shake My Mango”. However, their third album – Acánagna released in 1964 became a number one hit in New York, Puerto Rico and Panama which brought them to the international recognition. The Album helped El Gran Combo open the big doors to some other markets in Latin America such as, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, and Colombia…Besides, thanks to the hit album of Acánagna, they was performed exclusively on the Puerto Rican television show El Show de las 12. In 967, EL Gran Combo’s album – Boogaloo con el Gran Combo reached gold status after the first gaining of Acánagna in 1963.

In 1960s can be considered as the decade of changes, when the group welcomed new members who was Elías Lopes – a trumpet player and arrange in 1954; and the disband of Roena and Lopes in 1969. However, 1970 is a bad time of the group as their contract with Gema Records was not renewed. In 1972, the group published a new album “Por el Libro”, which marked the 10th anniversary of the group. In 1973, El Gran Combo had a big show in New York city when they sang in front of 50,000 fans at the famous Yankee Stadium.

Recent years

Until now, the group has taken music all over the world from their mother land to North America, to Europe, Asia and Australia or even, they visited Alaska in 1984 in the promotion of their Grammy campaign for album “Breaking the ice”. After rise and fall, the brand has seen some leaves of the formers as well as participation of new members, now there are only 16 members in El Gran Combo. However, they still has been achieved many successes. Until 2006, El Gran Combo has published about 40 albums or CD and they have received many awards including golden albums in Mexico, a “Golden Combo” in Colombia or an honorable distinction in Spain. In particular, in 2007, they played two big concerts at the Jose Miguel Agrelot Coliseum in their 45th anniversary.

Reviews of El Gran Combo fan

J.P from Las Vegas: I bought a CD at a shop near my home some years ago. I could not understand what all the music about with EL Gran Combo. I then listened to it few times and fell in love with them which has become one of my favorite groups and I listen almost everyday. I think for many people they can be surreal to learn about the group like El Gran Combo because, they are so attached to the totems of pop, rap, rock and roll or other genres…However, El Grando Combo is the best for me and they deserves a full 5 stars.

Manolin from Toronto: it may sound strange but I really feel crazy at watching and listening to this group. In my opinion this group is a rare gem in Latin music. For the former members, I really love Andy Montanez, but now is Anthony Garcia. From what I have listened so far, it is obvious that I will recommend my friends to attach this orchestra. I always support them and surely buy CD’s as soon as they release new ones.

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