on 19 June 2011
Sounding very much like a lost Fania Records classic from the late sixties, "Mi Watusi" takes direct influence from New York's latin boogaloo craze that swept throughout the city during that period and was so finely captured by Fania. Born in Venezuela, Ray Lugo, was raised on the lower east side of Manhattan and soaked up the craze at the time, going to latin and salsa concerts in the city with his parents. Eventually forming Kokolo Afrobeat and Ray Lugo's L.E.S Express, it was only a matter of time before Ray would return to latin to pay tribute to the music he grew up with, choosing to explore the latin boogalo genre that fused traditional afro-carribean music with other influences prevalent in the city, influences like Motown, James Brown and Ray Charles. Boogaloo's strength was that it appealed to a wide cross-section of the community, black, brown, white, Latino, Jewish, Italian or African American - and it seems its feel-good party vibe has lost none of that appeal over the years.
So only fitting then that Ray would record his tribute in Spanish Harlem with seasoned NYC talent. Choosing classics from the likes of El Gran Combo, Willie Rosario, Ray Baretto and Mongo Santamaria, Ray has tweaked the songs here and there to give the sound a style of his own. The result is a time capsule of heavy latin fusion given a modern update and easily one of the best modern takes on latin that I've heard!