For two nights in early October, the Conga Room was host to more-enthusiastic-than-usual crowds. The draw? Orquesta Guayac?n, one of the top salsa groups from Colombia. During this two-night engagement, the flags were out, the pretty girls were on stage to dance with the band, and the singers' highly-choreographed moves energized the crowd.
In town for part of its most recent U.S. tour, Guayac?n, no stranger to Los Angeles, worked up its fans by playing some of its hits from past recordings, including "Oiga, mire, vea" and "Torero", as well as such soon-to-be hits as "Domida en mi hamaca" and "Nacidos para cantar" from the group's latest recording, De Nuevo en la Salsa.
Guayac?n's claim to fame is its danceable melodies with lyrics that touch on topics everyone can relate to, with special appeal to Colombians. But what gives the group life are the talented young musicians and singers that make up the band. Vocalists included Juan Carlos Estrada, Alex Torres and the veteran of the group, Cali Alem?n, who was a familiar face in the LA salsa scene a number of years ago.
Orquesta Guayac?n got its start in 1983 in Quibd?, located in the Choc? area of Colombia. Alexis Lozano, producer/arranger, pulled the band together in Bogot? with the goal of making it one of the top bands in the country. As the liner notes stated on the group's second recording, "this Colombian salsa group knows how to reach the deep sensibilites of those who love the strong rhythms of Latin America and it knows how to distinguish itself with good taste and quality." Since those early days, the group has gone on to capture a loyal following worldwide.
If you're curious about this lively band, check out some of its old and new recordings. These include Lleg? la hora de la verdad (Latin Sound), Que la sangre alborota (Sonotone), Cinco a?os aferrados al sabor (FM), Guayac?n es la orquesta (Mart?nez Records), Oiga, mire, vea (Top Ten Hits), Con el coraz?n abierto (RMM) and Marcando la diferencia (RMM).