Willie Colón “El Malo” the original bad boy of la salsa

Willie Colón is a salsa music legend who is now a social activist. He’s a good guy, but his image was the bad boy of Salsa. Colón a trombonist who is famous for that fat sound. He is best known for his work with Héctor Lavoe and Rubén Blades for FANIA Records in the 1970s.

El Malo en Navidad, a Lehman Center holiday concert

Saturday, December 14, 2019 ~ Celebrate Christmas with El Malo at Lehman Center in Jerome Park, The Bronx at 8pm. From $45

Willie Colón was the bad boy of Salsa back in the day

Willie Colón is a Puerto Rican New Yorker (The Bronx, 1950). His creative muse is the Puerto Rican experience of coming to New York City and trying to fit into a new culture without losing your own. Life in El Barrio can beautiful, but it isn’t always pretty. Colón captures that energy and spirit.

Willie got signed to FANIA Records when he was just 15. His first record, El Malo (1967) with Puerto Rican singer Héctor Lavoe, broke the mold of Latin music, but helped define the sound of Salsa in the 1970s. The two worked together until 1973.

El Malo
Colón’s music was a mix of Latin and Soul. In the way that kids do, they mixed up everything that wasn’t supposed to be mixed together. The Latin old school was upset, but the music sounded great and made a direct connection with the lives of Latins. We are not just African, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Panamanian, Jewish, or American. We are all of those mixed together. That’s what the music was about.

Puerto Ricans have some of the most extensive Christmas traditions in the Latin world. Colón captures some of that in his 1971 Christmas album Asalto navideño.

Canto A Borinquen live from Asalto navideño
Colón’s did four albums with Panamanian-New Yorker singer-songwriter Rubén Blades. The most famous is 1978’s Siembra. It includes Blades’ signature song Pedro Navaja. That’s the story of a neighborhood gangster modeled after Mack the Knife. 1977 was a bottom for New York City. Street hoods were a real part of the life of the time.

Pedro Navaja Ruben Blades and Willie Colón
Willie Colón continues to make music, but is spending more time on his social activist side. He is an elder statesman for the Latin experience in New York City.

Willie Colón in New York City 2017 – 2018

Colón celebrates his 50th anniversary as an artist since 1966.

Colón plays La Salsa Vive 2017 concert at Madison Square Garden in Chelsea, Manhattan on Friday, November 10, 2017 at 8 pm.  $55 – $295

Colón brings his Asalto Navideño Christmas concert to Lehman Center in the Bronx, Saturday, December 9, 2017.

Colón joins the 34th New York Salsa Festival at Barclays Center on Saturday, June 9, 2018 at 8 pm. $71 – $146+

Willie Colón in New York City 2016 – 2017

Colón is playing the New York Salsa Festival at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on June 10, 2017.

To learn more about the artist, visit www.WillieColon.com

Subscribe  | AdvertiseContact us