Every early December, Puerto Ricans gather around the television set to watch the annual musical extravaganza sponsored by Banco Popular. The cds and dvd’s from the event frequently appeared in people’s Christmas stockings—or more likely under your bed on January 6th courtesy of The Three Kings. This year’s program was broadcast yesterday, featuring El Gran Combo. Reviews are not yet in, but here’s interesting background from the examiner.com site on what has become a holiday tradition in Puerto Rico.
This year’s Banco Popular’s Special, ¡Salsa! Un Homenaje al Gran Combo (A Tribute to El Gran Combo), will be televised Sunday, December 5th. Forty eight years of El Gran Combo’s music has united various generations of singers whom sing their most popular hits such as‘Ojos Chinos’ (Chinese Eyes), ‘Verano en Nueva York’ (Summer in New York) y ‘Jala jala’. Edgar Daniel, NG², Carolina La O, India, Willie Colón, Domingo Quiñones, Issac Delgado, Luisito Carrión, Tito Rojas, Michael Stuart, Almas Band, José Alberto “El Canario”, Ismael Miranda y Sabor de Puerto Rico impart their own style of the groups hits. The musical producer is Isidro Infante and Rojo Chiringa is film producer. Ither will take care of the interviews and project issues.
“El Gran Combo is a Puerto Rican musical institution that is known everywhere. They are Puerto Rico’s pride. Furthermore, this is a tribute to values and the pursuit of excellence”, expressed Richard Carrión. “It’s a way to thank Puerto Rico. Since we started we’ve had the support of people that has been essential to get where we are,” added the pianist whom throughout his career just wanted to bring joy to people.
For two months, people that visit Popular Center in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico will enjoy an exhibition of photos, texts and records of El Gran Combo. The DVD can be preordered at http://www.islaonline.com/
The special has been a tradition for the seven past years. For Banco Popular’s 100th anniversary celebration, Banco Popular gathered a group of famous Latin-American musicians in an effort to create a musical televised show. After the large success of this venture, the company began to produce annual live Christmas concerts and television specials with various Puerto Rican and international singers and artists. Each year it has a different theme and settings. The concerts and specials are aired during the holidays on local television stations and then released on CDs and DVDs, raising money for the company’s philanthropic foundation, Fundación Banco Popular (Banco Popular Foundation), which benefits a variety of non-profit organizations in Puerto Rico.
The specials have included a vast number of artists such as Victor Manuelle, Gilberto Santa Rosa, José Feliciano, Marc Anthony, Olga Tañon, Ismael Miranda, Ednita Nazario, Manny Manuel, El Gran Combo, Tony Vega just to mention a few.
Thus far Banco Popular’s specials are:
- 1993 – Un Pueblo que Canta (A nation that sings)
- 1994 – El Espíritu de un Pueblo (The spirit of a nation)
- 1995 – Somos un Solo Pueblo (We are only one nation)
- 1996 – Al Compás de un Sentimiento (At the rhythm of a feeling)
- 1997 – Siempre Piel Canela (Always brown skin)
- 1998 – Romance del Cumbanchero (Romance of the “Cumbanchero”)
- 1999 – Con la Música por Dentro (With the music within)
- 2000 – Guitarra Mía, Un Tributo a José Feliciano (My guitar, a tribute to José Feliciano)
- 2001 – Raíces (Roots)
- 2002 – Encuentro (Encounter)
- 2003 – Ocho Puertas (Eight doors)
- 2004 – En Mi País (In my country)
- 2005 – Queridos Reyes Magos (Dear Wise Men)
- 2006 - Viva Navidad (Christmas Lives)
- 2007 - LoMejor de Nuestra Música Popular (The Best of our Popular Music)
- 2008 – Eco (Echo)
- 2009 – Palés y la rumba de la esquina (Palés and the corner rumba)
- 2010 - Un Homenaje al Gran Combo (A Tribute to El Gran Combo)