I love La Sonora Ponceña for the unique and melodic Salsa music sound they have produced through the years. That’s more than 55 years of Salsa music for this icon of Latin music. Not too many groups can claim such seniority. And through the whole journey its founder Don Quique Lucca has remained at the helm (at last in principle). His son Papo Lucca has been the de-facto leader of “La Ponceña” for most of the time I can remember the group.
This year Don Quique Lucca celebrated his 100th birthday and to commemorate the occasion, La Sonora Ponceña released their 35th album titled “10 para los 100” (in reference to 10 songs to celebrate Don Quique’s 100 years).
One of the principal Salsa music bands during the Fania years, La Sonora Ponceña released “10 para los 100” in January 2013 under Papo Lucca’s Pianissimo record label.
What I Liked About “10 para los 100”
- Classic “Sonora Ponceña sound – in this album it’s evident that La Sonora Ponceña still preserves their great musicality. Papo Lucca continues to arrange with the same quality of always. A good example of this is the “moña” in “No Vale la Pena” which is very reminiscent of “classic” Sonora Ponceña of the 70’s with its great rhythmic swing and interweaving the sound of its 4 trumpets masterfully.
- Favorite songs – my favorite songs in “10 para los 100” are “Te Busco en Suenos” (which is a mellow and very danceable Salsa song with a nice romantic theme and several “coros” through a lengthy 6+ minutes), “Fiel Trovador” (which is also a nicely romantic themed song that will entice dancers to the dance floor), and “Chambeleque” (a rumba-type son-montuno with conga solo).
- Classy “soneo” – singer Hector “Pichie” Perez added a classy touch to the song “La Rumba Soy Yo” when he sang “…Jessie trajo su timbal, Angelito su bongo, Pequeño Johnny la tumba, y la rumba se formo”. Jessie and Little Johnny have not been part of La Ponceña for several years now, so it was nice of Pichie to remember them in a “rumbero” song.
What I Didn’t Like About “10 para los 100”
- Need a new young voice – If it’s evident that La Sonora Ponceña still preserves their great musicality, it’s also evident here the need for a new singer in the group. Case in point is the song “La Pena”. Gee, even I can sing better than that! It’s terrible!
Pichie Perez has been the Sonora’s lead voice for many years, and although he’s not a super star singer, he is a very decent and respected “sonero”. But he needs help in the front line.
Again, I don’t have the liner notes, but whoever sang “Te Busco en Suenos” demonstrated that he belongs here (sings).
I think “La Ponceña” needs a young voice that can bring new energy to the Sonora Ponceña front line to help out Pichie. With so many artistic reality shows these days, I would suggest to Papo Lucca to pick a good Salsa singer from one of those shows, even if the person didn’t win. Having been a semi-finalist on one of Puerto Rico’s singing shows will be enough to bring quite a bit of attention to the group and a fresh voice that is so badly needed here.
- Deficient song selection – possibly the main problem with this album is the selection of songs. Let’s start with “Los Zapatos de Mi Viejo”. The song is a well-deserved homage to Don Quique Lucca, but I’m not crazy about this song. I’ll say that after 55 years in the music scene, and Don Quique celebrating 100 years, he’s entitled to a homage song, even it’s a bit on the cheesy side. I’m OK with that. But please do not include 2 of these songs in the album, especially when they are the same song. The 2nd pass is a “jibaro” version, which I find almost identical to the “original”. I don’t like either!
Below is a video of the making of “Los Zapatos de Mi Viejo”. Again, a good homage to the 100’s birthday of Don Quique Lucca, but my question to you is…would you like to listen to this twice in an album?
Too many “rumbas” – there are 3 “rumbas” which are “La Rumba Soy Yo”, “Chambeleque”, and “Los Paparazzi”. One, maybe 2 “rumbas” would be enough. Three are too many.
Instrumental “filler” song – and with just 10 songs in the album, Papo Lucca includes an instrumental “Latin jazz” song. Why not give me another good Salsa song? With a solid Salsa album, you can afford to include an instrumental “Latin jazz” for a change of pace. But you can’t afford that with a 10 song album in which you repeated a song.
My Recommendation of “10 para los 100”
As you can infer from my explanations above, I did not like this album and would not recommend it for you. La Sonora Ponceña still has their marquee sound, but the song selection killed this album. La Ponceña also needs a fresh voice in the group that can energize their front line.
Although I really like the Sonora Ponceña as a Salsa music band, this album was a disappointment for me.