Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area we had influence from the music of New York City in waves over the years. My first sounds of the streets were from lowrider car cassette decks playing old R&B songs but with intervals of the sounds that were coming from the streets of New York from groups like Los Hermanos Lebron, Eddie Palmieri, The Fania All Stars, Hector Lavoe, and Ruben Blades to name a few. I always imagined that these sounds filled barrios across the United States with the feeling that our voice was being heard even though the mainstream media did not play it on the radio.
With increasing internet connectivity and downloadable music, the corner music shop has been in danger of being put out of existence all over the country. Today in East Harlem, it is refreshing to know that places like El Barrio Music Center still exist and thrive by selling to a niche market not only the sounds of the barrio and the sounds of Latin America, but also instruments, stickers, and t-shirts of the latest Reggaeton or Salsa groups. El Barrio Music Center is a Puerto Rican place first, but you will also find music from all over Latin America available with genres including, Cuban Son, Dominican Bachata, Mexican Ranchera and much more on CD, LP, and yes! cassette tape.
by Daniel Gallegos
El Barrio Music Center
1870 Lexington Ave Frnt 4
New York, NY 10029